Loughborough PhD Social & Support Network

#BLOG – Note to ‘self’

In this first of blog series on her PhD journey, Chidinma Okorie writes a note to remind herself and anyone reading this blog of the importance of mental health and wellbeing. Happy reading! 😊

Dearest self,

How are you today?
Did you manage to get enough rest?
Have you eaten?
How did your exercise session in the gym go?

I know they say the PhD journey can be tough and lonely, and I know you also have a lot going on for you outside of doctoral studies, being a member of the PhDSSN committee, student ambassador, sub-warden, RGS PGF inclusivity officer, RCCG children’s Church coordinator and not to mention also being someone’s daughter, relative, friend, colleague and much more. So, this is why I am writing this note to check on you (as I always do).

You know I admire how you juggle these things and still meet your PhD demands, but I also know that you have the tendency to over-work yourself and remember you, my dear, are no ‘super human’. Do you remember the last time you had a deadline to meet, how you over-worked yourself and yes, you met the deadline but at the expense of a good sleep? If you don’t remember that, I know you surely remember how your body protested, right? Well, I am glad you have fully recuperated and back on track as you amazingly always do after experiencing setbacks, but I need to remind you (as I always do) that your mental health and wellbeing come first.

Chidinma at the Queen Medical Centre

Remember the conversation we had after undergoing a major surgery at the start of your PhD? I know how excited you were to get the PhD offer on a full-time studentship and how you enthusiastically looked forward to beginning this PhD journey, but little did you know what life would throw at you when you least expected. Undergoing a major surgery was definitely not what you bargained for, but it happened nevertheless, and I know it was a difficult time for you trying to settle in to the PhD life and at the same time heal from the surgery wounds. Well, I am glad you sought and got the right support that helped to quicken your recovery, however I couldn’t help but notice how you occasionally ignored my advice to eat well. And because I know that sometimes you get really busy that you actually forget to eat, I am writing to remind you (as I always do) that you need food to function well.

Please listen my dear, if you haven’t noted anything from everything I have said so far, please note this: getting enough rest and eating well are essential for your wellbeing, and your wellbeing is as important – if not more important – than your academic success. So, I am writing to remind you (as I always do) to please take care of yourself; I repeat: TAKE VERY GOOD CARE OF YOURSELF!!!

And remember, you need your body to be healthy enough to do and complete this PhD 😊

Chidinma at the gym

By the way, are your six-pack abs fully formed now? Haha! At least exercising seems to be the one thing I don’t have to remind you of as you have already made it a lifestyle. I know you began a six-pack abs challenge with your gym buddy 3 months ago and I see how hard you have been working in the gym to make this a reality. Well, good luck with that!

On a final note, don’t forget to take breaks, travel, play a game, hang out with family and friends or just do something that de-stresses you and keeps you away from looking at your computer, phone, tablet, t.v etc. screens for too long. And well, even if you forget, I will remind you (as I always do)…

Love always,


Chidinma Okorie
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