Rita Newton, Health and Wellbeing, University of Manchester, 2017 Cohort
Attending the coaching session led by Will, taught me that it’s quite normal to be derailed amidst a pandemic, and whilst returning to a sense of calm and focus will be a challenge, it’s okay to take it one step at a time, I just need to remember to breathe!
In view of the unprecedented situation we all currently find ourselves in, the NWSSDTP kindly arranged for small group coaching sessions with life coach Will Medd. The 75 minute session was designed to support 5-6 PGRs to explore together, and in confidence, how to find new techniques whilst working at home, overcoming difficulties in being able to carry out our research, and concerns we have about our health and the future. Quite a tall order in 75 minutes for both Will, and for ourselves I’m sure.
As a part-time PGR, from having had a routine of days on campus feeling as though I belonged and embraced the PhD culture and journey, to being thrown into a new non-routine of having to find time to work on my PhD in a busy and noisy household at home, with new priorities, a dwindling focus was a significant challenge, not to mention my inner-self telling me that I wasn’t good enough and I needed to work harder. However, from a range of approaches available, life-coach Will enabled me to work out the steps I could take in order to return to a relaxed state of calm, whilst being more productive, and whilst also being very much aware of, and focussing on what is important to me. Quite a contrast to the 11 prior weeks of pandemic lockdown, and finding that my usual coping strategies were just not working.
I guess that as I reflect on this very personal and individual coaching facilitated by Will, and the PhD journey, I’m reminded of the blog by fellow PGR Olly Kennedy who reminded us about the expectations, and the hard journey that we are expected to take because that’s almost the rite of passage for a PhD, and that’s without a pandemic in the mix! Working with Will has enabled me to figure out what is my own magic wand, how to conjure up and try out a spell – and if all fails – to put on my invisibility cloak for a few hours (or whatever it takes) because it’s okay to not be in control all of the time, and in the ways that I would want to be.
So I’ve decided that my favourite spell is a Will Medd Cocktail, and that when bars and pubs open up again along Oxford Road I’m going to try and get one of them to put it on the menu because it’s certainly a very good tonic! In the meantime, a little practise at home won’t go amiss!