How to stay sane while writing your literature review

It's not easy to stay sane, but with good distractions, it is possible.

Having a large writing task can take its toll. It can be mentally and physically exhausting. One of the worst things is that the exhaustion can slowly manifest itself over time and make us feel like we are going mad. We have all been there, and and it probably won’t be for the last time. However it’s not the end of the world, there are ways to get around it.

Just relax

Just give yourself time to relax? In reality of course it’s not that easy. I always found traditional ways of relaxing didn’t allow me to stop obsessing about the literature review. This was often because I felt guilty about not writing. This certainly does not help cope with the mental fatigue that we all face. I did however manage to find a much needed way to unwind.

My Sanctuary

I found that the only way to stay sane was to find a proper distraction from writing. This distraction can come in the form of hobby or interest that is completely removed from your literature review. The great thing about doing a hobby is that it allows you to completely focus on something other than your literature review and helps you escape for a while. For me it is learning languages. This is great because it is a demanding mental activity that is perfect for completely occupying your mind and allowing you to truly relax.


Another great idea for a hobby is to do something physical, like exercise or sport. I’ve always found that even lite exercise can be a great way to clear your head. Sports tend to be better for escaping and occupying your mind as well as your body. Exercise on it’s own in a gym for example is a great way to blow away the mental cobwebs, however while doing exercise, it’s not so easy to forget about things relating to your literature review that are on your mind. This can be a good and a bad thing ans exercise can stimulate you to think about your literature review in interesting ways but it doesn’t allow you to completely switch off.


Mentally switching off is important to avoid burning out but it can also have some large benefits to you writing. Stopping your conscious mind from obsessing about details of the literature review will allow your subconscious mind to take over the problem and can help forge links in the information that you couldn’t see before.


So if your having trouble coping, think about picking up a hobby to relax. Not only will it give you some much needed respite, but it may even help you with your literature review.

Comments

  1. Ron says

    “For me it is learning languages. This is great because it is a demanding mental activity that is perfect for completely occupying your mind and allowing you to truly relax.”
    Hey, that’s what I do! :-)

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