You've learned so many things the past years, but probably not how to deal with stress properly. It is however a basic skill that you can learn, and like any other skill, it's something you need to practice and keep practicing until you master it.
If you're new to self-work, it's important to start with the basics. Coherent breathing, physical and mental awareness, meditative movement don't sound sexy... until you discover just how much of a difference they make in almost any kind of stress-inducing situation.
Essentials is an online training program created with the support of UGent, to master your ability to deal with stress. It uses locomotive exercises and targeted work to build your inner balance, as well as your physical and mental awareness and strength.
Designed for Ph.D. students and post-docs, by someone who has been there and knows how it feels. Tailored to who you are right now, and what you want to achieve. It's proven to work, and with your help, we'll further fine-tune the program and even make it evidence-based.
Essentially, it all starts with awareness. And the 3 core skills you need to develop are related to your breath, your body, and your mind.
Though there are litteraly thousands of variations of each of these skills, we've selected a comprehensive set that provide a solid basis. Moreover, we explored the most useful combinations of these techniques, and condensed these for practical use in everyday settings.
Our breath is our life force. Different breathing techniques will help you to relax, as well as energise you. You'll get familiar with your lungs and your diaphragm, and explore just how much space there is for oxygen.
Your body was designed to move. So you're gonna move it, and shake it, and simply use it in a fun and simple way, that actually helps. The movements adopted come from qigong, an oriental health practice.
With self-observation you will learn to recognise stress as it starts to rise, and how you respond to it. And you will learn how to re-balance yourself on the go, using a combination of breath, inner focus and inner movements. Indeed, that's also called meditation.
Getting "good" at breathing, qigong, meditation isn't the point, it's about the feel good, the smile, the inherent balance that you experience. The fact that stress doesn't throw you off anymore.
Every week, during 8 weeks, you'll get a set of exercises, videos and background. Everything is clearly organized so you’ll know exactly what to do each day. You shouldn’t have to spend your time searching to figure out how to use your program, so we’ve included everything you need to make Essentials easy to follow.
The build up will be specific to you. If you're more comfortable with movement than with breathing, then you'll start with movement. No need to get stressed on day 1 by doing things that make you uneasy!
It should be fun to do, and it should put a big smile on your face. That's actually a quite good indicator: if there's no smile on your face, you're probably missing the point of the exercise (either you need some more practice, or maybe we haven't explained it well enough and you should send us some feedback).
After a few weeks, you should already feel a difference. And by the end of the program, it should be a second nature to you. You'll be able to adapt what you've learned to the situation at hand.
It's currently FREE for Ph.D. and post-doc*, but you'll be asked to participate to the trials and really follow this online program closely.
For those interested, we're still looking for some assistance in setting up and analyzing the data that will be gathered during the trial period of this program. This should lead to one or more publications.