What’s some advice for dating and leading a normal social life while in a doctoral program?

I just defended and finished in Sep, during my 5 years in an engineering phd, I went out with friends, was on the board of a student club with some UGs, went to yoga classes, and managed to meet and marry my spouse in a LDR.

The key is to treat it like a job and put some hard boundaries: I went to the office/lab M-F at 9-10am and stayed till about 5-7 pm depending on the work load. I also didn't waste time at work and did my best to get things done and be productive. Sure on rare occasions, I'd stay late or work a weekend to meet a deadline, but that was never more than a handful of times per year. Aside from that, I never worked at home or on the weekend. The separation between work and home life makes life mentally easier, because you won't feel like work is there wherever you go, and you can unplug and feel disconnected when you need to at the end of a day.

Keep a healthy diet, have a light lunch so you don't get the afternoon food coma, take vitamin D if you aren't seeing the sun and keep a multivitamin handy for when your diet goes south on stress. Get as much sleep as you need. Don't live on caffeine: I only had a cup of coffee or tea in the morning most days (occasionally one in the afternoon). Otherwise you set yourself up for poor sleep and that's going to affect everything in your life.

I also took ~2 week vacations (as in travel to see family) 3 times a year after each semester. Don't care or worry about whether your advisor makes a comment. I point blank told them in my first year "I have to take a break or I will burn out and won't be productive at all." If you do the work you have to do and behave professionally, people will respect that.

You can do all the above and you'll function as a normal human... Mostly. Even then, there will be a few nervous breakdowns, crying, episodes of depression and anxiety. Try to not let that get in the way of your life, and drag yourself to whatever you said you're going to do because more often than not, you'll feel better for having done that.

/r/GradSchool Thread