Pós-Graduação em Biologia de Sistemas

+55 11 3091-7258

Newsletter Nature Briefing – Back to the lab: Mental health

Newsletter Nature Briefing – Back to the lab: Mental health


Back to the lab - Nature Briefing
Back to the lab - Week 2 - Mental Health
Hello! Welcome to week two of Back to the lab. This week, we’re all about mental health.

All the advice in here is evidence-based, from medical experts and academics. Some of this will be things you’ve heard before, but they bear repeating — often, even small changes can have profoundly positive effects on your well-being.

Eight evidence-based techniques for maintaining good mental health

  1. Surprise! Research shows that healthy eating improves your mental health and your immune system.
  2. Shock! Getting enough sleep is also likely to improve your cognitive performance and immune system. That can be difficult during stressful times, when you need it most, so here’s some advice from Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) and some more from Healthline.com.
  3. Gasp! Moderate exercise is also great for your mental health. Here is an activity plan for beginners, from the NHS.
  4. Helping others often makes us happier. Volunteer or take part in work to help your community. Check out the Twitter hashtag #viralkindness for inspiration, or see some of the links in this comprehensive Washington Post article.
  5. Learn to ‘switch off’. Media overexposure can lead to psychological distress and damage your mental health. Sun Sun Lim, a technology researcher at the Singapore University of Technology and Design, gives us these tips for switching off.
  6. Buddy up. Many mental-health professionals recommend a buddy system. Find a friend, colleague or family member you can be honest with and check in regularly to talk about each others’ mental state.
  7. Watch yourself. Many people don’t realize their mental health is at risk until crisis point. To be more proactive with your health, take the time to think about your mental state each day. Some professionals recommend keeping a journal as a way to keep track of your mental health.
  8. Take baby steps. Do not fill your to-do list with vast, unmanageable tasks that are likely to intimidate you or damage your confidence. Break large tasks down into smaller ones, and add small achievable tasks to your to-do list.

Stress-beating methods from psychiatry

Clinical psychologist Luana Marques shares her advice to help scientists maintain mental health in challenging times. “It is okay not to be okay,” says Marques. “Take the time to heal and relax after interacting with the news: anchor on to something that brings you back to the present. Take a deep breath, drink a hot beverage or go for a walk.”

Nature | 4 min read

How a lab happiness programme can help

Ellen Wehrens’ lab happiness programme was ongoing long before labs shut down, but it’s now become a powerful tool. Lab members support each other using structured tools and techniques designed to address conflict head on and manage stress and anxiety.

Nature | 7 min read

Check out our webcast on mental health 👇

In this pre-recorded webcast, expert speakers discuss managing your mental health during the pandemic. It’s an hour of advice rooted in experience, but if you don’t have time to put it on right now, that’s OK — bookmark it and come back to it later.

More resources

Britain’s Mental Health Foundation has put together a comprehensive suite of resources on managing your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also produced work on managing stress and anxiety.

And here’s a full collection of all of Nature’s coverage of mental health in science.

Find resources for Black academics and STEM professionals on the #ShutDownSTEM resources page.

A child’s stick-figure drawing of a science experiment.
Jeremy Grabbe taught his triplets how to do science to help them combat their coronavirus anxiety: here’s their plan for their next experiment. (By Regina Grabbe, aged seven.)
If you’re worrying you’re not getting enough done, or feeling the pressure to make greater use of your time during the pandemic, neuroscientist Daphne Ling would like a word: this pandemic isn’t a sabbatical.

“Fuss over your fancy sourdough bread” she writes. “Help your unpaired socks reunite with their soulmates. Grieve for your losses, whatever they may be. Cut yourself some slack.”

We couldn’t agree more. See you next week.

Flora Graham, Nature Briefing editor, and Jack Leeming, Careers editor.

Join our community twitter Facebook
You received this newsletter because you subscribed with the email address:

Please add [email protected] to your address book.

Had enough? Unsubscribe from Back to the lab.
Fancy a bit of a read? View our privacy policy.
Forwarded by a friend? Get Back to the lab straight to your inbox: subscribe for free.

Nature | The Springer Nature Campus, 4 Crinan Street, London, N1 9XW, United Kingdom

Nature Research, part of Springer Nature.
© 2021 Springer Nature Limited. All rights reserved.