From time to time we all need a break. We get tired and our brains need a rest from stress and from trying to think about too many things at once. You also need to spend time with loved ones and just “be”.
It’s also surprising how often stepping away from your project can leave you with a clearer perspective of it when you come back to it. Often, despite trying to rest and not think about it, ideas will just pop into your brain about your research that allow you to see things more clearly. Something to do with reduced stress maybe?
So planning breaks as part of your dissertation writing is important. My recommendation though is that you keep these to being 1-2 weeks in duration. No longer. The reason comes from remembering that your dissertation is a learning process. You are learning and creating new ideas and some of the stuff you have learned may not be too well solidified in your brain yet. If you leave it too long you can be a step behind when you get back to it. If the break is very long you can really lose a lot of traction and it can seem a big step to get back into it, which can result in your procrastinating about starting again.
So over this Christmas period, I hope you can take some time out to share special times with family and friends, and come back to your work all refreshed and renewed.