The Stress-Free PhD2021-12-12T13:39:20+00:00

The Stress-Free PhD 6-Week Programme

The Stress-Free PhD Programme is the programme I wish I’d had when I was writing my PhD. It will greatly increase your productivity, re-ignite your inspiration and lower your stress levels. You’ll build powerful new work routines and I’ll be with you every step of the way.

Writing a PhD is not for the faint of heart. It takes dedication and lots of perseverance. The Stress-Free PhD Programme is a 6-week programme designed to get (and keep!) your PhD on track. If you’re in a rut, we’ll get you out!

What you’ll get from the programme:

  • A new work routine, which will allow you to work shorter, more effective workdays
  • Self-care habits firmly in place
  • Focus: you’ll know exactly what to work on next, and how to stay on track
  • Techniques to not let negative thoughts and stories (and supervisors…) derail your progress
  • A more enjoyable and inspired PhD, with strategies in place to be kind to yourself during the more difficult stretches
  • Stories! I tell you all the behind-the-scenes PhD anecdotes. Whatever you’re dealing with, it’s not just you…

More Productive
Over the course of six weeks you will be building super effective work and writing routines. We’re not going to focus on working more hours. That doesn’t work. We’ll be working more strategically, with highly focused work sessions. That’s how the work gets done. There are some simple (sometimes counter-intuitive) steps to follow to get there.

Lower Stress
During the first two weeks of the programme you’ll be building a self-care routine, which will set you up to do your best academic work. I will guide you day-by-day, until it has become a routine you don’t even have to think about. You’ll have more energy, your ability to focus and your academic performance will improve, and your worries will ease.

A Happy PhD
The final aim of the programme is to make your PhD life easier and happier! You are not alone if you are feeling overwhelmed. These feelings are not some sort of personal failure on your part: they are the result of how PhDs (and academia in general) are set up. The programme will give you practical tools to handle these difficult situations and feelings, and to support yourself.

This six-week programme includes:

  • Access to the Stress-Free PhD website and course materials
  • Daily emails to help you implement the course tools. I will guide you through the course step by step. Pep talk and encouragement are included!

The programme combines theory, practical tools, and my personal experience. I will tell you all about the mistakes I made myself when I was writing my PhD (embarrassing stories included!). I am honest about how I messed up at times, so you can avoid doing the same…

The Stress-Free PhD Programme

Includes a one-hour coaching call via Skype to help you get the most out of the course.

Fee: €200,-

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The Stress-Free PhD Programme Intensive

Includes four one-hour coaching calls via Skype. I recommend this version if you are stuck or struggling.

Fee: €450,-

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The Stress-Free PhD Programme Self-Study

The DIY version of the course, without coaching or feedback. The programme materials are exactly the same.

Fee: €150,-

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SALE: buy now for €100


Week 1

Stress in Academia

In the first week of the course we explore why academia is such a high-stress environment, and how this affects your performance and wellbeing. We will cover how to deal with perfectionism and overcommitment in a competitive environment. You’ll learn to identify your personal stress cycle.

Week 2

Brain Power Routine

We’ll discuss how to build a self-care routine as your best ally against PhD stress. This week is all about meditation and exercise, and other self-care habits. We will cover how to shift from focus during work hours, to getting out of your head at the end of the day.

Week 3

Productivity: Work in Waves

The third week of the course focuses on productivity. You will learn how to ‘work in waves’ and manage your mental energy. The tools of this week allowed me to finish my PhD in only a couple of hours a day. I will teach you how to do the same.

Week 4

Let’s Write!

Building a writing routine is the focus of week four. In this week we bring together all the tools of the previous weeks to create your personal integrated work, writing and self-care routine. It is by this week that you can expect a real shift in how your work is going.

Week 5

Corner Your Supervisor

Supervision! It is the source of many PhD nightmares. This week we focus on this major PhD stressor. The aim of this week’s material is to empower you in your relationship with your supervisor, and to prevent you from unwittingly becoming the victim of your PhD.

Week 6

Write a Happy PhD

The final week is about finding joy and satisfaction in your PhD life. It is about connecting with that vital part of yourself that is driven by curiosity and passion for your project. Your will learn how to use your strengths and desires to create a prolific and fulfilling PhD life.


The course really helped me get unstuck and it was amazing how by removing the fear and self-destructive thoughts that were ruling me, I was able to write a paper (that I had been dreading for 2 years) in less than 2 weeks. The course really helped me quickly build a ‘can do’ attitude that made all the difference. The paper still needs a lot of work, but putting words on paper already felt like such a great achievement.
I am very happy I took the course. It provided the regiment, the material, the motivation and I felt supported and understood every morning when I read the daily lessons. I found the course effective. Great course Amber!
3rd year PhD Candidate, University of Oxford, England (self-study course)

Thank you so much for the course. It has been such a great experience and I really learned a lot. It changed the approach to my PhD and I am much more relaxed and positive. I would never have thought I would start to meditate, but you made me do it and it really works and makes me feel so much better. I also like your authentic approach as your course comes from your own experience. Thank you so much for this great experience. I am already missing getting an e-mail from you almost every day.
Part-time PhD Candidate, Justus-Liebig University, Giessen, Germany (self-study course)

The course has definitely helped me. I am more at peace, and I am kinder to myself, because I now realize that many of the fears and frustrations I was struggling with are inherent to the job. I allow myself to have shorter workdays, and I don’t feel as guilty about it. I am more productive in a workday that ends at 3 or 4 in the afternoon, than I was in the long days I used to work before.
4th year PhD Candidate, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands (course with coaching)

Questions and Answers

Who is the Stress-Free PhD Programme for?
The Stress-Free PhD Programme is for you if you’re writing a PhD and looking to improve your performance and PhD experience. It doesn’t matter what your topic or field is, and it doesn’t matter whether you are in your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th (or 5th or 6th or 7th) year. The programme teaches general tools and skills, applicable at any stage of writing a PhD.

What’s the time commitment for the programme?
It will take about twenty minutes to half an hour five days a week to get the most out of the programme, a bit more if you include your new self-care routine.

When does the Stress-Free PhD Programme start?
When you sign up for the programme, you get immediate access to the programme website and materials.

Can I get coaching for the duration of the course?
The Stress-Free PhD Programme comes in three versions. The Stress-Free PhD Programme with coaching includes a one-hour one-on-one coaching call. If you’d like more guidance, consider the intensive course. It includes four coaching calls (and email support if you need it). I will be with you every step of the way. If you are not interested in personal coaching or email support, you can take the self-study version of the course.

Where / how do the coaching calls take place?
The coaching calls take place via Skype. If you are located in Amsterdam we could also meet in person.

Do I keep access to the materials after the six weeks of the course are over?
Yes. You keep access. There is no end date. You can revisit the material whenever you want.

I am really busy/ overwhelmed right now. Is this the right time for me to take the course?
If you can carve out 20 minutes or so a day: yes! I’d say it is better to devote some time to build better work routines now, rather than later.

If I change my mind about taking the course after I sign up, can I get a refund?
No, I’m sorry. I have a no refund policy. Please contact me before signing up for the programme if you have any questions: it’s important to me that The Stress-Free PhD Programme is right for you.

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