GEMH Summer Writing Week in France


This week, the GEMH Lab is in Normandy, France, for another edition of a productive and inspiring writing week. Once or twice a year we eliminate all distractions; we shut down our email programs, travel to a place with no (or very limited) internet access for one week (for an overview of past places, see the picture below), and work intensively on our research papers.

We start off the week with a meeting to set individual writing goals. For this writing week, goals include writing a protocol paper and a first draft of a (GEMH-) framework paper, reading literature for a critical review on depression prevention, and making some almost-finished papers ready for submission. All PhD-students assigned each other a buddy to keep on track with writing goals, to motivate each other, and help when a writer’s block is looming. But of course, everyone has their own techniques to keep motivated and to keep on writing: Some can only write when listening to specific music or when eating a lot of chocolate, while others hold on to writing tips we discussed in previous writing weeks (one of my favourite ones is: ‘don’t be scared, write ugly stuff’).

Once a writing day is finished, we have time to have fun with the team. We enjoy a nice dinner prepared by the cooking team of that day, play lots of games (of course!), play the piano, have a good conversation, or read a book. During free moments we have the luxury to relax in our own private swimming pool, while some of us are more active and go running, play a game of soccer, or spend an hour doing yoga getting relaxed again for the upcoming days. And as if that’s not enough, this writing week we decided to really reward ourselves with a special activity: a four-course menu at L’Odas, a Michelin-starred restaurant!

With all our needs tended to, we are again ready to get back into writing and finishing those papers!


Aniek Wols
Researcher at GEMH Lab

I am interested in how and why applied games for mental health work, with a specific focus on the influence of one's mindset, motivation and expectations.


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