Why I Decided to Run a Half Marathon
July 9, 2020
Making time for something other than work during graduate school can seem like a daunting task. Your days are filled with classes, exams, projects, essays, and more. I quickly found myself stuck in an unhealthy routine of going to class all day, driving directly to work, eating late at night, and staying up late to finish assignments and readings. After transitioning to studying and working from home, I found myself not only justifying my lack of self-care engagement to myself but also my extremely caring and somewhat concerned roommates. Although I had gained more time because I no longer had to commute, I continued to convince myself that wasting time on non-school or work-related endeavors was lazy and not worthwhile. After a few weeks of using this mentality, I gradually noticed my productivity declining and my energy depleting. As occupational therapists, we are supposed to help our clients engage in adequate self-care in order to live a more balanced, healthy, and productive lifestyle. I, therefore, knew deep down that it was time to make a change! I needed to enjoy my daily occupations and find ways to feel accomplished and energized once again, so I decided to train for a half marathon.
This was a practical decision for me, but it was not an easy one. To say it bluntly, I do not like running. I know what you might be wondering . . . why would you voluntarily decide to run a half marathon then Savi? Great question! I needed to change my tiring routine and add in an occupation that would increase my energy and productivity. As Dr. Laura Cox and Dr. Kelcie Kadowaki taught me in our OT 534: Health Promotion and Wellness course this semester, physical activity can promote psychological wellbeing, elevate cognitive functioning, and enhance self-esteem. In hopes of improving my overall wellbeing, I decided to listen to my professors’ advice and embark on a journey that I wasn’t initially enthusiastic about.
I created a strict training schedule and I sought out the advice of my friends who had already run a few half marathons. If I’m being completely honest, the first four runs were tough. I was out of shape and I was still in the mindset that training was taking time away from my studying. By the end of the second week, I had become so used to integrating the runs into my schedule that I would immediately stand up after class to go put on my running gear. My runs became easier and they allowed me more time to step away from my computer, breathe some fresh air, and listen to good music. Every time I came back home I felt as though I had more energy to engage in schoolwork and even socialize with my roommates during dinner. Checking the run off of my to-do list gave me a sense of accomplishment and increased my motivation to tackle the next item on my list. I found myself counting down the minutes before I could go on my run in order to increase my self-esteem and drive.
Many of you reading this currently work or want to work in the healthcare field and are, therefore, laughing at this epiphany of mine. You may be saying to yourself . . . well of course you are feeling this way! Exercise has proven to have many physiological and psychological health benefits. My response is that you are right! Although I knew the benefits all along, I had trouble finding a way to integrate it into my hectic lifestyle. I soon came to realize, though, that by adding this time for self-care, I was even more productive than before. I felt more confident in my ability to succeed academically, and I was more excited to engage in all my other occupations. So to those who need to hear it: Self-care is important and should not be left out of your schedule due to time constraints. The time you spend working on yourself allows you to tackle any obstacle in your way with more confidence and enthusiasm, so find the occupation that reminds you how strong, hard-working, and successful you truly are. Take the leap and “run that half-marathon” because I promise that you won’t regret it. I’ll meet you at the finish line!