Maintaining a work-life balance can be difficult within the veterinary profession, unless you actively make an effort to do non-vet things.
Joining a sports team or other society requires a certain level of commitment (depending on the level), and this can be helpful to keep a frequent scheduled period of “escape time”.
Another good way to motivate yourself to do “other” things is to set a personal target to aim for.
Several months ago, in the middle of fourth year exams, I think I was subconsciously craving any method of occupying time that didn’t involve staring at a textbook – so, in my revision-frenzied madness, I signed up for the Great Scottish Run Half Marathon.
Just filling in the application and perusing training plans gave me a few sweet minutes of procrastination at the time. But after exams had been and gone, and final year rotations loomed, I started to question what an earth I’d gotten myself into.
I’m a poor runner at the best of times, sporting an age-old ankle strain and intermittent shin splits – the furthest I think I’d run before beginning training was 5km (about seven years ago, when I was considerably fitter) – but I gritted my teeth, donned the ankle support and shin splint tape, got a decent pair of trainers and set out on a run.
Despite my misgivings, by following a training programme almost impeccably, I’ve gradually been building stamina and have surprisingly avoided aggravating my shins.
Now, having nearly finished the training, and with the half-marathon only two weeks away, I can appreciate how much having a target to aim for has helped me keep fit throughout my first few rotations – and with many of them being the sort of rotation notorious for having long hours, it would be so easy to miss out on exercise.
In addition to keeping motivated to exercise, the main aim of my insane challenge (for me anyway) is to raise money for two deserving charities with which I have personal connections.
Determined to finish
The first charity is The Air Ambulance Service, which saved my life five years ago when I fell from a horse and sustained near fatal injuries.
The other charity, Help In Suffering, runs a neutering clinic in India where my friend and I gained valuable skills last year, having been let down by another placement and stranded in an unknown country. This charity’s vital work has kept the people of Jaipur rabies-free for 14 years.
I still hate running, but I’m glad I’ve tried to overcome the challenge to support these fabulous charities. While I know it’s going to be tough on the day, I’m determined to cross the finish line and not let down my supporters who have so generously donated.
If you would like more information about the charities, or to donate, please visit my sponsor pages below: