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The Realities of Being in Practice - Charlie

So, in our second blog I am going to be chatting about my own personal challenges I have had recently with regards to following my own advice. 

We go around talking to groups of people and university students about the importance of exercise and being VetFit, and recently I have not been following my own advice.

The rugby club I played for had their last game before the Christmas break at the start of December. After this my partner and I were moving house to a new area in Derbyshire. With lots of last minute packing and moving house (away from the club) I neglected going to training and exercising. 

After the move I had another couple of weeks at work before the Christmas rota kicked in and considering this is my first year in practice I was lucky to avoid the Christmas/ boxing day on-call, but I did manage to land the 4 following days/ nights on call leading up to New Year. I did what I am sure we all are guilty of and thought, ah well 'its Christmas' and ate, drank and did pretty much nothing other than visit family and friends and indulge (I don't regret one moment of it! - well maybe the morning after the Christmas pub crawl). I then had the on-call looming and stocked up on ready meals and fell into the easy pattern of going to work, eating junk and watching TV/ going on my phone in my 'down time'. 

This lifestyle then continued into January with the long cold days (lots of tb testing) and dark nights. I was feeling grumpy, frustrated and for those close to me definitely noticed me not necessarily being grumpy or short with them but certainly just less chatty and lethargic. 

One day when posting on the VetFit Instagram I realised I wasn't following our own advice. I had now become that exact vet that VetFit is targeted at. So I sat back, took half an hour and wrote down a few things:

What's my goal?

What's stopping me?

What am I going to do about it?

I realised I didn't have a goal. All the reasons above I was telling you about were all excuses and I just needed to set a goal and start doing something about it!

So I set myself quite a big goal (for me personally running is tough - I struggle with motivation if I am not chasing a bag of air!): to do the Peaks Half Marathon! This involves lots of hills and to make things harder, I am going to be carrying weighted webbing all in aid of two amazing charities close to VetFit's heart, StreetVet and VetLife. Not all goal setting has to be quite as drastic as this - my other goals I was considering were to join a new sports club or start swimming twice a week at the local pool. It is important to pick just one goal and stay focussed on it.

When being completely honest with myself as to what had been stopping me, I realised it was not very much. Yes there are some fixed responsibilities that I cant change, we all work long hours, need to cook dinner when we get in, may have some of life's admin to catch up on,  however, I find time to walk my dogs twice a day because in my mind I HAVE to do it. So my plan is to combine my dog walks with my exercise. I am going to start running before work with the dogs on the days I am not on call. I am going to do this on 2 week days and one weekend day each week. 

Writing down my goals and plan whilst being brutally honest with myself has helped. It is important to write down things that are stopping you that are out of your control (work, university etc.) and then forget about them, don't beat yourselves up about not being able to control them. Target the other areas and pick just one goal and only a couple of changes you will make. 

Just before I sign off, we all go through periods where we care for ourselves both mentally and physically and then equally go through periods where we neglect our own wellbeing. During these periods its important to be able to take a step back and recognise that it is time to try to make a change to get you back on the right path to a better wellbeing. 

Since I have started getting out and doing my runs, I have actually achieved more of my life admin (hence writing this blog!), feel more energetic, sleeping better and that feeling of guilt and self-disappointment is starting to go and I am starting the day in a better mood! However, still not enjoying the alarm clock!!

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