Cardiff Half Marathon

As part of the 2022 #ChooseYou campaign, Cardiff University are exploring self-care and the ‘five ways to wellbeing’ – all relevant to running and the journey to the Cardiff Half start line.

Take a look at the content below, or go back to our summary page to explore other topics.

The First Way to Wellbeing: Connect

The Five Ways to Wellbeing were conceived of long before Covid came along, but the pandemic stress-tested tested their appeal and effectiveness. Happily, they were not found wanting.

In was notable, in the early stages of lockdown, how instinctively people adopted each of the Five Ways. There was plentiful online evidence of people giving their time and talents to others, getting physically active (were you one of the millions who worked out early morning with Jo Wicks?), learning new subjects and skills, and practicing the lost arts of being present, mindful and still.  The fact that we embraced these practices at a time of crisis, without being mandated to do so, suggests we have an innate understanding of their importance to us.

The immense value of one of the Five Ways to Wellbeing was certainly proven during the pandemic. When successive lockdowns and social distancing broke our physical and emotional bonds with others the experience was unsettling. Online communications were a godsend but a poor substitute for the proximity and touch of others. Families and friends experienced the pain of enforced separation.

Covid reminded us that we are social beings with a strong sense of community. It taught us that the state of our mental health is largely determined by the strength, breadth, and quality of our social connections. We are not just a random mass of individuals leading parallel lives.

So how can we restore our vital social links now restrictions are being lifted? How do we ensure that we never take them for granted again? Happily, there are lots of opportunities available to us…

We can arrange to meet family and friends more regularly – say for a weekly coffee or a monthly dinner date.

We can make time to get to know our neighbours better – whether they are in the same street or same community.

We can reconnect with people we’ve lost contact with, but still think fondly of – like childhood friends or former colleagues.

We can join online communities and meet interesting people from all over the world. Organisations like Action for Happiness, for example, offer free online content based on the Five Ways to Wellbeing.   

The Cardiff Half Marathon is a community too. It gives us a chance to connect with thousands of others in pursuit of similar goals – physical exercise, fun, achieving personal bests, or earning donations for charitable causes.

In fact, the Cardiff Half Marathon enables us to practice each of the Five Ways to Wellbeing at the same time, in an act of fully unified self-care.  

So, whether you are running the Cardiff Half Marathon or supporting it in some capacity, make your connection with it a strong one.

And consider making the end of the event the start of a new regime of self-care. Practice the Five Ways to Wellbeing – Be active, Take Notice, Keep Learning, Give. . .and Connect.

A proactive approach to self-care keeps our wellbeing higher all the time and makes us more resilient during times of adversity.

Go back to our summary page to explore other topics that are part of this series.

Join the conversation on social media. Share your own tips and experiences by using the hashtag #ChooseYou on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.