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 Cardiff Half Marathon and the serious side of self-care  

The theme of this year’s Cardiff half marathon is Choose You, find out how you can ‘choose you’ by implementing five simple practices.

The timing of this year’s encouraging theme Choose You could not be better. The pandemic has forced us to reflect upon the importance of self-care, both as a source of pleasure and as a preventative measure. We have learned that the small daily actions we take to protect our health can have a positive impact upon others and reduce demand upon our beleaguered health system.

In this sense, Covid has acted as a cultural accelerant. In the UK, when we reflect upon health, we tend to think in terms of the mechanistic system that springs into action when we are unwell – a system that delivers primary, secondary and tertiary care. Covid has forced us to recognise the importance of another domain: the pre-primary space.

Where is this? It is in every school, university campus, workplace and community setting. It is in every communal space outside the health system. The pre-primary space is where a culture of well-informed self-care practices can take root.

How can I improve my self-care practice?     

This is where the Cardiff Half Marathon can again be of help. As well as embracing the concept of self-care – through the Choose You theme – it is also promoting the Five Ways to Wellbeing. These emerged from research undertaken by the New Economics Foundation. They are distinct practices that help us feel good and function well – such as being physically active, having strong social connections, taking notice, continuing to learn, and giving. These practices, employed over time, can help people flourish.  

The Cardiff Half Marathon allows us to see that the Five Ways to Wellbeing are not just a checklist of activities to be worked through one at a time. Sometimes they can be interwoven and experienced simultaneously. When participating in the Cardiff Half Marathon, for example, people can connect, give, learn, take notice and be active all at the same time. They can experience a moment of fully unified self-care practice. We too, as we go about our busy days, can become more conscious of these practices, and weave them into our lives, without sacrificing more of our precious time. Simply recognising that we are already practicing some of the Five Ways to Wellbeing will increase their positive impact upon us.

Another important fact about Five Ways to Wellbeing is that they are free. Not one of them costs us a penny to practice. In these times of growing health inequalities and sharply rising living costs that is well worth remembering. And there are no harmful side effects either! Only good can come of practicing the Five Ways to Wellbeing.

The Cardiff Half Marathon symbolises so much about self-care. The start line signifies our willingness to commit a course of action that will improve us, one step at a time. While the finishing line represents another important aspect of self-care: stopping. In our relentless hustle culture, we prize doing over being. Our lives are often comprised of one stressful activity after another, in a seemingly endless list of things to do. But we are called human beings for a reason. Sometimes it is imperative for our health that we stop doing and just be – i.e., that we release the tension, the pain and the stress from our bodies and contemplate the miraculous privilege of existing; that we practice healthy inactivity, stillness and silence. This culturally alien perspective has gained considerable traction during the pandemic. It is here to stay, as a key part of the Five Ways to Wellbeing.   

So, this year’s Cardiff Half Marathon should be viewed as more than an impressive physical challenge – important though that is. It should also be seen as an example of Cardiff University’s increasing commitment to creating a culture of wellbeing, within its organisational boundaries and beyond, by expanding people’s understanding of wellbeing and promoting the importance of self-care.

But whether you participate in the Cardiff Half Marathon or not, reflect upon the importance of its central theme – Choose You – and commit to improved self-care practice, one small step at a time.

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, experiences by using the hashtag #ChooseYou on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.