These past few months I have written about various issues regarding being an online PhD student. Semesters/quarters have come and gone and most students are on holiday except for those who still have to stay on the grind. What I learned thru the doctoral process is that one must take care of SELF. I found it very hard to even think about stepping back from writing let alone actually doing it but with much prodding from my mentor I learned how to do it.

It is very easy to be all consumed with the dissertation and no matter what is done there is still not enough time to get it all done hint, step away. Most doctoral students barely make time for family and friends and if you do have spouses/children, full-time job that can be a major issue. One has to find a balance or be prepared to suffer physically and mentally. I was diagnosed as having Type II Diabetes in the early part of my program and found that stress does not play in the sand box with it.

Having diabetes just made the stakes higher for that was one more thing that I had to manage and fit into my schedule of “life”. I did not realize the severity of it until I more or less spiraled out of control, feeling lethargic, no energy, blood sugar off, and to top it off bronchitis decided to pay me a visit. Combine all of the previous issues, throw in full-time job, and top it off with a part-time job as well, talk about a time bomb. Well my body shut down and I was out of commission for about 2.5 weeks and could do absolutely nothing. It took me a while to find my new “normal” or baseline and then I had to reprogram myself.

I decided I would not be able to finish my doctoral program if I had another session and maybe damage my body beyond repair. I did not have any exercise built into my regime and needed to get out and “move”. With moving being my focus and fitting it into my schedule, I took up running. OMG, being 50 pounds overweight, living in a city where the winters can be six months and never see spring, dragging this body on the pavement, I thought I was going to die <lol>. I hated the gym for I found it boring but determined to get some physical activity in so I went.

For those of you who are runners know that we hate the “dread” (tread) mill but that is how I started since I didn’t know any better. I found an App that had a newbie running program and the rest is history. I found something that fitted into my schedule that I could control the level of activity based on my availability. Fast forward I have completed over 20 half marathons, numerous 5/10Ks, and finished the Chicago Marathon in 2013. I also dabble a bit in Crossfit and have taken up the Paleo lifestyle (80/20). I run all year round regardless of the weather and my cold limit is about -15*. I want you to know that one must take care of “SELF” for if you do not have your health you will not be able to do anything.

Everybody is busy for that is the way of life, as we now know it. We have no time for anything and no longer have quality of life. Rushing, texting, Internet, no people interaction, and life will quickly pass us by. We all make choices and with them come consequences but there can be a balance if we want it. I made a choice to take my life back, regain control, and to live. I feel great for running helped find my balance, my Chi, ME. The holidays are here, enjoy family and friends for they are not promised to us and we are not promised as well. Take time for SELF and enjoy life to the fullest. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year. See you in 2015!! TTFN

Ciao

Ila