The challenging initiative saw around 70 people put on their running shoes and get active during the month of January. The key to this was that everyone set their own goal, as long as it was more than 5 minutes exercise. 30 people also fundraised for us…
A challenge to improve our wellbeing
Jeni Notley who suffers with depression, found herself fully immersed in the cold outdoors of Dorset. Jeni ran almost every day to help raise awareness of mental health and improve her own mental state.
R.E.D January was exactly what she needed to start the New Year in a positive way. Through Jeni’s engaging Facebook posts she also helped fight the “stigma” surrounding mental illness.
Towards the end of the process Jeni said: “I felt happy, I still do. I can feel all those teeny-weeny endorphin thingies whirling around. But I feel more connected. I feel more connected to nature and more connected to my body and mental state.
Who knew running would be so good for my mental state?”
I feel healthier, I’m starting to find time for ‘me’ each day, I’ve lost a little weight (not as much as I had hoped but it’s a start) and I haven’t had as near as many low days as I normally would have had in January, I’m sure. Especially with the weather we’ve been having!”
So far Jeni has raised £110 for the charity and most importantly, she intends to carry on exercising.
She added: “I can’t wait to give up running everyday, but I do know that I’m not giving up running!”
Jeni has also attended an indoor rowing class at her workplace, something she wouldn’t do before this challenge. She found herself really enjoying it and was pleased to “feel part of a team.”
Beating the January Blues
Another R.E.D January fundraiser, Diane Allard, normally hates the cold, wet and windy conditions that January brings. She said: “It’s usually just a really miserable month. I’d actually struggle to find anything nice to say about January!”
But this all changed after Diane took on the challenge of R.E.D January.
She explained: “Who would have thought that I’d drag myself out of bed through every weather condition imaginable to run every day, seriously nobody would have believed I could do that, but I’ve done it and I’ve loved it.”
Diane praised the online support she received from the R.E.D January Facebook page, that inspired her to keep exercising.
She added: “The Facebook group has kept me going when I wanted to stop… “They make me cry by sharing their stories, surprise me and make me laugh every day!”
As the end of January came, Diane was pleased to have taken part but also slightly relieved. She added: “I will continue to run for the rest of the year more than I did pre-RED. It’s amazing how much difference this month has had on my body.”
So far Diane has raised an incredible £315 for Dorset Mind and is already looking forward to R.E.D 2019.
Dorset Mind staff took part too!
Dee Swinton, Income Generation and Marketing Manager for Dorset Mind, also took part by doing 10,000 steps or at least half hour exercise every day.
She said: “By getting up and having a short walk in the morning it helped clear my head, wake me up and just made it easier to start the day. Physically I noticed a difference as well which is an absolute bonus!”
This is the first time that Dorset Mind has taken part in a campaign with national Mind and Dee explained how pleased she was with the response.
She added: “It’s worked on two levels. Not only has it raised approximately £2000, its helped raise mental health awareness and our profile.
Having taken part myself, I found it a really hard challenge, but I’ve really enjoyed doing it and noticed a difference in my mood. January is notoriously a miserable month, so it’s been fun to have a challenge.
A few of us in the office took part – it was interesting that we all had different goals. But what was noticeable was that it lifted the mood as we compared experiences and targets.”
On behalf of Dorset Mind, I’d like to thank everyone for taking part and raising mental health awareness. I hope everyone will join us in January next year!”
Here’s a short film that Bournemouth University Student Oliver Sirrell made about our R.E.D January campaign.
To make a donation to Dorset Mind’s R.E.D January campaign, please follow this link: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/REDJanuaryDorsetMind