Yet January, and early into any new year, our social media feeds are filled with content telling us ‘Be better’, ‘New Year New You’, further impacting our sense of self and our sense of our own success.
You have doubtless read plenty of statistics on the benefits of exercise in improving our baseline mood and giving us a more positive outlook on life overall.
For me personally, being outside in the fresh air, even wrapped in multiple layers, is a key facet of protecting and enhancing my own mental well-being. This translates directly into a recently found love of running.
Make running work for you
Mention the word ‘running’ to some people, and they are filled with a due sense of dread. “I’m not an athlete”, “I can’t run”, “I’m not fit enough to run”. Whilst these statements may seem fair to the person uttering them, they miss one key element of running. Its definition will vary from person to person.
Running for most people is not about how fast they can do a 5km, or when their next marathon is. Running is whatever feels comfortable to you. Moving at a pace, and travelling a distance, that feels comfortable and enjoyable too.
Pushing yourself that little bit further, moving your body and experiencing fresh air free from distractions is a fantastic way to shake off overwhelming thoughts, or a low mood. In terms of exercising, it is one of the few disciplines open to everyone with the available mobility, backgrounds and preferences.
Easy to get started
All you need is a t-shirt, shorts and a comfortable pair of shoes to begin with. Then all you need to do is take one step. Then another. Then another. Just see how far you can go. 1 mile. Amazing. 0.5miles. That is a great place to start. Then the next day. Try again. Just 1 minute more. Then maybe the day after.
Those single steps, single 0.1miles and single minutes eventually will add up to huge increases in distance, time and pace. Most critically of all however, simply getting out of that front door on a cold morning or dark evening will give you a slight boost. A reason to be proud, a reason to smile. The further you can go; those reasons compound almost infinitely.
Just give it one try. Then another. Then another. Feel your body freeing up. Feel your mind loosening slightly. Its subtle, its slight but over time it can make you feel like a different person. A happier and healthier person.
Fancy a challenge?
If you are the kind of person who needs a target to aim for, why not try out the Bournemouth Bay Run? Taking place in a stunning location, with gorgeous sea views, enthusiastic supporters and distances for all abilities, it is the ideal entry point into event-based running.
Not quite ready for an event yet? Then just take one-step. Out your door. Up the street. Try it for yourself. Text a friend and turn it into a social opportunity as well. Again, the benefits build and build and build. One step at a time. Towards a healthier, and most importantly, happier you.
Today’s Guest Blogger
Big thanks to guest blogger, Lee Bonham who wanted to share his running passion with everyone and how it has helped massively with his mental health.
Help and Support
Dorset Mind offers group support that can also help with your well-being. The group offers peer support. They help to reduce stigma by normalising conversations about mental health. You can also check out further support for stress and mental health here. You’ll find links for 1-2-1 and groups of mental health support we offer here. If you’re in a crisis, treat it as an emergency. Call 999 immediately or The Samaritans, FREE on 116 123. NHS Dorset’s Helpline ‘Connection’ can be reached on 0800 652 0190. It’s also available 24/7.
Please support our work
Dorset Mind is a self-funded local charity that helps people in Dorset experiencing mental health problems access the vital support they need. The charity is at the very heart of our communities shaping futures, changing and in some cases literally saving lives.