RED January & why I love Running
Today is the first day of Run Everyday January - a campaign (in association with Mind charity) that encourages people to do something active every single day this month to support their mental health. I signed up for it last year with of a group of ladies on Instagram and though I only managed to do half of the month (I ended up going away with my friend for 2 weeks of R&R after her mum passed away) I really enjoyed the experience.
I’m a huge believer in the positive affects exercise can have on our mental health. I can think of so many times in my life when running has helped me overcome bouts of feeling overwhelmed, anxious and stressed.
Take this past year - I’ve had various things going on in my personal life involving some of my closest friends and family (for obvious reasons I choose not to share anything about this on social media) which have been incredibly stressful and worrying and have frequently left me feeling overwhelmed. Changing jobs also had an affect on my mental health. Don’t get me wrong I love my new job (and worked very hard to get it), but I’ve struggled personally adjusting to a job that can often mean I don’t know what I’m doing or where I’m going the following week and also going from being good at my job to having no clue what I’m supposed to be doing.
Taking half an hour out of my day to put my trainers on and go get some fresh air has 100% been a saving grace and one of the main reasons I’ve managed to stay sane this year. It’s difficult to explain why, but I think it’s because in that time my overactive mind slows down and I’m able to gather my thoughts as there are no distractions and that helps me to think rationally and break everything down into smaller, more manageable chunks. There’s been so many occasions where I have started a run feeling annoyed at Jim or overwhelmed by a to do list or fretting about 281735 things that might happen only to find that after my run I can’t even remember what I was stressing about an hour earlier.
There’s also something incredible in realising what your body is capable of and then understanding how much of your ability to do (or often not do) something comes from your mental strength. Provided you have some level of fitness then your legs will keep on moving and it’s the voice in your head that says “i can’t do this” or “I’m tired” or “I’m rubbish” which stop you from achieving your goals. Knowing this and changing the message the voice is saying to “I can do this” as I’m running have seen my speed, enjoyment and desire to run improve.
Next week sees me start my training plan for The London Marathon so there’s no excuse for me not to run this month! If you want to get involved in RED January then you can take a look at their website here. There’s a whole load of us doing it on Instagram too so keep an eye out on my stories or drop me a message if you’re doing it and we can cheer one another on!