Exercise for Better Mental Health.

With my 5 in 5 marathon challenge, I’m encouraging all of you to get out and exercise as a way of improving your mental wellbeing.  We all know about the benefits of exercise to our physical health, but less is known, or understood about how exercise helps our mood, and how it can aid with managing anxiety and depression.

It’s not as straight forward as saying ‘exercise and you’ll feel better’, because sometimes it feels just the opposite.  Exercise takes effort, motivation and dedication; you can be easily motivated at the start, but as it gets harder, or winter arrives, the gloss can soon loose it’s shine.

You don’t have to struggle with a mental health disability to understand that it can be hard to motivate yourself to exercise.  Most people lead such busy lives that they don’t feel they have time to exercise, and often feel too tired when they do have time. 

It can also contribute more stress, especially if you are not confident about your ability and how you look physically.  Just one glimpse inside a gym or a quick search of social media can make you feel inferior and self-conscious.

Read more

#5in5forMind Update – The Psychology of Endurance Running.

My decision to run 5 marathons in five consecutive days, has a touch of the bonkers about it, and I’m the first to admit it does; I sometimes stop and ask myself ‘what the hell am I thinking?’ 

I can comfortably run a half marathon, but the thought of doing twice that distance in one go still feels daunting.

The initial concerns were mainly physical; thinking about eating properly, and recovery between runs (which I think will include the dreaded ice bath)!  However, there is also going to be a psychological side to this challenge, which will need equal consideration.

The other week, I was lucky enough to be connected to the Sports Science team at the University of Hertfordshire (by Juanita Prescott from Stevenage Leisure Limited), and I had a great chat about the psychology of endurance challenges with Stephen Pack, who is a HCPC Registered Sport and Exercise Psychologist.

Read more

Plans, Hopes and Dreams for 2021.

As I mentioned in my last blog, I am going to try and enter 2021 with an air of optimism, and that means focusing on things that I can have some semblance of control over.  A lot of my plans will still be pandemic allowing, but as with this year, it’s about being adaptable so that I can keep trying to move forward.

Despite all the stress and the upheaval of moving to a new house this year, I managed to set the groundwork for things that I can take into the new year, and hopefully grow and develop them.

One thing I am really excited about is The Phoenix Enterprise Program, which is being run by Helen Roberts and Ray Lavery, with the support of Richmond Council; the program runs for a year, and is helping businesses and start-ups (that are either located in, or do business in the borough of Richmond Upon Thames) to grow; and I can’t wait to be part of it.

So, here’s what I’m taking into 2021 and how I want to develop them; I’ve also added some CAN YOU HELP? sections for areas that I basically need help with…..

Read more

Looking for the Positives in the Storm.

It’s safe to say that 2020 has been a rather unique year.  You don’t need me to re-cap everything and I’m certainly not going to dwell on the negative stuff, instead I want to try and start the new year with a degree of optimism.

I know some of you may not feel very optimistic and have good reason to struggle to see any light at the end of the tunnel.  Trust me, it has taken a lot for me to get writing again, let alone write an ‘optimistic’ blog, considering my experiences of the last 5 months, but I hope this story may help.

Back in August we got a call from our lettings agent, telling us that our Landlord was selling the house and therefore terminating the tenancy.

My initial reaction was rather spectacular, I basically fell apart.

Read more

The Mountain – Laura Ding-Edwards

If the mountain seems too big today
then climb a hill instead
if the morning brings you sadness
it’s ok to stay in bed
if the day ahead weighs heavy
and your plans feel like a curse
there’s no shame in re-arranging
don’t make yourself feel worse
if a shower stings like needles
and a bath feels like you’ll drown
if you haven’t washed your hair for days
don’t throw away your crown
a day is not a lifetime
a rest is not defeat
don’t think of it as failure
just a quiet, kind retreat
it’s ok to take a moment
from an anxious, fractured mind
the world will not stop turning
while you get realigned
the mountain will still be there
when you want to try again
you can climb it in your own time
just love yourself til then

by Laura Ding-Edwards