5 in 5 for Mind – Challenge Update.

A couple of weeks ago I received the news that the Milton Keynes marathon was being postponed from the beginning of May to the end of June.  Normally this news wouldn’t have been too much of a problem, but the MK marathon is the start of my 5 in 5 for Mind challenge, so I had to decide whether to postpone the whole thing or not.

While I was a little disappointed, my general feeling was that it was good news because it would give me that bit more time to prepare, so I decided to delay my challenge in line with the new date for the MK marathon.

The new start date for the #5in5forMind challenge is Sunday 27th June 2021.

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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.

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#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.

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Success! Becoming a Mental Health First Aider….

A couple of weeks ago I completed a mental health first aid course with MHFA, and while it was a bit of a struggle for me emotionally, I did it, which is a big step considering how my counselling course ended.

The fact that the Covid-19 pandemic has pushed everything on-line has helped me to get back into learning, simply because I can do it from the safety of home.  

In the case of the MHFA course, it also meant that I had a wider choice of trainers, and I definitely struck gold when I found Louise Larkum, but I’ll tell you a bit more about Louise in a moment.

Firstly, about the course itself.  

It was originally created in 2000, in Canberra, Australia, by Betty Kitchener, an educator and mental health consumer, and in partnership with Professor Tony Jorm, a mental health researcher.  In 2003 it was adopted by the Scottish government, and then by England in 2006; since then it has spread around the world.

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