Some of you may have heard of an initiative run by Mind called RED January, it stands for Run Every Day and last January I signed up for it. I failed miserably having given up before I really started. Many interpret it as exercising every day instead of running but I didn’t even manage this! So, this January it wasn’t even on my radar. So, you will be surprised to learn that this January I have completed exercise every day, in most cases a mile walking but as the month has progressed there are 4-mile walks on beaches, excellent Pilates classes and lovely country walks with friends and family. So being me I reflected on what was different.
For me last January as soon as I signed up to RED January, I made a commitment I put myself under pressure to complete this thing. The same happened with running a half marathon, I’d signed up, I needed to train, I had to do it justice. Although this pressure may have been perceived from within, I realised I don’t respond to pressure, as soon as I think I “have” or “need” to do it I don’t! But I also realised what works for others may not work for me. We are surrounded by messages on what is good for us especially in relation to our mental health and especially in January! There is research that states running helps mental health and walking and swimming and chatting to friends and therapy and would you believe even housework! In fact, if you search hard enough most things will help someone. This January I began walking on my treadmill to get my back moving after an injury, it helped (as the Chiropractor said it would!) so I carried on. I also enjoyed it, I liked walking and I liked Pilates, I realised I missed them. So, I carried on as it supported MY mental and physical health.
Now there are some that will be reading this arguing that walking doesn’t work that I need to run because it works better but in fact it works better FOR THEM. The important thing is finding something to help and support your own mental wellbeing. Do what works for YOU and if its not the same as what works for a friend, or colleague or family member that is absolutely fine. If you are reading this feeling guilty as you haven’t got the motivation to run, swim, climb a mountain like you used to or like x does maybe ask yourself what do I really enjoy? Be brave enough to be you and do what feels right for you. If its more than one thing then fab, its OK to walk one day but sit in a café with a friend the next, variety may be what works for you. It can be very liberating to feel happy in your own skin and you are more likely to continue with whatever you choose. And if you are friends with someone who loves housework and gets a mental buzz from it be pleased that it helps them and then give them my details, they can clean my house anytime!