With each new year we see our social media platforms filling up with advertisements for ‘New Year, New You’ health and fitness challenges. For many of us, including NHS staff who are working long hours under extreme pressure, such challenges may be the last thing on our minds. But our minds must be a priority in these difficult times, and exercise is a fantastic way to improve our mental health.
Katie Winstanley, one of our Wellbeing team members, recently completed a 10k running challenge, despite not being able to run for ten minutes beforehand! Katie took up running after her psychiatric consultant raved about the benefits that exercise had had on the mental health of his patients. She found that getting out into the fresh air, mindfully appreciating nature and focusing on the body, helped to quiet and heal her mind.
Mind, the mental health charity, states that “doing something physical releases cortisol which helps us manage stress. Being physically active also gives your brain something to focus on and can be a positive coping strategy for difficult times.”
Katie’s colleagues, friends and family sponsored her in aid of Mind, raising a total of £1,790 for the life-saving charity.
Whether it’s taking on the ‘Couch to 5k’ running challenge, dancing to your favourite tunes, cycling to work, or simply taking the stairs more often, why not challenge yourself to get more active this January? Your body and mind will thank you for taking a few minutes out of your busy day for this act of self-care.