Monday 10th October is Mental Health Awareness Day. A time to reinforce the steps we can take to look after our own mental health. And to look out for others.
It's a pretty well known fact that running can help improve your mental health and also being outdoors in nature (or just outdoors, away from your screens) can boost your mood. So doing both, particularly in the shorter days of winter, can really help.
For some people the support and advice from a running club can really help too. Here at Queens Park Harriers we want people to know we have members of the club who are designated "Mental Health Champions" a role created by England Athletics, there are four of us at present but if anyone is interested in the role please do contact me
So if you wanted to talk to anyone about something you are not comfortable to do with family or friends, sometimes running and chatting is really helpful. And we can all slow down to run and chat!
Anastasia Chew, Sofia Ali, James Walyerch and I (Susan Kennedy) are the club Mental Health Champs at the moment - get in touch if you would like either at the track or via email firstname.lastname@example.org and I can put you in touch with someone.
Anastasia Sofia James Susan
Also we know mental health is for life - not just special days - so be assured we are always here with an ear to listen. Personally for me running and the club has helped me more than I can say - I still take a small dose of anti depressant but without running this would be higher.
Here are some quotes from other Hoopsters...
I moved back to the UK in January 2019 after having lived in Boston for two years. I had found a love of running there. Within days of being back in Queens Park, I came to a track night in freezing temperatures and was welcomed to the club. Running is a perfect way to decompress for me and the club and all it’s antics have been a foundation ever since. I am privileged to be part of the club and appreciate the kindness, encouragement and fun that emanates from the club! During the Covid lockdown and beyond, the club strives to keep spirits up and it certainly brings a massive smile to my face and keeps me grounded.
I have always struggled to manage my anger, and I find that running really helps to calm my mind and help me to think through difficult problems and situations in a more even and logical way. I'm certain that running has really helped both my personal and professional relationships.
SARAH D I took up running at 51 when the menopause hit me like a steam train, and I decided to embark on a total career change. It totally changed my life. It cleared the chaos in my head when I thought I was completely losing the plot and turned me into a marathon runner!
For years I wanted to leave London and was unhappy where I lived as so many of my friends had left the big smoke. Since joining Queens Park Harriers I have made some very special friends, some who live only a block from me, who I look forward to seeing every parkrun, race, track day and everything in between. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else now.
Beyond the endorphin boost that a good run can have, for me, running has helped me to channel and manage my anxiety and stress. Seeing tangible progress, being part of a community and celebrating our collective achievements are all such great ways to refocus on things that bring genuine joy.