The Leeds Mind Lakers (our staff running club) are doing up their laces and hitting the tarmac to carry the burden for World Mental Health Day!
A few of us wanted to share our personal motivations for getting involved in this light-hearted yet important campaign. Read on for our stories…
Paul Croston – Leeds Mind training team
I’m going to do a workout where I will carry, or strap, a 6 pack of lager on to myself.
Two reasons – one is about body image and specifically male body image. The underlying messages in TV ads / magazines / social media about having a great body and certainly around having a 6 pack, to be that perfect human with the perfect body with the perfect 6 pack.
We know physical exercise and good nutrition is good for both our physical and mental wellbeing, feeling good about ourselves, achieving a goal, feeling energised etc etc, however, if we are doing our exercise just to try and be the perfect shape (to please others, to please society) then we can end up carrying a burden of never quite getting to be that person.
The other reason is our use of alcohol and how it is so easy to become a way of coping and dealing with everyday stresses and expectations. From here, it is so easy to move from a casual / sociable unwind at the end of a long week and having some fun with friends, to an addiction that provides its own unique stresses and upset, to not only the person concerned but also to loving family and friends. It can be an unseen and silent burden that many people carry with them each day.
Charlie Smart – Leeds Mind WorkPlace Leeds team
I’m going to do my workout wearing this…
Why you ask? Well firstly because who doesn’t love a Llama (or is it an alpaca???) and secondly because I feel a rubber ring represents my invisible burden of living with an eating disorder.
Anorexia is a secret illness and it thrives in that secrecy. I kept my ‘condition’ to myself for a long time because I was ashamed. I feel that there is a misconception that Anorexia is a lifestyle choice and that ‘we’ decide that we want to be ‘skinny’ and that’s that. So with the help of this Llama I’m putting it out there to get people talking.
Amber Reid – Leeds Mind Operations Team
For World Mental Health day I’m going carry a sleeping bag with me for 24 hours.
Whether you have a mental health difficulty or not I think most people can relate to feeling under the weather at times, and completely exhausted mentally and emotionally. This could be due to worrying about exams, work, finances, relationships…we face lots of pressures daily and sometimes it can all get a bit much. For me, the sleeping bag represents those days when I feel overwhelmed and just want to hide away and not see anybody. It can be difficult to get yourself back out of that slump as it’s a cycle of feeling worried, hiding away and avoiding things that make you feel better, which then makes you feel worse… sometimes it is enough just to get up and out of bed and try again tomorrow.
I hope people ask me why I’m carrying a sleeping bag around all day as I would love to hear ways people get themselves motivated again after having a difficult time. It’s different for everybody but for me it’s getting outdoors and being active, even if it’s just for a short walk.
George Ellis – Leeds Mind WorkPlace Leeds team
For world mental health day, I am going to do a run where I carry or strap a clock to myself.
Why? For many of us, time can have both positive and negative effects on the mind. Sometimes there isn’t enough of it and this can cause high levels of stress and anxiety about meeting deadlines and fitting everything in. Other times there is too much of it! For me personally, too much time to think can feed my anxiety and I find it challenging to relax or be productive in between planned activities. Therefore, I always keep myself very busy, which unfortunately often leads to the initial challenge of too little time and burning out!
Too much time in our own heads can be stressful and exhausting. I feel this is particularly pertinent given the recent lockdown circumstances during which many have had to live alone or with minimal human contact. I hope this to get people talking about how they manage time, both the lack and abundance of it, in a way which keeps their mind well.