I’ve recently started running. Well, moving faster than walking while being outside – I’m still very reluctant to call it ‘running’ as that implies speed. A few months ago my lovely friends Katie and Laura kindly dragged me out and convinced me that I could at least give it go.
Being with a ‘squad’ certainly helped and it’s great to chat while we run, but I also need to head out on my own sometimes. Looking out at the frost this morning it was so very tempting not to go, but somehow, the trainers went on and, grudgingly, I set off.
Although it was cold, the sunshine was dazzling today. Armed with my headphones, I went for my four year-old’s favourite, the Spice Girls. Yes, I know – an appalling choice, but what can I say – the late 90’s was ‘my time’ and I challenge anyone not to run a little bit faster to ‘Spice Up Your Life’.
Anyway, the day was just so beautiful, that I actually started enjoying my run. I followed a path or two that I hadn’t before. I even got slightly lost and didn’t mind running a little further. It wasn’t fast by any means, but in slowing down a bit and appreciating being outside, it was actually a pleasure.
I’d go as far as to say it was mindful – I noticed the glittery frost, I felt the cold air and my head was clear.
How often do we give ourselves headspace like that? Not often enough for most, and it’s a huge issue – especially in such a fast paced and connected world.
The MHF defines mindfulness as a way of helping us: ‘become more aware of our thoughts and feelings so that we’re better able to manage them’. It’s been shown to help with concentration, stress and anxiety, as well as mental and physical health.
It might sound fluffy, but the economic-case for mental-wellbeing at work is clear. According to the HSE, stress accounted for 45% of all working days lost due to ill health last year. At the sharp-end of this: people stop thinking clearly, stop being creative and, ultimately, stop coping. Businesses are slowly waking-up to the need to create cultures where this is taken seriously, and we’ve got responsibilities to look after ourselves too.
So, if my ‘running’ helps me do that I’m going to keep pulling on the trainers and moving…just not too fast.
Gotta slow it down, baby. Gotta have some fun. (I’m not even sorry)
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