I am a 34-year-old Personal Trainer living in Bristol moving here 7 years ago from North Cornwall. I love socializing and being outside doing activities, climbing, skiing, running, cycling, camping whatever it is its better with friends. Being in Bristol has been great as growing up in Cornwall you are pretty limited with opportunities, but I still have a special place in my heart for being by the coast.
Over the years I have struggled with episodes of depression and with help from the mental health services in North Cornwall and Bristol I have managed to work through these with the support of friends & family. Throughout this time I have found that keeping in contact with friends family and keeping fit/ exercising has been key part of the process.
I was always a team sports player and loved the social aspect of it but I missed a few rugby seasons when doing my ski seasons and then moved to Bristol for work. Working evenings and weekends led to me keeping fit by running and cycling. I always said I wouldn’t want to run a marathon but soon ended up running my first marathon in 2015 with a friend and work colleague. Surprised with how I loved the hills of the road marathon I was some how tempted to running a 40 mile ultra on the Cornish coast path and that got me hooked on the longer distances and more social nature of trail running.
I find that running, especially when I am out on the coast paths or off road on the trails, its my way to declutter my brain of the day to day stress. It allows me to space and time to think.
Picture below, me finishing the 4 ultras in 4 days, 134 miles in total raising £2370 for Bristol mind. Kept my mental health in check training for this over the 3rd lockdown from Jan to May when I completed the challenge.
The work that Bristol Mind does is so vital and essential in supporting those that require their help to overcome their own challenges I felt that it was a good cause to do this challenge for. Having my own experience of how difficult it is to get provision of support any work that can be done to improve that and raise awareness is so important and worthwhile.
I love the idea of helping a local charity and those within and around Bristol, putting back and helping the local community. I personally feel the funding to support the provision of mental health services is a fraction of what should be dedicated to it so when it comes to charities like Bristol Mind they are doing amazing work to plug the gap.
In my opinion personally and professionally as a PT, sport and wellbeing go hand in hand, from playing team sports I never realized that actually the social aspect and interaction was as much of a draw for me to play than just the physical challenge. It’s recognising this aspect of interaction within team or individual sports, and the importance of it, for men to be a bit more open about their feelings within a safe context or environment.
Not enough men are open with talking about their mental health, maybe perceiving it as a weakness, but if they are open they will see that it is a normal aspect of everyone’s life in some way or another. It needs to be more normal to chat about these things and as a result won’t feel as much of a burden to the individual.
I think it’s all about finding a way or ways that work for the individual to manage and improve their mental health. Sometimes this takes a bit of trial and error but if sport/exercise/fitness can be a way to address this very important issue through and connect with others to confront their mental health then it’s a vital part of maintaining our daily wellbeing.
If you need help or advice concerning this article, please contact our information service by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
or calling us 0117 980 0370 and for further information on support, or you can call MindLine on 0808 808 0330.