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Gonna drive past the Stop 'n' Shop, With the radio on…
Gonna drive past the Stop 'n' Shop, With the radio on…

Gonna drive past the Stop 'n' Shop, With the radio on…

11/05/2022 (Staff Post - Alan McNiven )


As we all come out of the restrictions that were in place around the pandemic, the health and wellbeing of people, particularly in relation to loneliness and isolation and the impact this can have on mental health and wellbeing is a big priority so it’s great that this year’s ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’ is focusing on loneliness. It’s not unusual to feel lonely some of the time but the longer you feel lonely, the more you may be at risk of mental health problems. I’m sure you would agree that it’s important to do what you can to keep yourself in contact with others but it’s not always easy. Like a lot of us I think of myself as being pretty busy a lot of the time and I’m not always great at contacting my friends to chat but I’m trying to get a bit better at it. Whether my friends are keen that I contact them (because they themselves are busy or for some other reason) on a more regular basis is a question I suppose I should ask but in the meantime I’ll just keep calling…

Like many of us I’m becoming more aware of the things I do to help with my general mental health, and a lot of that I think is down to campaigns like ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’ which shine a light on the subject and often provide a prompt that reminds us to take care of ourselves. The great thing is that a lot of the advice around improving your metal health is pretty simple stuff that can really help. For me, well, I like talking to my family. I try to get a good night’s sleep. I like getting some music on in the background. If I can get to the coast to see the sea now and again that brings me some calm. I try to eat and drink the right things - most of the time - and I like to get outside. I’m sure you’ll have your own things that you do to keep yourself in check and that help you with everyday stress. At Engage we seem to have a lot of dog owners and I know from the discussions that these furry members of the family bring a fair amount joy and I’m sure across the country they also impact in many homes in terms of combating isolation. They also look good on Instagram…

I do a wee bit of running which for me definitely helps. I run slowly of course, but I enjoy it a lot. I look to get out running as often as I can and while I often find myself running in the rain thinking ‘Why am I doing this?’, after I’m finished I find myself thinking ‘When can I do it again?’. Again, finding the time can be difficult, especially in the winter when it’s dark and you’d be quite keen to just stay in. When running at night you do of course need to make sure that you stay safe – while not looking my best in fluorescent colours it’s probably the right thing to do and the first time you plonk a headlamp on to trot around your street is a moment you never forget… Overall I’ve not had many issues when out running, the odd waterfall from a puddle splashed up by a passing lorry perhaps at worst (I’m not really selling this am I?!), but last week I had my first tumble. I tripped over a hidden bit of wire and bash, bump, crash – down I went. I recovered however, and I got up to finish my jaunt. I suppose that apart from my knee being a little hurt (and my pride I guess) I felt pretty good about keeping going. A wee bit of growing resilience due to a regular pattern of running perhaps? Or maybe it was just that I had what is technically known as a ‘riddie’ and bounced up to save myself any further embarrassment…

There’s lots of great information on the Mental Health Awareness Week here:

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk

And if you fancy a bit of running:

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/running-and-aerobic-exercises/get-running-with-couch-to-5k/

If you’re interested in dogs I advise that you speak to someone at Engage…

Take care

Alan

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