Mental health, getting outside and me
GetOutside Champion Eli Bishop speaks candidly about her own journey with mental health. Being open about her struggles felt like taking a leap off a cliff, but she's learnt that's it's always a positive leap.
This year, from the 17-23 March, all across the country, people will be tuning in and raising money for Sport Relief. OS GetOutside Champion team, TwoTravlrs explore why it's important to GetOutside during Sport Relief week.
Sport Relief does some incredible work all around the world, particularly with providing medical aid, help and support for those in need, predominantly with regards to treating malaria and assisting with maternal health in sub-saharan Africa. Closer to home though, one in four of us here in the UK, will experience a mental health problem over the course of a year. One in six of us in England will experience a common health problem such as anxiety or depression in any given week. That’s why Sport Relief, thanks to you, is helping to fund projects that increase public awareness, reduce the stigma and truly recognise the importance of good mental health.
Mental health can be extremely complex, and often quite difficult to understand for those who have not experienced mental health problems. Symptoms can often be quite physical, for example severe fatigue, and the potential for large variations and effects between individuals makes them even more difficult to diagnose and treat. However, more and more people in the UK are becoming aware of mental health every day, and more and more studies into mental health and wellbeing are being conducted in order to help support those who struggle with these issues, as well as those around them.
One of the biggest aids in improving mental health and wellbeing can be getting outside. Recently, Neuroscientist Dr. Andrea Michelli and her project team, announced that a single exposure to nature, that is a walk, run, or simply sitting in the garden can have positive effects such as feeling happier for up to seven hours afterwards. This means that, taking a stroll during lunchtime or walking the dog before you go to work can leave you feeling chirpier for the rest of your day.
A single exposure to nature, that is a walk, run, or simply sitting in the garden can have positive effects such as feeling happier for up to seven hours afterwards
Not only that, but in the spirit of Sport Relief, research also shows that doing good, does you good. Helping others can reduce stress, benefit your emotional wellbeing, and of course, even improve our physical health. So why not combine the two together? Volunteering in your national park, raising money for your favourite charity by taking part in a local fun run or bicycle race, or even just doing your bit by picking up any litter you pass in your nearest green space. All of these things not only benefit those around you, but also your own health and wellbeing too. Helping others is associated with happiness and longer periods of calm. It brings a sense of belonging, reduces isolation and hence contributes to a more positive community (happiness is contagious - the more you do for others, the more you do for you!).
These are the real take home messages of events such as Sport Relief. Getting outside and giving something back benefits everyone, and can take as little or as much of your time as you can manage. So find something you enjoy, keep others in mind, and GetOutside!
Andy and Gee are two young professionals who are firm believers in saying yes and pushing the boundaries of their comfort zones to GetOutside.
When Andy and Gee aren't working the typical 9-to-5, they are making the most of their spare time by getting outside in all weathers and doing all types of things. With the help of their trusty van conversion, you can find them climbing mountains, exploring forests, greeting the sea, and sometimes doing a spot of D.I.Y. as well!
Find out more about them here.