Running and mental health

I hope I'm in the right place. I just need some support I think.<div>
</div><div>So I've been struggling with mental health for most of my life and about 4 years ago I turned everything around: I went through loads of therapy, had an ok amount of ups and a ridiculous amount of downs. Other things happened too: I had a baby, changed my career (started school again in my 30s), and am now about to move to a new place. Long story short, I am working on myself--a lot. And i am determined.</div><div>
</div><div>I've listened to two books recently, Jog on by Bella Mackie and Depression hates a moving target by Nita Sweeney. Loved them both obviously, and could especially relate to the first one. So after a long consideration, I decided I will start jogging.</div><div>
</div><div>The thing is, I've never jogged before and i have no idea what to do. I have separation anxiety and can get a panic attack from just leaving my place. I have eating and body image issues and hate moving, especially in front of other people. I am overweight and not in shape, but generally healthy. I had a baby a year ago. I'm 35. I can count so many reasons not to do this.</div><div>
Even though I've dealt with so many issues that i had in my life, I still feel like something is missing and i think jogging could help. It would get me outside, doing something physical on my own, give me that high that everyone is talking about, give me some me-time but also make me a part of a community, put me in a better shape, boost my confidence etc. It's catch 22-my issues could be helped by jogging, but i can't start jogging because of my issues.</div><div>
</div><div>I'm just looking for some advice, community, support... i don't know. What do I do? All advice is welcome. Thank you for reading  o:) </div>


  • GuarddogGuarddog ✭✭✭
    Hi February and welcome to the forum. Firstly can I say that is a fantastic post and will resonate with so many others.

    To address what I think is your main concern regarding your body image issue, and your reticence over moving in front of other people let me, hopefully, assuage any concerns you may have. Runners, in my experience, are the least judgmental group I have associated with from a physical activity perspective. What I have observed is that they really don't worry about what you look like or how quick you are. They're more admiring of the fact that someone, anyone, is getting out there and doing it.

    To help deal with your separation anxiety and tap into that community support it might be worth while investigating if there are any running groups in your area. These cater for all abilities, are very supportive and will hopefully give you confidence as running in numbers might be less stressful than running on your own. And as we're just starting to ease up on the lockdown restrictions we can run in groups of 6, so it may not be so scary as running in a larger group.

    If you still feel nervous then perhaps go for a walk in your local park and observe who is out there running. I will guarantee it's people of all different shapes, sizes and ability. Once Parkrun starts up again it might be an idea to have a look at that. That is genuinely one of the most inclusive participatory events that I know of, with those coming in towards the end receiving just as much encouragement, if not more, than those who come in at the front.

    And on a practical note if it's a question of just starting out then I'd recommend downloading the couch to 5K (couch25k) app, which will take you through building up to being able to run/jog 5K.

    Good luck with your endeavours.
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