We all know that movement is an essential part of our lifestyles and there are many benefits to incorporating movement into our day-to-day lives. Whilst there are many positive elements associated with movement, two which stand out to me in particular are stress reduction and mood enhancement. The events industry is commonly known to be one of the most stressful industries to be in, for this reason, it is incredibly important to look after yourself and no matter how much you love your work, take time out for you to avoid burn out. At the end of the day, when you look after your mental and physical health, you will be more focused and able to offer more to your company or business.
Whilst I may seem clued up on the importance of movement, this hasn’t always been the case and I’m going to share a little story with you. A number of years ago, I was in a very dark place, I felt extremely low and didn’t know how to get out of it, to the point where I couldn’t get out of bed. Prior to this, I used to have so much energy for life and strived to achieve the best from work to sports to friendships but I had become numb and struggled to get through each day, I didn’t want to go beyond my comfort zone so I sought help. Let me tell you, this was not an easy or quick decision, I didn’t want to be judged and only within the last year or so have I become confident speaking about it. I’ve been through counselling, group therapy sessions and I’ve been on anti-depressants.
Fast forward a couple of years and with a heck of a lot of hard work and support from professionals and loved ones, I started regaining my focus and was re-discovering my love for life. The anti-depressants helped lift me out of the low period I was in and brought a light into my life to be able to do everyday tasks. Whilst I felt better than before, I didn’t feel fulfilled but the motivation I had lost was back and stronger than ever. I joined a local running club called Dragons in Yeadon, Leeds as I wanted to meet new people and I fought my challenging mind to reach the next lamp post before giving up, you know that feeling, right? It’s pretty damn hard, perhaps more mentally than physically! Now, I’m training for a marathon – how did that happen? For me, the ‘runners high’ that I get when returning home from a run and challenging myself in training is better than any therapy or anti-depressant alone. Yes, I do still take anti-depressants but I’m not ashamed of that anymore. When I used to struggle to accept it, my husband used to say, ‘you would take paracetamol if you had leg pain so what’s wrong with taking anti-depressants to help with mental pain?’ – now, the combination of anti-depressants and running are what I use as my go-to coping strategies!
So, how can you get into running? Perhaps you don’t have time to attend an in-person running club or perhaps you don’t feel ready to join one just yet. I will say, they are a very welcoming bunch of people but I know how it feels when you’re battling with your thoughts and wondering what everyone will think of you. What I would suggest if you want to get a flavour of the running community, why not take a look at joining an online group such as Runspire (Run to Inspire). They are primarily an online community of inspiring people, motivated to connect runners and bring people together. You can find them on Instagram and Facebook and their 5 pillars are: Inspire, Motivate, Educate, Connect and Positivity.
Even if you don’t want to join a club, lace up those trainers that are gathering dust in the back of your wardrobe and just take a step outdoors in the fresh air and take a few deep breaths. I promise, you will never regret going out for a walk or a run and you can too, experience the ‘runners high’.
Charli Briggs, Events Professional, Founder of Eventure & Runner