Why running is good for my #Mental Health #PSHE @MindCharity

Last year my back started to play up. The physio suggested that I stop running. If I am honest I wasn’t running as much as I would have liked but I was still managing to go out twice a week. The problem came when I needed to look left and right to check no cars were coming, that was when my back would give way. She suggested that I cycle or swim. Swimming is out of the question when you run a boarding house. The pools are never open when you aren’t on duty. And I am not a great cyclist. I do have a static bike which I use but it’s never as good as a run for several reasons which I will come to. Anyway I did all excercises and stopped running and after a month went back to see my physio. She thought I was making progress and wanted me to carry on. I on the other had felt very down. I missed the running and told her if I couldn’t run then the doctors will probably be treating me for mental health issues. Suddenly she produced three forms to fill in, I had a scan and was put into what I can only describe as a stretching machine. “The rack” as my son excitingly describes it to his friends as if from a Horrid History episode, was amazing. Two days later I managed a run. I went back a few months after for another go and was given other excercises to make sure I stretch out before and after.

I now run every other day. I am not that great, but it’s 38 minutes when no one can get me on the phone or email or knock on the door. Although as a boarding house mistress you have time off, parents aren’t aware of your schedule. I trust my competent support staff when they are on duty but they often phone for reassurance. Part of leading the house is just giving them the confidence and agreeing with their decision. My run is also my time to think things through. I replay anything that has annoyed me and gain perspective. I plan assemblies, often coming up with my best ideas. Or I just sing – normally badly. Sometimes the song can release an hugh amount of emotion and I may have a little cry.

On really bad days the run could be considered a punishments. That sounds terrible but I am being honest. If I am annoyed at myself I will run faster / longer. It’s my coping mechanism. One that works for me. But I am well aware that it doesn’t work for everyone which is why two years ago I ran the London marathon for MIND raising over £2,000. A great charity who offer support to those suffering from a metal health issue and just as important the familys. I have seen lots of children whose whole life is upside down because family members are suffering. They need support and I feel that we haven’t addressed this issues yet. If you haven’t checked @MindCharity out yet, do so. They have come into my school to give great talks to various aged pupils and their resources are excellent. All good for PSHE lessons.

Today is a good day and my run was easy, who knows what tomorrow will bring.

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Assistant Head ( DSL) at a boarding school. Interested in all PSHE and safeguarding topics.

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