How sport helped keep me well
Posted Tuesday 31 July 2012
On Monday 9 July, I carried the Flame through Kidlington, Oxfordshire. I had been nominated by my husband for the fundraising work that I have done for Mind over the last three years.
Carrying the torch was a truly amazing experience; I was very proud to have been chosen and extremely pleased to also be able to raise the profile of the work of Mind as a result. My family and friends wore Mind t-shirts whilst supporting me, we have had photo opportunities in our workplaces to raise money for Mind, and my Olympic torch itself has been auctioned on Ebay and raised over £4000! The money will be used to support those with mental illness and continue to make people aware of these issues in England.
I was originally motivated to raise money for Mind in memory of a childhood friend, Emily, who took her life after a long struggle with depression in 2006. However, I have also suffered with depression several times, as have a number of people close to me. Mind do fantastic work in raising the profile of mental illness, as well as supporting those who are struggling, and I think it is important that everyone should know that it is OK to need help to stay mentally well.
This summer makes me very excited, partly because of watching our country's incredible athletes, but also because I hope that it will promote participation in sport, which I feel is a key ingredient in maintaining good mental health, and something that I have personal experience of.
The fundraising that I have done over the last three years has consisted of increasingly long sponsored open-water swims (1 mile, 3.8k, 10k), and as someone who sometimes struggles to maintain good mental health, I have found the routine of training and the actual exercise itself very helpful. The feeling of achievement in completing individual training sessions, and the longer term training plan leading to the goal of an event have all helped me to stay well.
When I'm too busy to swim, I always try to make time to do something, even if it is just a short walk outside at lunchtime. You don't have to take on an enormous event to benefit from feeling good through exercise!
Follow Verity on Twitter via @mrsvjdw
Run the Royal Parks half marathon for Mind: Do good, feel great!
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