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Why I walked a hilly 45 miles to support mental health

Making a difference for mental health

If you follow me on social media you won’t have missed that earlier in the month a group of friends and I walked The Pendle Way, a 45-mile hilly path around stunning Lancashire countryside and taking in some of the local peaks most notably Pendle Hill.

Waymarker for the Pendle Way. Wooden sign with black witch and yellow arrow. Countryside backdrop.We were raising funds for a local Burnley based charity, PH7 LIFE, who provide a free 4-week programme for people with depression and anxiety. It’s a programme with a difference as it treats the illness not just as a mental illness, but a physical and spiritual one too.

In my mind PH7 LIFE are pioneering the future of mental health support – taking a whole-person approach. The results they are achieving speak for themselves and the recovery rates people are experiencing far exceed those achieved through more traditional methods.

We’ll be handing over a cheque for just shy of £2200 in the next couple of weeks, just about enough to fund the next programme and help change lives. YES!!

 

Why walk The Pendle Way?

For those who know me, you’ll already appreciate my love of walking in the great outdoors. It’s my haven and I manage to get out in green space with my walking boots on at least 4 times a week.

This activity has a real positive impact on me. It’s not just the physical activity that benefits me, but it also helps clear my mind, work through challenges, appreciate the simple things in life, and relax. It’s part of my resilience building strategy and without it I know that my stress levels would likely soar.

For me, walking keeps my mental health in a good place. We all have mental health, just like we have physical health. Finding our own ways to keep it in good shape is key.

I’m so lucky living where I do, on the doorstep of lush countryside and many walking routes. And whilst I’d often seen the signs for The Pendle Way and walked on parts of it, I’d never really explored the whole route. Given it passes within half a mile of my house it seemed rude not to.

With my feet, ankle and knee troubles that I manage on a daily basis, the walk also felt like a good challenge for me. My wonderful friends were brilliant, supporting me in splitting the walk into manageable sections. I know they could have easily done it in less days than I, but the important thing was doing it all together.

4 walkers in a field

Why support mental health?

We all know the headlines and we likely all know someone that has experienced mental ill-health. It’s pervading our society and affects many more people than the statistics tell us.

We’re making great strides in raising awareness with plenty of high-profile publicity campaigns, and there certainly feels to be more understanding and acceptance of the fact that #itsoknottobeok

Undoubtedly though, there’s also still a level of taboo associated with mental ill-health. Coupled with the increase in stress, stress-related illnesses and mental ill-health and extremely long waiting lists for traditional treatment, the situation just isn’t good enough. The suicide rates in the UK tell us this very clearly.

I’ve undoubtedly experienced mental ill-health. I’ve been very open about the fact that I suffered burnout as a result of chronic stress – it’s a lonely and dark place, something hard to describe to loved ones, something difficult to pull yourself out of, and something that can take a long time to recover from.

I feel passionately about helping people to understand stress in themselves and others, proactively build their resilience reserves, and ultimately be able to thrive every day – in work and life. That’s why I do what I do. The difference to individuals, families and even organisations can be significant.


The unexpected benefits

I knew I’d really enjoy doing the walk. Out in my favourite environment, experiencing some new places locally, and gaining a real sense of achievement. What I hadn’t accounted for was the benefits of walking with some of my very best friends every day for nearly a week. It was amazing. How often do you get to spend 2-3 hours daily with your nearest and dearest, walking, talking, laughing, helping, supporting and just simply being together?

 

A highlight of 2019

Without a shadow of the doubt walking The Pendle Way will be a highlight of 2019 for me. I LOVED every second of it and am both proud and grateful that we were able to raise funds for such a great local cause. I suspect there may be a Pendle Way 2020…….!

 

Taking the next step

If you want help in managing stress, building resilience and getting the most out of life, then contact me or book a Discovery Call. Similarly if you’re experiencing mental ill-health and want to know more about PH7 LIFE then drop me a message and I can share the details.

 

 

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