It’s well documented across my blog and social media that I live with depression and anxiety – it’s something I refuse to hide because not only does it need to be as socially acceptable as any other illness, but I know from many messages I’ve received that I have helped a lot of people. It helps me too, to write. Another huge part of my ‘therapy’ as someone living with depression, is being outdoors.
Winfields Outdoors have launched a ‘Walk & Talk’ campaign, showing how getting out and about can have really beneficial effects for everyone’s mental health and wellbeing. I wholeheartedly agree, so wanted to join the campaign to talk about how refusing to stay stuck indoors helps me every single day.
Sometimes – especially on the days I’m working from home without Toby and Martha around – there’s this huge temptation to stay on the sofa all day with junk TV on in the background, while I work. The trouble is that when I do that, I achieve nothing. Absolutely zilch. I get writer’s block, inspiration fails me, overwhelm sets in, the self doubt and imposter syndrome creep slyly into my head. If the children are with me and we’re in for too long I get snappy and my patience is reduced to nothing.
Once those nasty negative things are there, it can be so hard to fight through them and summon up the energy to put shoes on to feet and walk out of the door, but I’ve learned that doing so is essential. I can breathe again the moment we step outside, and the children embrace the freedom of our local countryside with such joy. Whether we head to a National Trust property, scoot around the village, go out on the boat at Rutland Water, or simply walk to the park, we all feel better for doing so.
One thing we’ve not done as a family yet is camping, but it’s another thing that Phil and I love. One of our favourite ever times as a couple was one weekend in August 2012, camping at a gorgeous rock climbing spot without another human in sight, and watching an incredible Perseid meteor shower overhead, before settling down to sleep ready for a day of climbing. Those memories last a lifetime, and even on my darkest days the thought of that weekend will always bring a smile to my face.
Toby and Martha are such outdoorsy children, and even on the weekends we’re generally out of the house before 9am! It makes a really positive impact on our lives and I’m excited to think of the adventures that are yet to come.
If you don’t get out and about much then I challenge you to do so every day – even if it’s only a walk to the corner shop or sitting in the garden to work instead of on the sofa or at your desk. I promise that you’ll feel a benefit from it, whether you live with mental health illness or not. Let me know how you get on – leave me a comment or get in touch via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
*This is a collaborative post*