Following a long struggle with cancer, my Dad passed away. My life was hectic with work, children and many other commitments. I needed to process what had happened, but was struggling to find the right people, time and environment to grieve. I found exercise.
What challenge does this story focus on?
Grief can still be painful at times, but there are tools out there that can help us to process that pain. For me, I found my happy place to process to be exercise.
How has this challenge affected you?
Grief has instilled a sense of urgency and productivity in me that I didn't have before, I fear missing opportunities and having regrets. Basically I feel like life is too short. The battle is now balancing that energy with some realism to ensure I don't stretch myself too far or put too much pressure on myself.
What has or is helping you to move forward with this challenge?
I feel I have a wellbeing tool in exercise that I rely on when my mental health is suffering. It puts me in a positive frame of mind and from that I can then move forwards or open up.
What have you learnt as a result of this challenge?
Being vulnerable and open about grief and how exercise has helped, and has inspired me to create a whole online platform for sharing other people's stories about exercising for better mental health. People are empowered through sharing stories. Once I opened up, others did too.
How do you use this learning in your life now?
I'm busy working on the online platform. People often share stories with me about how exercise has helped them with their mental health. The pleasure from helping and supporting others by providing a platform is so powerful and quite life-changing. It is daunting but also empowering.