Make the change in your life, before your life changes you

Friday 13 October 2017

This week is World Mental Health Week and the theme this year is ‘Mental health in the workplace’. We all have mental health – and it’s affected by a range of factors both in and outside of work. There are a few ways to create a more open and supportive working culture.

To mark the week, we’ve teamed up with our partners SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) to bring you this blog post from Jog Leader Neil Nairn, who write about the positive impact his lunchtime runs have had on his mental health and work life balance.

Blog post by Neil Nairn, coach in Running Fitness, Jog Leader and Dental Instructor.

I am a Dental Instructor, and the reality for most dentists is a life of continual demands and stress, whether it be workload, fear of complaints, continual pressures to deliver the very best treatment for patients and financial pressures, to name but a few. Due to these stresses dentists suffer high rates of mental health problems.

It is well known, that physical activity has a profoundly positive effect on our bodies and it is generally accepted that if you feel physically healthy and fit then you are more likely to feel more confident, have more energy and have a more optimistic view on life. Our physical health and our mental health are very closely linked, so the health benefits of being physically active can be as beneficial for an individual’s mental health as much as their physical health.

Incorporating physical exercise into our everyday lives can seem like a luxury of time that few can afford. A few years ago after losing a close family member to suicide, I decided to make the change and introduce more physical activity into my life.

Initially this involved lonely runs on wet mornings or evenings after a day at work, which was less then appealing. Fortunately, a work colleague who was the coach at my local running club invited me along to train, and I immediately found training with others and setting personal goals to be very motivational and inspiring.

However, I was still struggling to incorporate exercise into my daily life. So on one beautiful sunny afternoon, a few of my colleagues at the Glasgow Dental Hospital took to the streets for the first time.

A group of us wanted to improve our own personal fitness and introduce the benefits of running for a healthy work life balance to others in work. The Glasgow Dental Hospital & School Runners club was formed!

All staff and students were welcome and the running group rapidly grew in size and popularity, with runners at all levels joining. There are now over a hundred of us.

We are now a registered group with jogscotland, and I am now an established level II Scottish Athletics Coach.

jogscotland is great because it promotes fun, friendly jogging groups that are perfect for those who wish to become more active for the first time or for more experienced runners who wish to participate in a very sociable, enjoyable and supportive environment. No one is too slow, we all start and finish together, and it is the perfect way to introduce exercise in to our working lives.

I would encourage everyone to think about his or her mental and physical health in their workplace and make the change in their life before life changes them.

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