I walk to help me feel better. I don’t particularly like walking and I started taking pictures on my phone to help make the walks go quicker. I know I’m surrounded by beauty but when I’m not feeling great, I often don’t see any of it.
Since I came back back to Donegal in August I’ve been doing a lot of walking.
I joined a walking group for people experiencing mental health difficulties. I’ll admit it was challenging, but I stuck with it.
I started out walking three or four times a week at first. Around 7-8km every day.
Now I’ll be honest, it wasn’t easy and I didn’t really enjoy it at first. I was walking between 4-5 times a week, every week for about 3 months before I started to enjoy it.
I’ve always heard the term ‘Activation precedes motivation’ and it’s true. It basically means that you have to do something before you get motivated to do it. If I was going to wait to be motivated to go for a walk I prob would never ever have gone for one.
On a good week I’m walking 5 days a week and up to 40km a week but often much more. One week I walked 60km. Eek. Definitely not something I would have even thought was possible a few months ago.
Now, for anyone looking at my pictures on my social media pages they prob aren’t aware of the struggle behind each picture.
I’m a huge fan of the work that Prince William, Kate and Prince Harry are doing around mental health. They set up the Heads Together charity to work specifically on mental health and they have been rolling out some great campaigns ever since.
The ‘Best Man Project’ is aimed at men and encouraging them to choose a ‘best man’ or a friend who they can talk to about stuff or confide in when they need some support.
I hear it all the time. Men don’t talk. Personally I believe that is a myth. Men do talk about lots of stuff, but in a different way to women. We communicate differently but that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t communicate.
They talk about lots of stuff, it’s not always about how they feel but they do talk, they just need some encouragement and help along the way.
So I have recently updated a page with links to some of my work. I’ve written thousands of articles over the years but have never really had one place to read a lot of it. I’ve posted links to some of it below. I’m always adding to it, and have lots more to add. So watch this space
Publications I have written for
I have written thousands of articles for different publications. I obviously can’t list them all here but I’ve included some links to a small sample of them below.
In 2008 I won an Investing on Health Media Award for an article I wrote about a young man in my community called Richard Alcorn who suffered horrific injuries in a car crash. Richard does amazing work on road safety and has won awards for his work. Life’s never over you can always start again
I was also shortlisted for New Feature Writer of the year in the National Council for the Training of Journalists ( NCTJ) for the article on Richard but also another one I wrote on Ian Howley, a suicide survivor who was campaigning for improved mental health services for young people. ( I don’t have a link to that article but I’m trying to find one so watch this space.)
Aswell as editing SpunOut.ie from 2012-2017, I wrote for them on a regular basis as a volunteer from 2004. From 2004-2017 I wrote thousands of articles.
Any day can be tough for someone experiencing difficulties with their mental health, but weekends are particularly tough. It’s perfectly normal to feel a bit sluggish and awful especially after Christmas, all that sugar, alcohol and being out of routine can bring anyone down. You don’t have to have all the answers and have this great big plan for the year ahead. (at any time and especially not on the 6th of January)
Start now. Start where you are. Start with fear. Start with pain. Start with doubt. Start with hands shaking. Start with voice trembling but start. Start and don’t stop. Start where you are, with what you have. Just… start.”
― Ijeoma Umebinyuo
What better way to start a brand new year than this beautiful quote by Ijeoma Umebinyuo
A new year can be a perfect time to make changes to things that we’re not really happy with.