Hannah shares her story

Champion Hannah shares her story as part of our Moving Minds campaign

My name is Hannah and I am an Open Minds champion for West Sussex Mind. I go into schools and universities, helping deliver workshops on stigma around mental health. I feel very passionate about this, due to my own struggles growing up, and mental health not being so recognised back then.

I am also involved in the Moving Minds campaign. I personally started running just before Christmas, having been feeling very low in mood with quite high anxiety. I started by running for about two minutes and then walking the rest. A month on, I ran my first 5km in 27mins - at least according to my fitbit!

And I have to say I am feeling so much better in myself, with more motivation and desire. I feel a real sense of being proud of what I have achieved so far.

I have built up a resilience bank. Running has made me not only physically stronger but also more mentally resilient. Running requires you to dig deep, and access that will to keep going. For me, it isn’t about doing marathons or races but to achieve a sense of well-being within myself, and to push my comfort zone. I plan to continue with running, as the benefits are so hugely noticeable to me.

On some days it can be a real struggle to get motivated but I really encourage myself to do it. Equally, I listen to my body and if there are days when I really feel it will be detrimental, then I listen to that too. I think it is about balance between the two.

My message to you is if you're struggling with your own mental health, try to take one small step to moving - a walk in nature, a jump on a trampoline. All I can say is that for me, just getting up and moving the energy really does help. The key is to keep going, keep at it, and things will start to shift. One step at a time!

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