In January, I took part in the RED January challenge for the first time. RED stands for Run Every Day but the challenge was simply to be active in some way every day and as I hate running, I decided to walk every day instead. The good thing about the challenge was that it was a positive thing to do – I took something new on rather than having to give something up – and the idea behind it was to boost my mental health and wellbeing. Many people also did it as a way of raising funds for Mind, the mental health charity.

And so instead of walking one or two times a week, I upped my game and set about walking every single day. I walked in sunshine, rain and snow, and found new places to walk in my local area that I had never been to before. I’m proud to say that I didn’t miss a single day and I know it really boosted my spirits to go for a walk every day like that. The challenge finished on Wednesday of course, and I’ve had a couple of days off since then but I already miss it on the days I haven’t been out. So I may have to get back to it now that I’ve got into the habit. As I work part-time for a local Mind association every morning, and I would generally go for my walk after that, I found it was a nice way to sign off from that before starting my freelance work in the afternoons.

I can certainly recommend walking as a way of keeping fit for writers and also as a way of getting some thinking done. I’ve heard many writers say that they have been able to solve plot problems while out on their daily walk! I also use the time to listen to podcasts about writing sometimes, which is another good use of your time. The other thing I have enjoyed is taking photos of the view while I’ve been out and about. Sometimes, it’s been incredible to see how blue the sky has been on the days I’ve been out. I have put some of my pictures below for you to see the range of photos I took – unfortunately, you can’t see just how cold it was on some days!

I’d be interested to know what you do to keep yourself active as a writer, and how you find it benefits your mental health. There’s no doubt that if you take your writing seriously, you will be spending a lot of time sitting down at your desk staring at your computer so it really is good for your health to get out and about if you can, even if only for a short while.


8 Comments on RED January – Getting Active for my Mental Health

    • That sounds like another good challenge. I think I will sign up for that too 🙂 Good luck to Scott, and I expect you’ll be keeping him company for most of it too!

  1. Thanks for sharing & for those great pix. U r so right about walking for mental health. I also try to do this as often as poss – give if take the plethora of pavement cyclists, who career up behind you on a narrow pavement, regardless of the fact it’s not a shared use lane. Ah well.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Gabrielle. I know what you mean about some of those cyclists! Good luck with your walking 🙂

  2. Well done, Julie on completing your walking challenge for such a worthwhile charity. My son completed RED January too. (He didn’t run regularly until he signed up!) I finding walking helps clear my head, but if the weather’s not great outside, I plump for time on my exercise bike, which is great as I can read or listen to a podcast at the same time too!

    • Thanks for reading the blog, Rae and for leaving a comment. Well done to your son as well, it really is so satisfying 🙂 However, you get your exercise, it doesn’t really matter – it’s making a habit of doing it that’s so important, and the benefits are huge. Good luck with your walking and cycling!

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