We are firm believers that we should all think about our mental health every day of the year, not just when a day carries a label. But there is no denying that in meteorological terms at least, this January has so far felt very ‘Blue’. The seemingly relentless rain has made the days feel even shorter and darker to impact on mood. 

This is why we’ve committed to a Red January. RED – Run Every Day – January.

It is a brilliant nationwide movement for mental wellbeing, led by the community, for the community. Founder, Hannah Beecham launched the inclusive campaign after witnessing the transformative effect that regular physical activity had on her Mum, as she recovered from a period of severe depression.

It is such a simple idea that encourages people to move every day, to beat the winter blues away as she explains:

“I’ve always relied on physical activity to support my wellbeing, and I wondered if it could also help my Mum. I signed us both up to a walking marathon. Slowly and steadily, my Mum began getting out of the house each day to train. She started to see a change in her mood and energy and some of her symptoms lessened. The sense of achievement gained by setting a goal and seeing it through, along with the physical effects of regular physical activity, helped transform my mum’s approach to managing her mental health.

“This got me thinking about what was out there for people like my Mum, who might need extra support to take on a physical challenge and could benefit hugely from an inclusive event. We couldn’t find anything, particularly in the winter months, a time where evidence shows that as a nation, we tend to be less active, experience low moods and increased depressive symptoms.

“By providing a free event for all fitness abilities, we believed we could encourage people like my Mum to support their mental health by building movement into their daily lives. And with the combination of a physical activity challenge, plus the support of a wider online community, we aimed to create an initiative that not only helped people for one month of the year, but throughout their lives.

“January seemed like the perfect month for the initiative, providing an opportunity to kick-start the year in a positive way. It’s a time when many of us are setting new goals, but are low on funds and motivation, with less social occasions to keep us connected. RED is an empowering colour for dark times, that could inspire those taking part to ‘move every day, to beat the winter blues away.”

Led by our Wellbeing Committee, team BHSF have been supporting the RED January campaign.

Colleagues have taken on a variety of activities but all with a common goal of moving every day, in a way that works for the individual. Some have run, others have walked or cycled. Indoor activities such as swimming, yoga or home workouts have also been popular too.

So why not join us and give it a go? It could be the start of something that could have all year round and far-reaching benefits.