Warning, you might need a nice cuppa tea or beverage whilst reading this post... I tend to go on a bit... all from the heart!
So, most of you know I do not need much incentive to do something fitness related for charity. There is nothing more satisfying than completing a walk, run or triathlon knowing that you are doing some great fundraising and building awareness for charities that do such amazing work helping those in the community. People who know me, know that I am passionate about helping others. I love that feeling you get of being able to give something back.
You will never know when you will need to utilise the help of one of the many charities that are around to help those in need. We are always touched by stories of loved ones or friends and/or families that have dealings with cancer, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, multiple sclerosis etc and the animal charities that do great work from training animals to help those who have disabilities and cannot even do a load of washing on their own to rescuing animals that are in need. So many charities I hear you say, so many people and animals that require assistance and need. So many that need more awareness also. You do not need to give to all, choose what is dearest to your heart and give either your time, your money or both. Share the information, teaching is vital to passing on that we can make a difference, even if you can only spare 1 hour a month or $2, YOU can make a difference. WHY you ask, because you can!
Something that is close to my heart is mental health. Dealing with mental health/illness is something we really do not openly discuss, it is still a taboo and most people think of crazy people, homeless people etc. There are so many people out there (your friends, family, neighbours, work colleagues) that might not be dealing with things too well and have struggles with depression, anxiety etc this is all part of mental health. To be mentally well. Yes some people do have severe mental health problems and if not properly diagnosed, treated can lead to further issues. I believe we all deserve to be both healthy mentally and physically - we go on and on about diets and losing weight and looking good but we need to concentrate and work on our mental health. Talking about our issues and problems, no matter how trivial they seem. It is hard to open up to people and admit that you might not be on happy street, but if you knew how many other people had the same issues, it would lighten the load just a little bit. I am a big believer that if you get everyone mentally healthy we wouldn't deal with as many issues with obesity, type II diabetes etc. Healthy mind AND body. All so very connected.
Society puts so much pressure on us to be fit, healthy, good looking, financially stable and to have materialistic items as measures of our success. If we are not married and don't have children we are failures to society apparently, what the?! Who on earth made up these hideous expectations? Happiness comes in many forms and no one has the right to tell others that they are not happy! You are the only person to set any expectations. Setting unrealistic expectations just makes people stressed, unhappy and they get depressed and anxious. Many commit suicide. They didn't have a mental illness, they weren' t mentally healthy. Some people truly believe they cannot cope and that they don't have any other choice. I know most people see it as a form of weakness or disrespect, but until you have been there, you will never ever know.
On the outside I am always such a happy person, always having a laugh and running around like a mad woman but I have suffered anxiety and depression, I know what it is like to have those really low, low dark days, it can be quite debilitating. First time I was very low/depressed I was living in London (that is normal right? I hear people ask) I honestly thought I was because of the work I was doing at the time, at a hospital dealing with very sick patients on a daily basis, but I really was homesick from my family, friends in Australia. The one thing that stood out from me was how quickly I just assumed in my mind the reason I was crying constantly and drinking myself to sleep most nights was, after many hours of counselling with the hospitals therapist I became aware that I was suppressing emotions and feelings and that really frightened me. We can talk ourselves out of any situation and think we have dealt with things, but in reality we haven't, this can manifest and get out of hand for many people. Even though I can talk the leg off a sheep (blame the Irish genes) I find it very hard to talk about how I am actually feeling, at my lowest I too felt that I was weak and I didn't want to burden others with my problems. I am lucky that I was aware of this and I now know how to ride out those dark days or deal with things that make me anxious, I also can talk about it more opening with friends and family (most days). But the one thing that really opened my eyes was that SO many people do not have the same help around them, they cannot reach for help, they often feel alone and isolated, even though this might not necessarily be the case to any outsider looking in. We need to let people know it is OK to reach out and ask for help.
Becoming a trainer originally was to teach others. Teaching them they can achieve whatever they set out to achieve, that they CAN do it. It isn't always about looking good, it is about feeling confident and in control of your body and mind. To stress less, to relax and enjoy life instead of being stressed about diet, weight etc. Exercise releases great endorphins that will help you feel better, sleep better and can help you adapt to any struggles that little bit easier. Everything is connected.
So I got an email from the great people at the Inspire Foundation. They are doing a Healthy Minds challenge, you can pick anything you like to challenge yourself to raise funds & awareness, I am mixing my love of exercise and helping charities by doing the 9km Blackmores Bridge run. Thanks to my great friend Michelle Arnold for donating it to me! I may not complete the run in Michelle times but I will give it an awesome GO! I am pumped, have gotten an email back from my physio with the all clear (and strict rehab regime to follow until them) for my knee issue!!! Yippee. So my link is below, please dig deep into your pockets donate a little happiness to others. And if you are doing the bridge run and see me (will try get an Inspire shirt) please make sure I am still running!! Cheers.
Support my fundraising page http://www.everydayhero.com.au/donna_martin_5