Kathryn doesn’t own a kindle: Kathryn doesn’t want a kindle. My old kindle has been given to my sister Tracy who is putting it to very good use. Whilst Kathryn can now gift me kindle books, she refuses to plus she thinks if she is going to buy me a book, it will be her choice and not something from my ever growing list. I do like most of her choices and if she has read something and given it a glowing review, I will borrow it from her. This year I have read three of her books.
She was particularly enthusiastic about Jog On by Bella Mackie; a book she said she was going to make all her friends read so they could see the benefits of running particularly with mental health. Having been spurred on to up my exercise in January by taking on the RedJanuary challenge, which encourages to support your mental health and exercise every day throughout January (January is a dreary day for most people so having a plan to do something every day gets you out of bed and really does make you feel better), I wanted to read this book. As soon as Kathryn closed the cover on her book, I asked if I could borrow it.
The author had spent most of her life battling with anxiety and depression. She was known as the sad kid at school. Finding herself alone after a very short marriage, Bella literally picked herself off the floor and dragged herself outside and started running. Her first run was slow, in the dark and lasted a few minutes. Overtime, she was able to do little more. It wasn’t an easy task for Bella; she explains her fears of public places and public transport. Eventually, through running or “jogging”, she was able to face these fears. She was able to experience the city she lived in but hadn’t noticed before. She was also able to take a tube and fly in a plane without having a panic attack.
I normally read a book in a week; this took me two weeks. There is a lot of details about different anxieties and depression. We can all think that we are depressed sometimes when we have a difficult week or anxious when we have to do something new but Bella explains how much more a person with anxiety issues will worry about little things.
I did find this a fascinating read. Bella picked up her running using one of the couch25k podcasts. I started running with this and at the age of 47, I went from someone who couldn’t run for a bus to someone that could run for 30 minutes with out stopping. I had recently lost my younger brother who had been diagonised with schizophrenia in his 20s. As I faced each weekly challenge, I thought of him, imagining that if he had taken up running or any exercise, maybe he would have reached 50 or older. A few years later, my mum died. At the age of 14, my mum had a nervous breakdown. I don’t believe she ever fully recovered from it. The understanding wasn’t available from family or the medical world. I have a song on my running playlist which we played at her funeral; Show me the Way to Amarillo. Whenever it plays on my run, I imagine my mum is with me.
Bella believes running saved her life and I certainly can see that running or any form of exercise will help your mental health. I know that baking and cooking always makes me feel good. I love eating it too: that’s why I exercise – I can eat cake!
Another book I read on my goodreads list was Happy by Fearne Cotton. Again, this was a proper book given to me by Kathryn. Fearne is a lady I admire. She seems so bubbly but she talks about her battle with depression. In this book, she shares ideas to finding joy in every day. Fearne openly talks about her own battle and how she tries to approach things differently to avoid black days. Again this book took me a long time to read: I actually started reading this in 2018 but put it down before finishing it this year. I think it needs another read sometime.
Finally another book I must mention to do with running is Your Pace or Mine? by Lisa Jackson. This lady has run in a lot of Marathons. She doesn’t run to get her best time; she aims to finish them whilst meeting lots of interesting people on the way. I started reading this to get some inspiration to pick up my running again in 2018. I don’t have any intention of taking part in a marathon but reading this book, Lisa certainly makes you feel you could. She also made me realise that although my running is probably at the same pace as somebody else’s walking pace, I am still a runner.
I love reading and one of the reasons I enjoy it is that I get something out of the books I am reading. I think these three books gave me inspiration and each one had parts I could recognise from my life. I am a big fan of fiction books but am trying to read a non-fiction once a month.