When it comes to the New Year we all start off with the best intentions of going to the gym, cutting back on junk food and being more active, but in reality, most of us go back to old, familiar habits within a couple of weeks. January can often feel a bit flat after the hustle and bustle of Christmas and we find it difficult to motivate ourselves during the cold, winter months which in turn, can lead to a decline in our mental health.

As a mental health charity, we’re constantly looking for different ways to improve the health and wellbeing of our community, which is why we’re delighted to be involved again with RED January! It’s such a positive way to start the new year by getting active and also if you choose to, raise funds for Tyneside and Northumberland Mind along the way.

RED January (which stands for Run Every Day) was dreamed up by Hannah Beecham in 2016 after she saw how the positive effects of regular exercise helped her mother recover from severe depression. A regular exerciser herself, she and her mother signed up to do a walking marathon and by leaving the house each day to train, her mother started to notice a change in her mood, raised energy levels and after a while, her symptoms gradually decreased. The physical act of exercising along with the sense of achievement from setting a goal and sticking to it helped to transform her mother’s mental health.

Noticing the boost that exercise gave, Hannah began to look into other schemes available to people like her mother, but unfortunately noticed a distinct lack of activities. This is when she came up with the idea of RED January, a community initiative to help people support their mental health by adding exercise into their daily lives.

Last year, we were overwhelmed with the success of the campaign and are thrilled to be part of it once again. Research shows the positive impact that exercise can have on mental health and we also have a private Facebook group where participants can go for exercise ideas, burning questions and to find motivation on those days when you’d much rather stay in bed! It’s a fantastic, online community of like-minded individuals who just want to be more active and support others with the same goal.

While fundraising isn’t necessary to take part, if you’d like to register to become a fundraiser click on this link: which will take you to our dedicated homepage. From there you’ll be able to download a guide and will also have the opportunity to buy an exclusive RED January 2020 t-shirt (with a handy calendar on the back that you can check off as you go through the month) and/or a sports snood to keep you warm on those early morning escapades. There is no minimum age to join in but under 16’s should get permission from a parent or a guardian. There are also no limits on what activity you do. It doesn’t have to be running, (because let’s face it, not everyone enjoys pounding the pavement), you can go walking, cycling, swimming, do yoga, weightlifting, whatever activity you enjoy that will get you up and moving. Some of our participants last year even went roller-skating!

Exercising can have so many benefits for both your mental and physical health but it is important not to go past your limits. While the aim of the movement is to be active for 31 days, this doesn’t mean you have to go for a 10-mile hike every day! Recovery is just as necessary as action so a gentle walk or a leisurely swim can help you keep moving while giving your body a short and well-needed break.

We are genuinely excited for this coming January as we all loved taking part in RED January 2019. The camaraderie and positive attitudes of all those taking part, made those days when it was just a bit harder to get going a little easier.

Did you know, it only takes 30 days to create a habit? If you decide to get involved with RED January think about what that could mean for the next 335. The possibilities are endless!

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Registered office: Tyneside Mind, Wellbeing Centre, Dunsmuir Grove, Bensham, Gatheshead NE8 4QL. Company Number: 7552434. Charity Number: 1140856.