No matter where you are in the country you can get out on your bike and go from a built-up area to a green space in a very short time. Even if you live in a big city like London there are beautiful parks within a short ride. Lockdown was a really difficult time for many, but I know from my own experience that being able to visit local green spaces was so important for my mental health and I am sure this was the same for many others.
From as early as I can remember I experienced symptoms of what I know now was anxiety. I hated being the centre of attention at school, especially when we had to read out loud in front of the class. Another huge trigger for me was waiting in queues going to meetings or appointments, traveling long distances or just going somewhere different. It all became so bad that at one point I just about stopped going out completely.
Over the years I tried different exposure therapies including CBT, I went on medication then off again. My lowest time was when I suffered a complete breakdown. So what changed things for me? Well, I guess the biggest thing was taking up a hobby. Through mountain biking, I’ve found a new lease on life. Being outside in the fresh air and beautiful countryside has helped both my mental and physical health. I started TotalMTB to encourage others to get outside and feel the benefits as well. Through TotalMTB, I am not just leading a healthier way of life but have found some awesome friends that are extremely supportive of my anxiety. We do a lot of charity work, not only raising awareness but also raising money for mental health.
I now talk openly about my mental health. By speaking out and sharing my story and experiences, I am hopefully letting others know, it is okay to talk about not being okay. I try to reach those who are going through what I did and feel they are alone in their battle. The main lessons I have learned are, prevention and planning can really help reduce anxiety and being in nature is a natural therapy to lift my mood.
The sound of birds, the wind in the trees, breathing in the fresh air all help to switch off the stresses of life. Putting away your phone and ignoring social media is also important, It gives us a break away from things even for a short while. If you can find a place to sit, watch and listen it’s so peaceful and relaxing. You notice things around you that you would normally take for granted. Nature is a beautiful thing and clears your mind. If you are lucky enough to be out on a sunny day, this too will help produce feel-good hormones and provide vitamin D
So even if it’s for a short time, get out there. Surround yourself with nature and notice how much better you feel.
Ryan #TotalMTB Founder @RazOldfield
If you would like to find out more about Ryan and MTB, you can take a look at the website here…… https://www.totalmtb.co.uk/