Q&A with our PMO lead on the importance of mental health and fitness

Our PMO Consultant gives us some insight into mental health and fitness.

Our PMO Consultant gives us some insight into mental health and fitness.

What inspired you to become interested in mental health and fitness?

I became interested in mental health due to my own struggles; I have always tried to hide away from any mental battles, however, in recent years I decided to take my mental health seriously by working with professionals to understand the causes and learning how to manage my mental health. Once I started being honest with myself and started to open up to others, I realised I wasn’t alone, which is why I think it is such an imperative thing to be discussed and for awareness to constantly be raised.

I have always had an interest in fitness growing up, I first enrolled in a gym with my parents when I was 14 and continued to channel that interest until I manage to see a correlation between my mental state and my fitness levels; in short, the more I run, the better I feel! It’s also a great way of socialising, I regularly partake in races with my friends and then take great pleasure in going for a nice meal after.

How do you maintain your own mental health and fitness?

I maintain my own mental health and fitness with a routine, I wake up early each morning and give myself some time without distractions to prepare myself for the day and then I will take myself either for a walk, to the gym or have a run. This was a struggle at first so I started setting my alarm 5 minutes earlier and having my gym kit ready and waiting, over time this has progressed into a habit that I love; this is my time that is completely uninterrupted and I am fully in control.

What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with their mental health but wants to get started with fitness?

One step at a time, we live in a world surrounded by social media that is portraying fabricated displays of managing health and fitness, and this can be extremely overwhelming and actually have the opposite effect and act as a detriment to their mental health! Set yourself SMART goals, once you achieve those goals you will be filled with a sense of pride and you will feel the endorphins release, and this, for me, is one of the best feelings in the world.

What are some common misconceptions about mental health and fitness?

That you have to strive for perfection and you have to be constantly happy. You don’t have to run a marathon to be passionate about fitness and you don’t have to be happy all the time, changes in emotions are natural as long as you are self-aware to understand what your emotions mean.

What are the impacts of remote working on mental health?

I personally find remote working very hard with mental health, I live alone so it can become quite isolated and lonely however, this can really push you to start building connections with people inside of work. I am really fortunate to have always worked within a team that looks after each other, having regular check-ins to chat about non-work related topics has really benefitted me.

I have also felt that having to push myself to speak to people from a remote working basis, has in turn helped with developing my confidence as I used to be petrified of teams calls, but now it is finally the norm for me!

Is there anything that you like about working with your client in regard to mental health initiatives that they run?

My current client allows me to work in a hybrid way, so this allows me to work in the office with my team but also to be able to work from home on the days that I really need to get my head down. The client has also introduced a ‘Thursday Lunchtime Walk’ to enable people to take a break from their desks and have a change of scenery whilst also incorporating an element of fitness.