This year, my daughter, aged 10, asked if I would do the ‘Race for Life’ with her and of course, I said yes. It was an opportunity I could not miss! Life passes by quickly, the kids grow up fast and are soon too busy or just don’t want to do “stuff” with mum and dad.
So, as we ran through the finish line and high-fived each other, I took a mental snapshot of that moment: the determination of my girl to run all the way, the smiles we had on the journey to this day, the way we spurred each other on, the pride in her eyes, sharing a great achievement together and for a great cause and of course the love between a mother and daughter. I carefully placed the snapshot in that precious treasure chest we call memory and I will cherish it forever.
I thought about how this type of event links in beautifully with our mental and physical well-being. A few years ago, some clever folk came up with a set of scientific evidence-based actions which promote public well-being. It’s called 5 ways to wellbeing
To be honest, its a nod to Eastern or Ancient wisdoms and healthcare. Its pretty obvious now that Western Medicine fails spectacularly when it comes to chronic disease and mental health. Thankfully, we can go back to the amazing knowledge passed on through generations of Eastern philosophers and medics. We can modernise and back these up with ecience now to these wisdoms to 5 pillars of Wellbeing.
The Race for Life fulfils all five actions in one magnificent swoop:
- CONNECT with people around you: family, friends, and local community.Apart from connecting with those friends and family that you are participating with, you also get a real sense of being part of a local community and a greater purpose. We humans are wired for social connection, even introverts!
- BE ACTIVE. Whether you walk, jog or run doesn’t matter. Just being outside in nature and moving is a therapy all on its own.
- TAKE NOTICE of your surroundings and the beauty around you. As you walk or jog through the local park, you appreciate where you live and how lucky you are to be here. Mindfulness is all the rage now and yet here it is. So simple, just noticing your environment, or your physical journey, and cultivating gratitude…thats meditation in itself.
- KEEP LEARNING by trying something new and different from normal. Just doing an activity that is not routine is refreshing and invigorating, whether it is a cycle ride or a bungy-jump! Coming up with creative and interesting fundraising activities is certainly a learning process.
- GIVE.Of course, the feeling of doing good is like no other. How rewarding and satisfying to know that everything you have just done will go towards a greater cause and hopefully help others too.
All these activites are enriching for our nervous system. They actually physically change our bodies, change our physiology, change our thought patterns. They rewire our brains. Its the simplest things that fulfill our deepest needs. So while we may think about this kind of activity as a fitness event, its actually so much more. You will benefit in so many more ways than you can imagine
So, MUMS (and dads!): your health and well-being starts now, your children’s interest in you will fade fast and another opportunity may never come along again so don’t wait till next year. Say yes to your child/grandchild even if it’s a request to play footy in the garden, go for a walk in the park, or a cycle ride round the block and then go and enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of those precious times.