So Mental Health Awareness Week is coming to an end and the focus has been on stress. Something we can all understand whether we have other clinically diagnosed issues or not. It’s been a bit close to home for me just at the moment – hence why the blog posts have been a little intermittent of late.
Mind have been focusing on mental health in the workplace – a subject which employers are starting to take on board. Common sense really, even if purely from a financial perspective. Mentally healthy staff will take fewer sick days, be more productive, be less likely to move on quickly and an employer will benefit from a knowledgeable and experienced workforce. I’m generalising of course, but the evidence backs this up.
Here are a few articles if you’re interested in a bit of further reading:
I was having a few chats with people on Bikes and Brains Twitter about how working in cycling can interplay with using the bike as a de-stress device and a way of trying to mitigate the effects of stress/anxiety/depression/delete as appropriate. Is it possible to divide work-bike from non-work bike? How hard is it (or not) to work on your own bike if you’ve spent all day working on other peoples? Do you have structured ways of approaching it to enable you to compartmentalize the activities? Or is it not an issue? Are you a ride leader? Do you separate your work/personal rides or not, change cycling disciplines?
I did trial bringing the bike into my work life to offer rides to a depression/anxiety group I was facilitating but I had reservations as it was very personal to my own mental health and considered it may have been a Venn Diagram Too Far. In the end the interest at the time was low that I was justified in not pursuing it further. I am however looking at creating ‘Bikes and Brains’ rides – something around 30-40 miles perhaps, at conversational pace (definitely not chewing the bars and breathing out of your arse speed!). The idea would be to have a space to chat about things whilst riding which isn’t as potentially anxiety-inducing as talking face-to-face. You wouldn’t, however, feel that you *need* to talk if you didn’t want to. I’m thinking something once a month.
If you’d be interested in something of the sort do drop me a line here or on Twitter. It might have to be a London-based thing to begin with but if you’d be willing to host a Bikes and Brains ride where you are give me a shout. I can coordinate things if necessary, even if I can’t zip around the country hosting them in person (not at the moment anyway!).
In terms of pieces on the blog I’d like to invite contributions not only from riders or those for whom riding is the focus but those working within the bike industry. Work in a bike shop? Frame-builder? Cycling media? Your thoughts on the subject are just as valued. Writing can be presented anonymously if you prefer. The only person who would have an email address and name would be me. I will never pass on your details to anyone else or add you to a mailing list. You can ask me to assign a name to the piece if you would like, add social media links if you wish, but equally you can just use a pseudonym, just a first name, or whatever you prefer.