Hannah Beecham, Founder of RED January, shares her thoughts on movement for mental health and why having something to look forward to right now is so helpful
It’s not often that people say they are looking forward to the month of January. It’s one of the coldest, darkest months, and can feel a little bleak after the glitter and excess that a typical Christmas may bring. However, as we reach the end of a globally challenging year, we all know that this Christmas will be far from normal, and most of us will be very happy to see 2020 in the rear view mirror.
We believe that RED January is the perfect way to welcome 2021 with open arms, which is why we’ve jumped at the chance to work with Founder Hannah Beecham, to spread the word about this wonderful initiative. Hannah shared her thoughts about the reasons to sign up for RED on our podcast I am. I have.
Hannah Beecham is the Founder of RED January, a nationwide movement to help people move every day in January, with the aim of beating the blues away and starting positive habits for the rest of the year.
The community is incredibly special and supportive and they always motivate each other
Established in 2016, RED January was inspired by Hannah’s Mum, and a walking challenge Hannah had signed the two of them up to the previous year in a bid to help her, as she was in the middle of a depressive period. Hannah saw the positive impact the challenge had, as well as the mood-boosting experience of getting outside together and quite literally putting one foot in front of the other, one day at a time.
Now, thousands of people take part in RED January every year. “The community is incredibly special and supportive and they always motivate each other,” Hannah explains.
“For us all, January is very much the starting point. The key aim is to start building movement into your life that supports you throughout January and beyond.”
RED has a very special place in Hannah’s heart and she’s hugely passionate about the initiative. “I very much feel a part of the RED community and I’m on a journey too. This year especially, I feel so grateful that we have something to look forward to and that we’re all coming together, united through a common goal.”
About RED January
Now coming up to its fifth year, RED January encourages people to get active every day of the month by choosing an activity that makes them feel good – physically and mentally. The challenge has the added optional bonus of doing good, by fundraising for an incredible mental health charity, and this year it’s Sport in Mind. There’s a huge supportive online community of RED’ers, and motivational support along the way, too.
And if you need further persuading to sign up, there’s evidence that taking part really is good for you! An Oxford University-led study of RED participants in 2019 revealed that:
- More than 50% of RED’ers experienced less stress and reduced signs of depressive symptoms as a result of taking part
- 32% moved from being inactive to fairly active
- 54% those taking part moved from being fairly active to active.
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