BOOK REVIEW: BELLA MACKIE – JOG ON

Happy 2019! Welcome to my first blog post of the year and it’s a good one to kick this year off! Today, I’m talking about the brilliant Jog On by Bella Mackie!

With a New Year, there is always those questions we ask ourselves: what do we want to achieve? What are our goals for the next year? Should I sign up to a gym? Where’s my running shoes? Do I even need to make goals for myself? You get the idea… every new year, we are always asking those questions and trying to create some new resolutions. For some, it works wonders and for others not so much. I’m still trying to figure out where I stand in terms of new year’s resolutions, to be honest. On one hand, I think a new year is a new start. It’s a chance to step back, take stock and have a think about my life. Some years I write down some resolutions and goals but end up forgetting about them come the second week of January. Sometimes (very rarely) I write them down and stick to them. I think writing them down makes them more concrete and it pushes me to focus on them, anyway. Especially writing them down on paper. But, on the other hand, I hate new year and everything that comes with it. Resolutions? No, thanks. But this year, I am trying to motivate myself to stick to my goals and resolutions. Occasionally something like this terrifies me but I’m not going to focus on that, I’m going to focus on the excitement of a new year and what that might bring.

One of the main resolutions for people is fitness and exercise; especially after all the indulgence at Christmas. It’s a chance to dust off your running shoes, retrieve the blender from the upstairs cupboard and absorb everything that has to do with fitness and health. New diet books? Yes, please! Cheaper gym memberships? Sign me up! I also think running is a big thing people start in the start of a new year and it’s something I’m toying with myself as the idea of a gym terrifies me. Which is where this book, Jog On, by Bella Mackie, comes into play. So, what’s the book about? Here’s the blurb:

Divorced and struggling with deep-rooted mental health problems, Bella Mackie ended her twenties in tears. She could barely find the strength to get off the sofa, let alone piece her life back together. Until one day she did something she had never done of her own free will – she pulled on a pair of trainers and went for a run.

That first attempt didn’t last very long. But to her surprise, she was back out there the next day. And the day after that. She began to set herself achievable goals – to run 5k in under 30 minutes, to walk to work every day for a week, to attempt 10 push-ups in a row. Before she knew it, her mood was lifting for the first time in years.

In Jog On, Bella explains with hilarious and unfiltered honesty how she used running to battle crippling anxiety and depression, without having to sacrifice her main loves: booze, cigarettes and ice cream. With the help of a supporting cast of doctors, psychologists, sportspeople and friends, she shares a wealth of inspirational stories, research and tips that show how exercise often can be the best medicine. This funny, moving and motivational book will encourage you to say ‘jog on’ to your problems and get your life back on track – no matter how small those first steps may be.

There are lot of books like this in terms of running, Bryony Gordon being one example. As a person who hates sport, the thought of running, I thought I wouldn’t enjoy this book and not take anything from it. But honestly, this book has awaken something inside of me, it’s motivated me, and it’s made me look at running in a whole new light. I’ve been following Bella on Twitter for a long while and been reading her articles and loved her writing and tone of voice so I was extremely excited to see she had a book coming out and even more excited when a proof landed through my letterbox. Her writing is brilliant. It’s so fresh, funny, witty and hilarious that keeps you turning the page. She makes running exciting, even for me. This book is also moving and brutally honest, it’s about being sure of yourself and piecing your life back together, piece by piece.

But this book isn’t just about running. This book is mostly about mental health and Bella writes about it in such a honest, real and engaging way. This isn’t a lecture, this is the way that mental health should be talked about. I loved the way that she wrote about her own mental health and thought it was brilliantly written and there are also a lot of statistics and made me learn a lot about mental health and made me think about my own mental health. There are so many pages that I have folded because the writing was so honest and true that I can go back and read them again and again, for that extra motivation. There are also interviews with people about their own mental health which adds another layer to this book and some stories are incredibly moving but also incredibly important.

I’d been pulled through a crisis by those who loved me, because I couldn’t get through it alone. But I hadn’t been able to help myself at all. I was tentatively on the other side, but there was no relief to be found there either. I was twenty, with no further education or job. I was more fearful than ever. I wondered if I’d ever truly break free from my worried mind, but it didn’t seem likely. Life seemed to have stopped before I’d had a chance to really give it a proper go.

This book has left me with a lot to think about. In a good way, of course. It’s made me step back and think about my own mental health and what I can do to help it in the long-term. It’s also made me look at running in a completely new light. This book isn’t about how to run a marathon, it’s how you can get back up and do what you want to do. Run around the block, run around your village, your garden, or even the marathon. But it’s mostly about taking stock, getting yourself back together and taking small steps. It’s about telling your problems: jog on. I’m good enough. And I can’t think of anything better than that, can you? Now, where are my running trainers?

Have you read Jog On? What did you think? What are your New Year’s resolutions? Let me know in the comments!

Corey.

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