It is fair to say that like so many people in this past year, being faced with the monotony of living and working within the same four walls for the vast majority of my time has had an impact on my mental health and emotional wellbeing. Added into this the stresses of working remotely away from colleagues and the weirdness of ‘Zoom fatigue’ (which until last year I would have thought meant eating too many rocket shaped ice lollies) and I am desperately looking round for something to give an escape from the glare of screens, large and small, the overflowing to-do list and the doom laden sense of ‘what’s going to happen next…?’.

I guess that I am lucky in that I had a ready-made outlet in the form of exercise. This has long been my escape route, both psychologically and physiologically, from feeling overwhelmed and a way of reliving some of the stress. But I have never better understood how lucky I am not only to be able to exercise freely but to do so in a place where I can see trees, hills and….sheep. The act of running and cycling has, I know, kept me more-a-less upright during the days, weeks and months when we have had to restrict what we do and where we can go.

I have run pretty much every day, straight after I finish working regardless of the weather or how dark it is and if I can get out on my bike to go a little further afield at the weekend I do. It is important to me if only to see something different and to allow my mind and body to ‘reset’. Seeing other people do the same and also gain pleasure/relief/escape has made it a shared experience and bears a reminder that we are intended to be ‘free range’ but that never more have we been made to feel like ‘battery humans’.