We’re walking 300 miles to raise £300, in aid of a charity that we really believe in: Mind.
It’s long accepted that walking is hugely beneficial for the mind, both in terms of creativity and mental health. A good walk in the open air has been linked with improvements in mood, energy, sleep quality and self-esteem. Although it’s well known, this is a fact that many of us stumbled across by happy accident during the first Covid-19 lockdown back in 2020, when suddenly, thousands of us began exploring the footpaths and byways around our homes. And a ‘happy’ accident it was, as this newfound love of walking came at a time of immense stress and change, when a lot of people probably needed it the most.
During winter, when the days are short, light is low, and the weather is often pretty poor, it can feel like a huge effort to get outside. Conversely, this is just the time when we know we ought to do it, and when the mental health benefits can be most keenly felt. Anyone who’s spent their allotted ten days in self-isolation will know the real joy of stepping foot back outside the garden gate. That’s why we’ve chosen to take on a walking challenge now, and not later in the year: we’re tackling February, the last grit-your-teeth, is-it-over-yet winter month, head on.
The creative benefits are also well proven, with historic fans including writers Daphne du Maurier, William Wordsworth and Charles Dickens, as well as the artists Edvard Munch, Van Gogh and Guido van der Werve. This isn’t just personal preference; if you’re interested, there’s actually a science behind it (just take a look at this study by Stanford researchers). With our studio and most of the team based in Cornwall, we’re also very lucky to be able to walk within a naturally inspiring landscape, where a slower pace provides abundant opportunities to notice and contemplate small details that might otherwise be missed.
While reaping the benefits that walking will have for us as a team, we’re also keen to complete the positive circle by taking the chance to raise money for Mind. This will help to provide much-needed support for those facing a mental health problem. And with one in four of us facing this situation each year, it’s not a minority of ‘others’ struggling with mental health: it’s me, and it’s you.
To donate to our fundraiser, visit our JustGiving page. Or you can check in with our progress throughout February, over on Instagram @nixondesign.
Edit: our fundraiser is now over, but if you’d still like to support Mind, you can donate via the charity’s website at any time.