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Exercise and my mental health

Oct 04th 2019
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To support my own mental health I turn to some form of exercise. It doesn’t always have to be the bike. It can be a 5km run, a trip to the gym or something. It just blows off some steam and helps clear my head. I can look very fidgety at times because I can’t really sit still and do nothing. That’s when my mind starts to wander and develop into feeling low.   If I can’t manage to get out and do something that involves a type of exercise then I will try and visit friends, arrange to meet someone for coffee or even a catch up phone call with someone. I am one of these people who particularly doesn’t deal well with being on my own. I can seem very fidgety and restless if I have nothing to do or nobody to socialise with.   It’s massively important to take care of your mental health. What people see of you from the outside and on social media never really paints a true picture of what might be going on. If you don’t or can’t identify that you need some help from time to time, others may not notice either and this is when things can close in around you.   Positive mental health definitely has benefited in my training and racing but sometimes, especially as a cyclist, when we push ourselves to our limits, sometimes a negative thought or memory has been the thing that has pushed me through. It’s ironic as to try not think or feel the pain I’m going through on the bike, a painful or sad memory will pop in my head like I’m on autopilot and I know the pain I’m currently in isn’t as bad as what I have experienced.   If you would like to learn more about how you can support your own mental health, visit ww.jigsawonline.ie The funds raised from Revolution X Jigsaw go directly to support the ongoing development of www.jigsawonline.ie

What One Good Adult means to me…

Sep 20th 2019
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Why do you feel youth mental health is important? I think youth mental health is so important because young people have their whole lives ahead of them. They soak up everything they see and hear on a daily basis like a sponge. While these are very important ways of learning it also makes young people extremely vulnerable to the world around them. All of a sudden with no warning everything can become overwhelming and young people need a safe place to turn to. That’s why I feel it’s important for our young people to have places like Jigsaw to be able to speak to someone and be listened to. When you were younger did you have a supportive adult in your life? What difference did they make? A supportive adult in my life when I was younger and to this day is my godmother/ aunt. It’s often said that I don’t listen to anyone and would just nod and agree and then go ahead and do my own thing anyway. People close to me joke though that she is in fact the only person in this world I will truly listen to and who’s advice I would follow. As much as I probably don’t admit at the time but it’s true. No matter what good or bad things I have gone through in my life, she has always been there without judgement or opinion. Just there for me no matter what and the best part is she will text me good morning and goodnight every single day without fail. I would be lost without her. Have you had a ‘One Good Adult’ moment since captaining a Revolution team? Tell us about it. It’s hard to think If I have had a definite ‘One Good Adult’ moment so far since Revolution X Jigsaw began. I guess there were one or two moments while on the Haute Route that I saw people needed a little encouragement. I thought it was the right thing to do and returning the favour for the people who had been equally as encouraging to me when I needed. One particular man was having a difficult time and didn’t think he would finish this particular stage. We stuck together for a long time and I told him we would cross the line together. I asked him what’s the first thing he would do when we were finished and he told me he would ring his son and tell him that he completed the toughest day of his life. He said that his son was what he was thinking about most and I went onto say how I was thinking of my own daughter. We looked at one another for a moment and didn’t say a word and just cycled alongside one another. I hope our brief exchange was enough of a distraction and that he appreciated it.

How I set my goals…

Sep 06th 2019
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I haven’t always set goals in my life, I was very much “take each day as it comes and see what happens”. In the last couple of years however, goal setting has been massively important to me. I find that I can have a very overactive mind and I need something in the distance to aim for. I remember on my road to recovery a few years ago, when I was starting to take care of my body a bit more to encourage a healthy mind, I signed up for a triathlon. I had never done anything remotely close to something like this before and I had given myself 5 months to train for it. The event came around and I smashed it. It was a huge goal for me and I was over the moon to have completed it.  But if I haven’t achieved a goal, it’s not the end of the world. We must fail before we succeed. For Revolution my big goal was to complete the Haute Route Challenge (for more info on my Haute Route Challenge, check out my challenge Facebook Page) . I had it broken it down to make it feel as simple as it can get. Breaking it down always keeps me far more enthusiastic and energised for my main goals, and we shouldn’t be afraid to give ourselves credit for reaching small milestones. 

Hi, I’m Gary and my journey starts here…

Aug 19th 2019
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Hi, I am Gary and I’m a proud Meath man from Navan.  I first got involved with jigsaw a couple of years ago. I had spotted the Facebook ad about the Giro D’Jigsaw and knew it was something that I would interested in taking part in. Up to that point I had never heard of what Jigsaw did and wasn’t aware there was a specific service to cater for our young people’s mental health.   My experience has been incredible. It’s quite difficult to describe but anyone who I have spoken to within Jigsaw, I feel I could call a close friend now. Everyone is so open and welcoming. They are so grateful to anyone who is willing to take their own time to help in any way they can, either by fundraising or just raising awareness. I knew after I took part in my first Giro that it was a place I wanted to remain connected with and I have a close bond to.    I think people should get involved with Revolution x Jigsaw for several reasons. First and foremost, you are doing a great thing by spreading awareness and also raising some funds for youth mental health. Secondly, Revolution x Jigsaw takes away the usual stress and hassle of charity fundraising and taking part in a stereotypical event. You can do this yourself on your terms in your own time. It’s that simple. You want to go out for a 15km spin, no problem. Do it, upload it on strava and it’s that simple.     I know how hard it can be to commit to doing a challenge, especially something like Revolution, but overcoming the first step is that little voice in your head creating doubt. You never know what your body is capable of until you try and if you don’t try you will never know. This challenge is also as much mental as it is physical so it brings you right into the very cause you are supporting in the first place. When I took part in my very first Giro, sign on morning came around and I noticed I was down to be in the faster group. I would have at the time considered myself a fit and strong cyclist and knew I could hold the pace for a day anyway but the idea of a 3-day cycle holding a high average speed frightened the life out of me. Guess what, I did it…!     As the great Eddy Merchx said, “Ride as much or as little, or as long or as short as you feel. But ride” Come on, lets roll, join my team and take my challenge! Gary

For all the latest, from Gary’s journey, visit...

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