Mental Health Awareness Week: Here's to hiking!
07 May 2021

Mental health has never been more important and over the past year, Vistry Group has taken huge strides in its commitment to the cause. With over 100 trained Mental Health First Aiders, a dedicated Mental Health Committee and Mind as its company charity, Vistry is continually progressing and raising awareness of mental health. The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from 10th ?" 16th May, is nature. Across the country, people will be celebrating the mental health benefits of being around nature in their local community in a range of digital and creative ways. Vistry will be recognising the theme by sharing a series of stories from staff on how they have connected with nature. As we mark the start of the awareness week, we’re catching up with Group PR Photographer and Videographer, Alex Perkins, who lives in Worcestershire and has recently discovered a new hobby ?" hiking! Read his story below. “I’ve always enjoyed being outdoors. I go camping a lot and pre-pandemic I did a lot of travelling too. And as a photographer - whether I’m taking pictures for work or for leisure ?" it often involves being outside. “Like a lot of people, I found during lockdown that I was barely leaving the house all week. I was quite lucky that there were occasions when I was able to get out to do shoots, but compared to ‘normal’ life, I found I was stuck indoors a lot. “This was when I discovered my love of walking and it’s been a bit of a game changer. “Most Saturday mornings, I get up early and go for a hike. Sometimes I go with friends or family, sometimes I go by myself. I just find walking up the hill the best way to take your mind off work and prepare for the weekend. It just starts it off in the right way. “I usually head out around 6:30am, but now I’m missing the sunrises, it may be a little later. I often do hills local to me, such as the Malverns or Bredon, but I’ve also travelled to the Peak District and climbed Bamford Edge and gone to the Derwent Reservoir. “The furthest route I’ve walked recently was 19km and this was from my friend’s house in Pershore and up Bredon Hill and around the nature reserve. “It’s really improved my fitness. When I first started out, it was hard work getting up some of the hills, but now I’m finding them much easier. Don’t get me wrong, some days and some hills are still a struggle, but I’ve definitely noticed a substantial difference! “I’ve now set myself a goal and hope to tackle the three peaks ?" Snowdon, Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike ?" individually over the year. Getting in the regular practice with the local hills will hopefully put me in good stead to take on the challenge! “I honestly think that nature is just the biggest cleanser. It’s something I really believe in. When you’re outdoors, it really helps to take your mind off things. You can just relax and watch the world go by. Things just seem so much simpler and calmer when you’re outside. “I find a good hike is a great way to clear the mind. When I’m walking up a hill, there’s nothing else I’ll be thinking about except putting one foot in front of the other and getting to the top. And when you reach the top its such a good feeling and you get a real sense of achievement. You can also enjoy the view! “I don’t usually take my camera equipment with me now ?" I made that mistake once and won’t be doing that regularly ?" it weighs a ton!! I’ll just stick with my phone snaps. “I travel light. I’ll put on my trail shoes, Kendal mint cake in my bag ?" and I’m away!"

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