Jog On by Bella Mackie #bookreview

As you’ll have guessed, today’s review is for something completely different to my normal reviews. For starters it’s not crime or chick-lit … and secondly, it’s not fiction!

This book is well out of my comfort zone but after a couple of years of what I can only describe as a mental and emotional rollercoaster and the past six months of I don’t know what, this book screamed at me to be read even before I downloaded it. It’s rare that I purchase a book and read it quite so quickly but I only bought this last weekend …

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.

What Did I Think?

I’ll admit, I tried running many years ago; my other half is a runner but I decided it wasn’t for me. Not in the great outdoors on the pavement. I don’t mind it on a treadmill but I’m not a natural runner. I’m more a Joe Wicks/Ministry of Sound/Davina/Nell McAndrew workout routine advocate. I envy anyone who can and does love running. I suppose this is part of the reason why I was attracted to reading Jog On. I don’t deny exercise is good for your mental health and I wanted to know more about how running saved Bella Mackie’s life. But this book was so much more than a woman discovering a love for running. So so much more.

The chapters are entitled like markers on a run “1K”, “2K” etc. By the end of “3K”, I wanted to wrap Bella up and tell her everything would be ok. I know it wouldn’t help her but her story is so raw and heartbreaking. The anecdotal narrative is brilliantly written and seamlessly blending in the factual research that’s relevant to the personal point Mackie was making worked so so well.

I felt the parts of the book talking about mental health issues in general was well researched and put into a simple understandable language. It helped me realise how different and yet similar disorders can be. The different coping mechanisms both Mackie and those who contributed anecdotally were. I will definitely be trying bagpipe music when I feel the urge to either resign or virtually kill a work colleague. Yes you read that right, it’s not a totally serious hard read, some of the accounts shared did bring a smile to my face.

At the end of the book, Mackie has supplied a multitude of web links, resources and references for further reading and additional support both for running and for mental health. I will be investigating a number of the websites and books over the coming weeks and months. Mackie knows what she’s talking about from a non-medical point of view and openly admits everyone is different so I’m going to find out more for my own mental health.

I’ll admit, the past few years have been mentally tough for me, with a serious health problem, the heightened stresses of work, the insecurity I’ve felt around my position at work and not to mention the pressure of lockdown, both as a parent and as a worker. This book has given me serious food for thought about my own mental state and how I deal with the stuff life throws at me. It’s a real eye opener and thought provoking read. I applaud Bella Mackie for such an open and honest account of her journey.

Who Is Bella Mackie?

Bella Mackie has written for the Guardian, Vogue and Vice. This is her first book.

7 thoughts on “Jog On by Bella Mackie #bookreview

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