Heart Feel Good Challenge

I’m not big on resolutions. For starters, how miserable is the average January?! That special kind of cold rain it has that gets into your bones; and nights that never quite make it into day. It’s no wonder the vows to ditch wine and only eat pulses dissolve into a guilt-ridden Twix by the middle of the month.

So no, resolutions and me are not friends. I am, however, a fan of adding in little things along the way that make my life better (exercise, music, books, chocolate..). So when Heart asked me to take up the #HeartFeelGoodChallenge – taking on a mood-boosting activity inspired by a song that I heard on Heart – I saw it as an opportunity to make a small change that would make me happier this year.

Last summer my 13-year-old daughter had to take part in a fun run at school. I’ve italicised the fun here to represent sarcasm – the 8km slog is ‘fun’ if your plan involves a career in the Marines, she says. As someone who regularly took the short cut during my school cross-country lessons I empathise. But I’m now a runner, and I know it can be feel good once you’ve done enough training. So when Maddie asked me to take her out running, so she could train to be better on her next charity school initiative, I knew that this would be our thing with Heart.

I interviewed a lovely year 11 student recently who told me that listening to upbeat music changes the chemistry of your brain (is it just me, or do they study much cooler stuff at school these days?), so you release more endorphins as you exercise. It’s how you get the buzz after a run, even when lacing up your trainers beforehand was a feat of hellish endurance. Both me and my daughter love music, but with 38 years between us, could we find a playlist that would inspire us both to keep putting one foot in front of the other?

Last weekend I put on Heart, knowing it would give me a bounce in my step, but I knew my daughter would have an opinion. (I call it an opinion, but she’s 13. What I really mean is a withering stare capable of leaving my own thoughts quivering in the dust). Olly Murs was a hit with Maddie years ago on the X Factor, so it was good news when an Olly classic came on (check out my Instagram stories to see how that went!); next, on came Pharrell Williams’s Happy, that just has a running kind of beat (if you run like me); Maddie was less keen on Whitney’s classic I’m Every Woman, claiming to have seen me embarrass myself once at a family party…

I needn’t have worried though. There is plenty on Heart’s playlist to give the feelgood factor to the complete age range of our family, and we set off into the semi-frozen rain with a spring in our step. Well, one of us did. I cajoled my teenager off the sofa and we plugged our ears into Heart. We picked up the pace, and I detected a definite lift to her mood as Beyonce’s Single Ladies kicked in. And by the time we returned home Naughty Boy’s Runnin’ was firmly the theme tune of our running adventure.

I have a feeling that this will be the start of something she and I will do together quite regularly this year. For my part, I love having a companion on my runs, and the mere fact of being able to get my teenager out of the Netflix zone and into fresh air is feel good as a parent. It’s something we can share together, at an age where she is increasingly looking for independence. And I suspect being able to improve her finishing number on the fun slog run will be feel good enough to motivate her to continue.

Everyone needs some feel good in their lives. What ideas do you have for activities inspired by the music that Heart plays? Take the #HeartFeelGoodChallenge and share it on Instagram or Twitter – or even write about what makes you feel good! Visit Heart for some feel good musical inspiration and add some happy to your life!

This is post is in partnership with Heart. All words and imagery are my own, as is the running project set me by my daughter! We’ll be running again tomorrow – look out for us on Instagram #HeartFeelGoodChallenge.