Mental Health Awareness Week 2022: Escaping traffic fumes and cherishing smiles on my way to work | #TeamBartsHealth blogs

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Mental Health Awareness Week 2022: Escaping traffic fumes and cherishing smiles on my way to work

Catherine Le-Mar blog picture
  • Matron in children and young people’s services at Newham Hospital Catherine Le-Mar shares her experience of switching from driving to cycling and the boost its had to her wellbeing
  • Taking in the nature around her and human interaction has been the two biggest benefits for Catherine
  • Find out the active travel options available to you at Barts Health after reading this blog!

Since first becoming a student nurse and then qualifying many years ago I’ve always been able to travel to work on my feet either via two wheels or public transport.

18 months ago, I changed my job and due to the location of the hospital I purchased a car and joined the world of commuting around the M25 or north circular. My first thoughts were that this would be a dream; listening to the radio, no late trains and not turning up to work drenched from rain.

I was very wrong about this as in fact there turned out to be very few positives and I quickly became disillusioned with the process of sitting in traffic fumes for hours; even getting out of the Trust car park was a nightmare.

When I joined Newham Hospital I sold the car and saw the Brompton cycle hire scheme, joining up immediately.

I now mainly cycle from home to the train station and then along the Greenway each morning. Delayed trains aren’t even an issue any more, not because they never happen as they obviously do but instead of relentless traffic jams I’ve now got Stratford shopping centre to go through!

My mental health and overall well-being is so much better and I cherish the faces I now see running, cycling and walking in the opposite direction.

Today I noticed that everyone is smiling just like me, probably because there were no cancelled trains and instead of rain and winter darkness we were blessed with warm spring sunshine and the beautiful blossoming cherry trees.

Catherine Le-Mar is a matron in children and young people’s services at the Rainbow Centre at Newham Hospital.

Read more: 

  • Read about the active travel options available to you at Barts Health here.

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