I HIT a rather large wall a few months ago. Mentally speaking, I was not in the best of health and knew I had to do something about it.

Life was pretty awful for us in places last year and there really is only so much your brain can cope with before it starts to struggle.

Over the summer, we were pelted with bad news after bad news and suffered a trio of losses within a few weeks of each other.

It was tough on the whole family and, when you are going through something like that, it feels relentless.

Thankfully things have calmed down now, but the trauma and sadness does eventually catch up with you.

One minute I thought I was perfectly fine and coping relatively well with it all, the next I realised I really was not.

I kept telling myself how fortunate we are in so many other ways and how there are always those in far worse situations.

You have to get up, dust yourself off and get on with it, right?

Some people absolutely can do that, we are all built differently.

But it is important to give time and space to feelings you might be suppressing.

You never know how they might manifest if you leave them unattended for too long.

So, after several weeks of feeling like I could easily stay under the duvet for the whole of winter, and thanks to some gentle prodding from my husband, I realised I had to find a way to feel better.

That in itself can feel like an impossible task.

I have given many friends advice in the past when they are finding life tough, but somehow it is easier dishing it out than acting upon it yourself.

It took me a while to find it in me to accept how I was feeling was not normal for me and I needed to do something.

Usually I am a big fan of talking therapies and have had counselling a few times over the years.

On this occasion though, I wondered if there might be another way as sometimes you have to wait a while to see a therapist.

Then someone suggested regular exercise to me.

It is no secret keeping active is key when it comes to a healthy body, but of course it is also a valuable tool when it comes to a healthy mind.

This is not exactly a dream scenario for me, as regular readers will know, I am a complete flake when it comes to exercise.

To get off my backside and make a start was a feat in itself.

I loathe the gym and have no self-motivation when it comes to staying and doing a full workout.

Running is just out of the question since having a child.

I will leave that one there, you do not need all the information on that particular issue.

Finally, I bit the bullet and joined a place up the road from me that runs back-to-back exercise classes.

No names mentioned, no commission here, but they do everything from chilled out meditation and yoga to hard hitting, techno-pumping, sweat pouring cardio and weight-based sessions.

It was so hard at first to find the energy and motivation to actually go and do it.

But once I started paying for it on a monthly basis, that turned out to be all the motivation I needed.

Since early November I have been going most days, doing a variety of classes, squeezing them in around work and family life.

It is not always easy, but do you know what? It has made a huge difference to my state of mind.

I have more energy, I feel stronger mentally and even physically and I definitely have most of my old sparkle back.

There really is something truly magical about those endorphins surging around your body.

What I do not want to be though, is a gym bore and so far have resisted the urge to post my new found tolerance of exercise all over my social media accounts.

But maybe I should. Not to brag about how many calories I have burned, but to remind people how much it can help refocus your mind.

A friend, who works as a personal trainer, has since told me about Red January, an initiative and online community encouraging people to get active every day to support their mental health.

Obviously, staying active beyond January would probably be a good idea too, but it is a great place to start.

It is definitely worth a look if you are worried about your own mental health and are wondering how to make a change.

Take a deep breath and give it a go, one small step at a time.

I promise it will help.