Mental Health Awareness with Outrun the dark
If you ask a runner why they run, you may get a multitude of different responses including self-improvement, competitive achievement to the overall maintenance of wellness and health. From an outside perspective, people may have a more clear view as to why physical health and wellness improves with a runner in regards to aesthetics; in such that one may see body composition changes, improvement in muscle mass or lean body fat. However, our internal health and wellness are not easy to see with the naked eye. In fact, I will even venture to say that our mental health and wellbeing is probably the most important function we should be taking care of as individuals and athletes. We chat with the owner of Outrun the dark, which is an apparel brand advocating running as a tool in fighting the stigma surrounding anxiety and depression and how running can play an important role.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself: who you are, where you’re from, what you do?
My name is Siggy, I am 30 years old and from a small town in Norway. I love to run, and last year I started Outrun the dark, an apparel brand advocating running for mental health.
When & how did creating Outrun the dark come to light?
Running had helped me while I was going through a tough time in my life, and seeing how little mental health was being talked out in the social media era of ours, I thought it was time for a brand that did.
Outrun the dark started last year in Australia, where I was with my girlfriend who was studying abroad. After wanting to start a business of my own for many years, I quit my corporate job and set aside the rest of the year to give the dream a chance.
You are all about supporting a positive thinking way, in both business venture & self-care and have become a strong advocate for eliminating anxiety and depression. How & why did this passion develop?
I went through a depression when I was younger, which made me realize how fragile the mind can be. I was baffled by how, in such a short time, my negative thoughts about myself had the power to completely change my outlook on life. Aside from it being a humbling experience for me personally, it came with a newfound appreciation and empathy for people around me suffering from any form of mental illness. The shame I felt about my own mental health and seeing a psychiatrist were tools that eventually led me in a positive direction towards the mission of ending the stigma around mental health. I know of no other illness or diseases were simply talking about it can alleviate pain and help others in such a profound way, and that’s why positivity and openness is such a big part of Outrun the dark.
Can you give us details of your business and how you manage work, life, and leisure?
Right now there is me working from Norway, with designers from the US, Europe, and Asia. We have teamed up with two factories in Europe and the United States that make the products closest to where our customers are.
The work-life balance usually goes out the window when you start something, but this being the second time I am part of a startup I made it a point to not work 12+ hour days and weekends to avoid burnout. I am used to corporate life, so I try to work normal hours Monday-Friday and take weekends off. I try to get my workouts done in the morning, but if not, I try to get them in before dinner.
Can you tell us more about your support for Usona Institute?
Currently, according to WHO, the number one cause of disability in the world is depression.
There is only so much we can do as an apparel brand, so in order to make a difference, we also want to support non-profits that are on the frontier of mental health research. With each purchase from Outrun the dark, 10% of our profit goes towards the non-profit Usona Institute.
Usona Institute is working on finding new ways of beating treatment-resistant depression, and that’s why it was natural for us to support them and create awareness around their work. You can read more about their work here at the Usona Institute.
Can you give us a recollection of your most trying part of creating this journey and also your most rewarding?
The most trying part has been staying on course, pouring time and money into something you are not sure is going to work. The most rewarding part has been the support from all corners of the world, thanking us for inspiring them through our apparel and what we stand for!
What are some upcoming company goals?
First off, our goal is to continue to grow both in size and impact within the running community. On the product side of things, we are working on getting more technical running apparel along with running accessories.
We also have an ambassador program coming up, so if you feel like this is something you are passionate about make sure you apply when we open this program!
What advice would you give to someone who would like to be a successful, fit and of good mind like yourself?
Staying in shape both physically and mentally is something I’ve taken very seriously ever since my bout with depression when I was younger. A good way to get in shape is to sign up for a race with a friend. You now have a goal, a training partner and someone that can hold you accountable.
Outside the doctor’s orders of getting enough sleep, eating healthy and exercising regularly, I’ve found that meditation and daily journaling helps relax my worried mind. If you are interested I suggest trying the Headspace app and their free 10 days of 5 minutes, and for journaling I recommend The 5 Minute Journal. (link: https://www.intelligentchange.com/products/the-five-minute-journal)
Meditation has helped me focus better, and the journaling helps me start every day from a place of gratitude. If you can find time to work out, you can find 10 minutes to train the mind you are inside 16 hours a day.
Success to me is doing what you want with your life, and that looks different for everyone. Whether you want to quit your job, travel the world or do yoga, I would advise you to stop waiting.
If you would like to find out more information on Outrun the dark, you can find us on Facebook & Instagram!