Moments for Movement; Mental Health Awareness Week

Today marks the start of Mental Health Awareness week and as a company that feels passionately about supporting the mental health of both our learners and colleagues, we couldn’t let the occasion go unmarked. This year, the theme is ‘Movement’, with the acknowledgement that regular movement is one of the most powerful tools we have to look after our mental health. The Mental Health Foundation explains…

Our bodies and our minds are connected, so looking after ourselves physically also helps us prevent problems with our mental health. Exercise releases “feel good” hormones, that reduce feelings of stress and anger. It also helps us feel better about our bodies. It can improve our sleep too. If it involves other people, like being part of a team, a class or group we see regularly, that can also boost our mental health.

The Mental Health Foundation

However, many of us can attest to the truth which is that when we’re struggling with our mental health, sometimes movement is the last thing we can bring ourselves to do. So we thought we’d look at three ways to incorporate movement into our daily lives so that we can try to grasp onto some moments of activity that will help boost our mental health

Ditch the car

Whilst driving is often the only option for getting to the shops, transporting our kids around, going to work…etc, for many of us, there probably are some journeys that we could be making on foot or by bike. Driving can seem like the most convenient option, particularly if we’re in a rush – but perhaps think about swapping out a journey or two each week to one that you can make without the car. Is there a shop 15 minutes walk away? Could you do the school run on bikes? Would it be possible to walk to work if you took a bit of extra time? Why not be mindful of when you choose to drive when you might not need to? It’s a two-birds-one-stone situation here as not only will you get the opportunity to move your body a little bit, you’re also saving the environment a little bit as you put just a bit less carbon into the atmosphere.

Kitchen disco

Ok, we know, we know – not everyone likes to dance! But this one really is about having fun with your movement. Whether that’s dancing in the kitchen whilst you cook, playing in the park with your kids, taking up a new activity class that you are really excited about – when you’re doing something you enjoy, moving your body is not just easy – it’s something you want to do! If you hate running, don’t run! If the thought of going to the gym turns your stomach, don’t go! Find a form of movement that you like ad do that instead, moving your body is not meant to be an ordeal!

Do it with people you love

For many of us, spending time with our family and friends is up there as one of our favourite things to do! So why not find your moments to move with the people you love. Go for a walk after work to the nearby park, take your kids to the beach to build sandcastles and swim, take up a new dance class with your bestie – the opportunities are endless! Moving our bodies when in the company of people we enjoy often results in us sticking with changes we’ve implemented and doing it more.

So this week, particularly if you struggle with your mental heath, why not think about how you can find some moments for movement in your everyday life? You’ll feel so much better for it – we promise! And for more information, resources, and support – you can visit the Mental Health Foundation website. If you’re struggling, please do reach out to someone for help. It’s ok to not be ok and there are people out there who want to help.

Author: Hannah Durdin, Content Officer & Forest School Leader

Date: Monday 13th May 2024

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