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Moments for movement: Mental Health Awareness week 2024

As part of Mental Health Awareness (13 – 19 May), we explored the theme of #MomentsForMovement by talking to our team and asking them how movement can help with their wellbeing. Take a look at our findings:

This year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week, we explored the theme, #MomentsForMovement. This was a great opportunity to get the team together to plan an activity and open up about the ways in which movement benefits our mental health. There are many forms of movement that you can do to help improve your mental health and overall mood.

So, for anyone struggling with reasons as to how this could help them with their everyday self-care, we asked the team:

Do you have any tips on ways in which you can improve your mental health through movement?

I would say to just stay in the moment with your chosen form of movement. Concentrate all of your thoughts on the dancing, running, walking or whatever it is you’re doing.
If you’re friend or family member is struggling with their mental health, a good way to get them to talk is to go for a walk. Sometimes it can be difficult to talk face to face, so walking gives that person the opportunity to get some fresh air, exercise and, hopefully, open up.
I try really hard to be present in the movement that I am taking part in, don’t skip out on the breath-pattern with the Pilates class that you are part of – it can make a big difference both during the class and how you feel afterwards.
Exercising outdoors is a great way to tune out and feel present when you are exercising. Whether I am on a morning stroll or having a run, I find it very stress releasing being around nature and observing other passers-by.
If you have trouble starting up a new habit, grab a friend to help get you started.

From these answers, it is interesting to see how many of us mentioned being present in the moment and tuning out, makes you can feel more relaxed. Whether its Walking, Running, Dancing or Yoga and Pilates – it just shows that there are so many different types of movement that you can do to help ground yourself. Another great tip that was mentioned is to get friends or family involved with your chosen activity. Having someone else support you, is a great way to motivate each other and an opportunity to open up conversations that may be more difficult to have in closed off spaces and situations.

According to the Mental Health Foundation 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. With this in mind, the next question I asked the team was:

What is your chosen type of movement that makes you happy?

Yoga has taught me to be kind to myself, but also to challenge myself where my mind is keeping me from pushing myself, whether that’s a Flamingo, Crow or even sometimes a Wild thing. I have been practicing regularly now for 9 years, and it has and continues to have a positive impact on my mental wellbeing.
When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I focus on grounding my feet and breathing. It really helps me focus on my body and helps settle my mind. Yoga has been a great tool to help me unwind and releasing tension.
Anything active usually picks me up pretty quickly. My top three that I usually draw on are: Blasting music and dancing around my lounge like no one’s watching! Getting out for a ride on my skateboard, and finally, Boxing! Even 30 minutes of letting loose on the punching bag will always put a smile on my face!
Walking and working out at the gym. I love to just put on a playlist and let it guide me throughout workout, just puts me in a good mood.
Swimming is great because it makes you switch off entirely to the outside world.

Looking at these responses is great to see how much music and different types of movement makes people happy. By boosting your happy hormone you are bound to feel more lifted and motivated to continue with your day.

So, with all of these tips in mind, next time you are in a rut or feeling like you need a boost why not take a dive into some of these different types of movement. Whether it’s a mindful yoga class, an energised run with your friend, or simply dancing around the living room, you are guaranteed to feel more lifted.

We can offer your members a Health and Wellbeing Hub, which includes a range of articles, blogs, podcasts and videos to help support their wellbeing. Learn more about the hub and other benefits we can provide your members: membershipengagement .

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