Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental health awareness week (13-20 May) is almost upon us. Director of Wellbeing, Strategy and Collaboration, Michael Fullerton exhorts us to get moving

The theme this year from the Mental Health Foundation is Movement. Given the recent improvements in weather, there is no excuse for not being out and about in our local communities, in nature, getting fresh air and physical exercise. Whether we are in a city, a town or more rural, there’s always a park, a field, a seafront, a country footpath to get right into nature and enjoy a walk, cycle or run.

The benefits of movement, in any way, are well known to enhance our physical and mental wellbeing. When we give training on the Wheel of Engagement we see physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing as interlinked with each other.

If we look after our physical health by keeping active, this improves and protects our mental health. So let’s focus on what we can do more of to keep moving. Do what you enjoy, what works for – and motivates – you. Even 10 minutes’ brisk walking can have a significant positive impact, giving us a real boost to our mood, esteem and reducing stress and anxieties.

Uplifted and positive

We just need to take the time, making it a habit and natural part of our day. In the mornings now I often go for a 5 or 6 km run first thing. Sometimes it’s a struggle. I regret it if I decide to sleep instead of getting up early, but I never regret going for the run. After a run I feel uplifted and ready for the day ahead. On other mornings I’ll do 10 minutes of Qigong, guided by a YouTube video. Again, that sets me up nicely, making me feel positive about my day.

What is it you do to get moving, and keep moving? We all have something that is motivating. It might be dancing, yoga, tai chi or swimming, for example.

If you are not moving enough, use this coming week to trigger the start of a positive daily habit to move more and enjoy the benefits of that. Find that ‘something’ that you enjoy, that connects you to other people and gets you out into nature. Try that ‘something new and different’, a new challenge and adventure.

Whatever you do, keep moving, make the most of life and have some fun!