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Movement for Mental Wellbeing

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week (13-19th May) and this year’s theme is “Movement: moving for our mental health.” As a Health & Wellbeing Coach and Yoga Teacher, I am a huge advocate for the power of movement for mental wellbeing so here I am with a reminder of the benefits and some tips to get you moving and keep going. 


It’s brilliant to hear more and more people speaking openly about their own mental health experiences but there are also many more who struggle in silence or are having to wait too long to access the care they need. Every year, 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health challenge. According to the Mental Health Foundation, right now over 2 million people are waiting for NHS mental health services and since 2017, the number of young people struggling with their mental health has nearly doubled. These are distressing facts and sadly lives will be lost without more action.


This is why I care so much about getting people moving. Regular exercise, of any kind, has been proven to reduce anxiety and depression. When we move our bodies we release ‘endorphins’ which you might recognise as ‘happy hormones’. Endorphins help to lift our mood and can have a real impact on how we feel. Regular movement also aids our mental wellbeing by improving our sleep and our self-esteem. 


While it’s important to remember that some people experiencing poor mental health really need medication, therapy and other support, for lots of people mental health lows can be managed with movement and mindfulness. Movement to improve mental wellbeing doesn’t have to be anything extreme (but cool if that’s your thing!) and it doesn't need to cost the earth. The UK Chief Medical Officer suggests adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity or 75 minutes vigorous activity (or a mix of the two) every week. All of us can find the time for that.


For many, getting started when you’re feeling low can be half the battle. Try these tips to help get you moving and keep going.  




5 ways to get moving and keep going 


  1. Make it fun - choose movement you enjoy - walking, yoga, swimming, group fitness, gardening, dancing…

  2. Make it social - find a friendly group or buddy to exercise with to keep you company and accountable. 

  3. Make it achievable - set yourself goals to keep you focussed and committed.  

  4. Journal about the benefits you experience to remind yourself on days you can’t find the motivation. 

  5. Become an inspiration to others around you whether that’s your kids, friends or colleagues.  






If you’re local to me you're welcome to join me for small group yoga throughout the week at The Nest in Balfron or herbal gardening at Tir Na Nog Holistic Centre on Mondays, 10-12 with Movement in Thyme. If you’d like support to improve your health and wellbeing through compassionate coaching this can be done in person or from anywhere online. Get in touch if you'd like to chat about any of these opportunities. 


If you or someone you know are experiencing mental health challenges, please seek support. You matter.


Sarah Catnach is a Health & Wellbeing Coach and Yoga Teacher and runs The Nest Wellbeing.


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