The Power of Movement: Mental Health Awareness Week 2024

Embracing the Momentum: Mental Health Awareness Week 2024

Mental Health Awareness Week is once again upon us, marking a crucial moment to reflect on the importance of mental well-being in our daily lives. This year, the theme resonates deeply: ‘MOVEMENT’. It’s a theme that prompts us to explore the dynamic interplay between physical movement and mental health.

The Fluidity of Motion

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of our thoughts and emotions. Stressors abound, from work deadlines to personal challenges, and the relentless march of the 24/7 news cycle. Yet, amidst this chaos, there exists a powerful antidote: Movement.

As we navigate the complexities of modern life, let us embrace the power of movement as a cornerstone of our mental health toolkit. Let us cultivate a culture where movement is not merely an afterthought but a fundamental pillar of our daily routine.

Beyond Exercise: The Multifaceted Nature of Movement

Movement is not merely about physical exercise; it encompasses a broader spectrum of actions that can positively impact our mental health. Whether it’s a brisk walk in nature, the rhythmic flow of yoga, or the expressive release of dance, movement has the transformative ability to recalibrate our minds and bodies.

Just as a river flows freely, movement allows our thoughts to flow more fluidly, breaking down the barriers that anxiety and stress erect. Through movement, we reclaim a sense of agency over our lives, shifting from a state of inertia to one of momentum and vitality.

Voices from Within

Kelly Duncan

“I have been an avid paddleboarder for many years now, I took up the sport to get fit however I realise now – after not being able to paddle due to an injury that I gained so much more than just a few inches off my waistline! Paddling has had such a positive impact on my well-being. Taking the time to reflect, re-adjust, and engage in social activities like paddling has been beneficial for my mental health and resilience.
It provides me with a much-needed break from the stressors of daily life, allowing me to clear my mind and focus on the present moment. Additionally, socialising with friends while paddling has given me a sense of connection and support, which has further enhanced my  mental well-being and resilience.
Often, people who exercise regularly do it simply because it makes them feel good. Exercise can boost your mood, concentration and alertness. It can even help give you a positive outlook on life.
If regular exercise is not already a part of your routine, you might be wondering how much you need to do to give your mental health a boost.
The really good news is exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous or take a long time. Studies show low or moderate intensity exercise is enough to make a difference in terms of your mood and thinking patterns. Going for a leisurely walk, or activities like stretching and yoga, can also have huge benefits on your mind and body. Even doing housework like sweeping, mopping, or vacuuming can give you a mild work out!”

Lauren Hegarty

“In the past when I’ve thought of movement or exercise, it’s always been this big thing like going for a run, starting a team sport or committing to a gym membership, it just felt unattainable and unrealistic for me to begin, let alone maintain. I realised that the answer for me was actually doing many of the little things, albeit inconsistently!
My health is important to me, both mental and physical, and improving it hasn’t been through sticking to one of those big things. Ultimately, I know taking action to improve the trigger that has caused me to cycle into struggling with my mental health is the way to improve it, but making yourself take that action can feel like being stuck in mud. In my daily life, I decided to increase my overall movement, whether that be doing some stretches, going for a walk with friends or kicking a ball around with my brothers; even setting a timer and doing as much housework as I can! It’s all movement and it’s helped me to feel good, feel productive, and released that ‘stuck’ feeling in my mind to make it easier to get myself out of that cycle. My favourite thing to do on days that I feel stressed, is to get up from my chair and go for a walk outside for 10 minutes. It has a big impact on reducing that feeling of overwhelm and clearing my mind ready to tackle whatever is causing me to feel that way. There’s no quick fix to mental health but small changes like increasing my movement have made such a difference!”

Moving Forward Together

This Mental Health Awareness Week, let us commit to incorporating movement into our lives, not as a chore but as a celebration of our innate capacity for growth and resilience. Together, let’s move towards a future where mental well-being is nurtured through the simple yet profound act of movement.

Resources for Movement and Mental Health
For support and resources on mental health, including movement-based activities, reach out to GroceryAid or explore organisations such as Mind, Samaritans, Young Minds, or the Mental Health Foundation. If you are suffering from addiction you might consider Rehab 4 Addiction in London.
Remember, movement is not just a physical journey; it’s a pathway to healing and renewal for the mind, body, and soul. Let’s keep moving forward, together.