Stepping Up for Mental Health

As Mental Health Awareness Week approaches, our company has started the third edition of our inter-office step challenge. With each stride, we’re not only aiming to boost our physical health but also to shine a light on the importance of mental wellness in the workplace.

Mental health is a topic that deserves attention every day, but during Mental Health Awareness Week, it takes centre stage. It’s a time to raise awareness, break stigma, and encourage open conversations about mental health. And what better way to do this than by embarking on a collective journey towards better health through movement?

This challenge isn’t just about logging miles; it’s about fostering a supportive environment where everyone feels encouraged to prioritise their well-being, as well as indulge in some friendly banter of course! Those office rivalries always stand us in good stead to encourage us to keep moving.

But seriously, research consistently shows the positive impact of physical activity on mental health. Exercise releases endorphins, those feel-good hormones that can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. By promoting movement within our workplace, we’re not only investing in our physical health but also nurturing our mental resilience.

Moreover, a company-wide step challenge fosters camaraderie and teamwork. As colleagues cheer each other on, share progress, and celebrate milestones, it strengthens the sense of community within our organisation. This solidarity is invaluable, especially when facing the ups and downs of daily work life.

Throughout the challenge, we’ll share resources and tips on how physical activity can positively impact mental health. Additionally, we recognise that mental health is a deeply personal journey, and not everyone feels comfortable discussing it openly. That’s why we’re committed to fostering a culture of acceptance and support. By normalising conversations around mental health and emphasising the importance of self-care, we’re creating a workplace where everyone feels valued and understood.

As we lace up our trainers and embark on this journey together, let’s remember that every step counts—both figuratively and literally. Whether it’s a leisurely stroll during lunch break, an energetic hike or round of golf at the weekend, let’s prioritise movement and self-care not just during Mental Health Awareness Week but every day. Here’s to breaking down barriers, fostering resilience, and building a workplace where well-being is a top priority.

Our top tips to move your way to a mood boost this Mental Health Awareness Week:

Studies show that movement and physical activity helps our mental health by:

  • Managing stress
  • Improving our mood by triggering positive chemical changes in the brain
  • Better sleep
  • Boosting self-esteem
  • Reducing anxiety by making our “fight or flight” response less reactive
  • Encourages us to set and achieve goals
  • Meeting new people and spending time with others

There can be barriers to being physically active and moving. This week has been set up to encourage people to find a way to move their body and mind in everyday activities. But most importantly, find what works for you.  Move your way!

The key? Find what works for YOU! Here are some tips to get started:

  • Be Realistic: Start slow, set achievable goals, and don’t beat yourself up on off days.
  • Praise Yourself: Celebrate your movement milestones! Notice the positive impact on your mood and energy.
  • Manage Anxiety: Consider your comfort level. Start small, find a supportive environment and see if a buddy helps.
  • Focus on Feeling Great: Shift your mindset. Instead of “I need to lose weight,” try “I’m nurturing my body.” Be proud of your efforts!

Move Your Body, Boost Your Mood:

  • Home Workouts: Stretch while making breakfast, dance during breaks, or follow free online fitness videos (yoga, Pilates, etc.).
  • Active Chores: Blast music and get moving while cleaning, gardening, or hanging laundry.
  • The Great Outdoors: Take a walk or jog in nature, or explore your local park.
  • Community Gems: Find affordable classes like Zumba or step aerobics at local centres.
  • Tech to the Rescue: Download free fitness apps or explore YouTube’s endless library of exercise videos.

Remember: Every bit counts! Celebrate your efforts and enjoy the positive impact movement can have on your mental health.

For those with physical limitations:

Many resources are available! Explore online tutorials for seated exercises, chair yoga, or water workouts. Disability charities and community centres often offer adapted fitness programs.

Let’s all move our bodies and feel the difference this Mental Health Awareness Week!