White text on aqua blue background reads Find Your Moments For Movement

Theme: “Movement: Moving more for our mental health”.

Movement is important for our mental health. But so many of us struggle to move enough. We know there are many different reasons for this, so this Mental Health Awareness Week we want to help people to find moments for movement in their daily routines. Going for a walk in your neighbourhood, putting on your favourite music and dancing around the living room, chair exercises when you are watching television – it all counts!

One of the most important things you can do to help protect your mental health and enhance your wellbeing is regular movement. Moving more can increase your energy, reduce stress and anxiety, and boost your self-esteem. If you would like to improve your mental health by moving more, read our tips to help you get started.

Find moments for movement every day

When life is busy, it can be tricky finding time for wellbeing-boosting activities. Finding moments for movement might be easier than you think. Why not use the time you spend waiting to move more? When you're waiting for the kettle to boil; for your kids to come out of school; or for a bus to arrive. These moments will add up!

Set small, achievable goals

Set yourself small goals. It might be walking to the end of your street. Then you can push yourself a little further each day. As you make progress, you will create positive feelings that can boost your confidence and mood.

Take a break from sitting

Many of us sit for long periods during the day: working at desks, driving, or watching our favourite TV show. Research shows that it’s unhealthy to be still for long. Set a timer to take regular breaks to stand up, walk around and stretch.

Find the fun

Choose activities you enjoy that get you moving. Instead of thinking of movement as a chore, embrace your inner child and find the joy in movement. Fun alongside movement will increase your motivation and the psychological benefits.

Connect with others

We can strengthen our relationships or even make new friends when we take part in moving with others. These social connections are also great for our mental health. Think about ways to make your catch-up with friends more active. Check out groups and activities happening in your area. The Activities For Adults directory on Livewell has details of various local groups across The City of Southend-on-Sea. There is also a directory of activities specifically for children: Children's Activities.

Moving in nature

Research suggests that moving in nature has greater positive effects on our wellbeing compared to indoors. Take your moments for movement out in the wild. Go for a walk in the countryside or try cold water swimming (make sure to take appropriate safety precautions see RNLI advice). Parks, gardens, nature reserves, all provide opportunities for movement and meeting new people.

Try something new

Trying new experiences can boost our wellbeing. Pushing ourselves to try new things opens us up to new opportunities for movement, making new friends, and having fun. Having the courage to try something new will also give your confidence a boost.

Plan things to look forward to

Having events and plans in the diary to look forward to is great for mental health, it can give a sense of hope and excitement for the future. Add moments for movement to your diary and make plans to do fun things that you can get excited about.

Listen to music that gets you moving

Some songs are just made for moving. We all have favourite tunes that get us dancing. So, crank them up and have a living room disco where you can dance like no-one is watching!

Don't forget to rest

Taking time to rest is important for good mental health, especially if you have been using up a lot of energy. Try to prioritise time for rest and establish a regular, relaxing routine that lets you unwind and sends a signal to your brain that it is time to rest.

Celebrate your achievements

Well done! Congratulate yourself for taking care of your body and mind. Make sure to reward yourself too, perhaps a nice bubble bath after a walk in the park or something else that you enjoy.

Appreciation is a powerful way of generating positive thoughts and feelings. Recognising our progress is an important part of moving for our mental health!

Get more tips and advice at Boost your mental health by moving more

For information about getting help with your mental health, please see our mental health pages. 

Published: Thursday, 9th May 2024