Get moving for your mental health and wellbeing

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I am passionate about mental health!

I have spent much of my career helping children and their families improve and maintain good mental health. In my role as a teacher, I noticed a decline in children’s overall wellbeing. I saw first-hand children experiencing poor mental health with pupils suffering from depression, low mood and anxiety.

One of the main reasons why I joined Salford CVS as a Development Worker for Girls and Young Women was the opportunity to help young people in Salford improve their mental health through physical activity. My role allows me to co-create opportunities with girls, young women and VCSE organisations. We work together to create fun and appealing physical activities. I think this is really important as getting moving and being physically active improves our wider wellbeing.

The positive impact of physical activity on mental wellbeing has been widely acknowledged. So during this unusual time, I have turned to physical activity to help me feel good.

We are privileged in Salford to have so much beautiful green space including parks, moorland, canals and rivers. I have taken this opportunity to explore my local surroundings and connect with nature. This also gives me the chance to practice mindfulness, which is another way to help your overall wellbeing. Evidence suggests there are five steps you can take to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Trying these things could help you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life.

The five ways to wellbeing are: 

  • Connect with others
  • Be physically active
  • Learn
  • Give
  • Be mindful

Physical activity can encompass a few of these steps at once – if you are learning a new skill, yoga, for instance, you are being physically active, learning and being mindful! Or if you are joining in a Zumba session online you are connecting with others, learning new dance routines and being physically active!

That Counts!

I have been keeping active by going for lots of walks and initially, I took part in online classes with Joe wicks the body coachI then moved onto Les Mills BodyBalance (Les Mills has a 14-day free trial). I have been making the most of Sport England’s resources as part of their Stay in Work Out campaign

I have adapted well to exercising at home, at first I felt silly, maybe because I was being a kangaroo with Joe wicks. However, I have enjoyed trying something new and I have found a new love for home exercise - I am even considering running! A group I work with called Get My Community Running are setting up virtual group challenges they are a fun way to connect with others and exercising. I will also be learning something new as I haven't run before - watch this space! 

These are just a few of the many ways you can get moving. Join in with me and share what you are doing with #ThatCounts on social media.

Get Moving Mondays

I have also set up a Monday morning movement class for colleagues at work. This has been a huge success, helping to kick start our week at work in a positive way. We have had brilliant sessions delivered by Becky King teaching Zumba, laughing yoga delivered by Robin Graham and mindful breathing and yoga from Cristal Richardson at Cristal Healing. I am really pleased that I am working for a charity that is looking after its staff's wellbeing and that recognises the value of these physical activity sessions. I wake up excited on a Monday and I know I will be feeling great after the class.

So this Mental Health Awareness Week, be kind to yourself and try to get moving in a way that works for you!

Salford CVS
Author: 
Claire Benson, Development Worker for Girls and Young Women

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Salford CVS is the city-wide infrastructure organisation for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector; providing specialist information, advice, development support and opportunities for influence and collaboration.

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