Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week 2024: Moving for Mental Health

Every year, we celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week to raise awareness about a specific issue that affects people’s mental well-being. This year’s theme is ‘Movement: Moving for mental health’.

This article discusses what movement means to different people and how we can implement it daily. We will also explore ifeel’s “Mindful Motion” report, which analyses internal data and research on movement and mental well-being. In addition, we will discuss the benefits movement has for us and how the company plays a key role in fostering such initiatives. 

Movement looks different for everyone

When we talk about movement, it is often a given that movement means exercise. However, this is not the case for everyone. On Mental Health Awareness Week, we should emphasise that movement can involve activities other than running, going to the gym, working out…etc. This is because movement looks different for everyone, and we shouldn’t limit people’s perceptions of this. Therefore, movement can include going for a walk, petting your cat, or even meditating. 

Furthermore, movement encompasses the physical and mental health spheres. It means actively taking steps towards our mental well-being, which in itself becomes a mindset: an active choice to face our obstacles and strive for mental well-being.

Our latest report for Mental Health Awareness Week, called ‘Mindful Motion’, shows that 73% of people use movement to improve their mental health. Participation in movement-based activities strongly correlates with improved mood and overall mental health. Here are some of the benefits of movement for our mental health: 

1. Stress

Engaging in physical activities, even gentle ones like stretching or gardening can activate the body’s natural relaxation responses. This process, often associated with decreasing stress hormones such as cortisol, also promotes the release of endorphins—chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators. Consequently, regular movement helps maintain a calmer and more relaxed state of mind.

2. Better sleep

Movement is known to improve the quality of sleep. It helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle, often called the circadian rhythm. By increasing the amount of time spent in deep sleep, the most physically restorative sleep phase, movement can enhance energy levels, improve brain function, and reduce symptoms of depression. Better sleep itself then contributes to decreased stress and anxiety, creating a beneficial cycle of mental health improvement.

3. Management of anxiety and depression

Moving your body can be a great way to help manage feelings of anxiety and depression. Just like taking a medication that makes you feel better, regular physical activity can naturally lift your mood. This happens because when you move, your brain can refresh and strengthen, much like working out a muscle. This doesn’t just help you physically; it makes you feel more mentally balanced and less weighed down by negative feelings. And when you pair movement with other approaches, like talking to a psychologist, it can be even more effective in making you feel good.

3. Boosts self-esteem and confidence

Regular participation in movement-based activities can significantly enhance one’s self-esteem and confidence. This occurs because physical achievements, whether small or large, can foster a sense of accomplishment. Moreover, as individuals meet their physical goals, they often feel more in control of their well-being and more positive about their bodies. This improved self-image can contribute broadly to one’s mental health, fostering positive social interactions and greater connectedness to others.

Overall, much research supports the link between movement and mental well-being. Regular activity can improve physical and mental health, leading to a more balanced and fulfilling life.

Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week: The company’s role 

Businesses can play a crucial role in promoting the mental health of their employees by incorporating movement into the workplace. This can be achieved by offering flexible schedules allowing exercise breaks or walking meetings, which encourage physical activity, refresh the mind, and enhance concentration.

Companies can also design benefits programmes that include subsidised gym memberships or fitness challenges, showcasing their commitment to employee well-being and boosting morale. Creating spaces that promote movement, such as standing desks or areas dedicated to yoga and meditation, can further contribute to a workplace culture that prioritises mental health.

Educating employees about the benefits of movement through workshops and seminars can also encourage them to take personal steps towards mental well-being. By implementing these initiatives, businesses can enhance their workforce’s overall well-being and productivity throughout the year, not just during Mental Health Awareness Week.

Mental Health Awareness Week

Join the global leading solution in mental well-being

Implementing the leading mental well-being solution for Mental Health Awareness Week

At ifeel, we acknowledge movement as a key element for mental well-being, and companies should encourage employees to implement activities in their daily lives to stay healthy physically and mentally, not just on Mental Health Awareness Week, but every day. 

To support companies in this process, our team of expert workplace well-being psychologists has created a mental well-being solution for businesses that improves talent retention, reduces presenteeism, and combats employee stress. 

With our mental well-being solution, your company’s HR managers can receive personalised, data-driven advice on improving mental health at work. In addition, this solution offers employees a 360° mental well-being service structured at different levels according to their needs. Try our solution now to see how it could help you.

We hope you found this article on Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 interesting. If you would like more information about our mental well-being solution for companies, simply request it, and we will contact your team as soon as possible.

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