Get moving to boost your mood

Date:

Incorporating movement into your daily routine can really lift your spirits and sense of wellbeing, says Dorset Mind volunteer Annabel Goddard

For the 2024 Mental Health Awareness Week, from 13th to 19th May, we\re focusing on movement and how it can affect the way you feel.
Many of us take how our body moves for granted, but day-to-day life can take a huge toll on us if we don’t regularly check in with how our bodies feel. Despite what the current weather would have you think, summer is just around the corner, so now is a great time to start practising tuning in to your physical body. No matter how small the movement, it can benefit you to get active.

Mindful moving
If you’re a fan of exercise, you probably already know how great you feel after a good workout. But some of us are restricted by mental or physical issues, so if, for whatever reason, you can’t go to the gym, the next best thing is stretching or moving mindfully. This can be done however you like – but the focus should be on your body and how it feels in the moment.
Yoga is perfect for this, but you can start with some simple stretches. Focus on how it feels to be able to move, and try to think of things about yourself that you’re grateful for. You’ll feel much lighter and more relaxed afterwards! It’s also a great opportunity to address any aches and pains you may have not noticed before.

The great outdoors
It’s no secret that going outside and spending time in nature boosts your mood – don’t ever underestimate it! Even on cloudy days, taking in fresh air and looking at trees will help you feel more connected to yourself and the earth, especially after the winter months.
Having a short walk or run outside to disconnect from work and your phone will benefit your mental health massively. Not only will it boost your energy and wellbeing, but a gentle bit of sun will help you appreciate and feel grateful to be outside.
Pay attention to how your body wants to move – some days you may not feel up to something energetic and it’s fine to honour your body by listening to it. You could also ‘stack’ your activities by doing some yoga or other exercise outdoors in the garden.

Boost your mood
If you feel like going a bit further, a fun way to get yourself moving is by putting on some music and having a dance! You could do it while ironing, making dinner, whenever – it’s a sure-fire way to release your happy hormones and energy, without feeling like a big effort.
Moving your body for fun helps you relax and, most importantly, feel better!
Prioritising and appreciating your body’s ability to move will undoubtably boost your mood and keep you mentally healthy. Getting Active is one of the proven steps of the ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ that you can find out more about here.

Support for you:
Visit Dorset Mind for local mental health support and ways to keep mentally healthy
The Samaritans are there to listen 24/7, call them for free on 116 123
Call Dorset’s mental health helpline Connection for support on 0800 652 0190

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