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Lace up your trainers, it’s time to get moving for your mental health

Staff at a Doncaster, Rotherham and North Lincolnshire mental health service, NHS Talking Therapies, are encouraging people to get active for their wellbeing.

It comes as the theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 (13 May to 19 May), is ‘movement’ for our mental health.

Studies have shown that regular exercise can boost your mood, and it’s especially useful for those with mild to moderate depression to get moving, it’s also medically proven that those who don’t currently struggle with their mental health can fend off low mood too, as getting your heart pumping can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and overall energy levels.

The NHS recommends 150 minutes of activity a week, but there’s no need to rush to do it all at once, you can build up your moving minutes as you improve your health and fitness. Any type of exercise works, choices can range from chair-based yoga to running marathons, most importantly, find something you enjoy and stick to it.

Gemma Mann, Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP) with NHS Doncaster Talking Therapies, practices taekwondo in her spare time. She says having a sport you love or an activity you can happily take part in can go a long way in supporting your mental health: “My taekwondo training is one of the highlights of my week, the benefits I get from this class are huge.

“It’s a great way to alleviate stress after a busy week of being on the hamster wheel of life because working full time in a fast-paced job and being mum to energetic 10-year-old can be challenging, but kicking those pads doesn’t half get some of that out!

“I also love that it challenges me both physically and mentally, every week I’m learning something new or learning how to do it better and seeing progress really gives a sense of achievement.  I can honestly say I always find that the best night’s sleep is on a Wednesday after training and I’m energised and raring to go on a Thursday.”

Elysia Hunter, Trainee Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP) with NHS North Lincolnshire Talking Therapies, loves to rock climb: “Climbing outdoors helps me stay well, feel strong and capable. Being out in the peaks is very calming and gives me perspective.”

Georgina Walters, Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP) with NHS Rotherham Talking Therapies, prefers a calmer approach to movement: “I meditate every day and do yoga twice a week, I find that this helps me to connect with my body and how I’m feeling. When I practise yoga, I feel grateful that I’ve had time to look after myself. I also do this with a friend, and we go for brunch afterwards, so it means I get the opportunity to socialise.”

While exercise can be a great way for many people to improve their wellbeing, you might find you still need some extra support with your mental health. Talking Therapies services in Doncaster, Rotherham and North Lincolnshire offer free, confidential treatment for anyone over the age of 18 who is struggling with the symptoms of common mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. PWP, Gemma, said: “Symptoms of poor mental health can vary. You might find that you’re suffering with persistent low mood or you’re worrying more often than not. You might also avoid family and friends or no longer be taking part in activities you would usually enjoy. These are all really common signs that you could use some support. Talking Therapies can help . You can self-refer without having to visit your GP first, and we offer a range of treatment options, from face to face, over the phone, text messaging and video calling appointments, to one-to-one therapy or our one-hour lunchtime workshops.”

NHS Talking Therapies also offer support to those who are struggling to live mentally well with a long-term health condition. Health issues can be stressful, overwhelming and difficult to manage sometimes, and Talking Therapies can offer treatment to understand and manage symptoms better and improve overall mental health.

You can self-refer to RDaSH Talking Therapies services either at the Talking Therapies website (opens in new window) or by calling your local team:

Gemma Mann carrying out a taekwondo move.

Published: May 17, 2024

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