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5 Reasons to Keep Moving During Mental Health Week 2024

Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 is a global annual event that aims to raise awareness about mental health whilst promoting positive well-being.


It takes place from Monday 13th May to Sunday, May 19th 2024. The theme for this year is “Movement: Moving for our Mental Health.”

Two black women supporting each other with a hug

Why Participate in Mental Health Awareness Week 2024?

Mental health difficulties affect the lives of millions of people around the world and has a devastating personal impact on individuals, families and communities. 


Poor mental health costs a significant amount to the economy, through costs related to health and social care; time out of work and in their business and the impacts associated with support from informal care.


With more hybrid working many women have a lack of distinction between work and their personal/home-life, while some may be struggling to feel motivated.


Individuals who are unable to work remotely, particularly in roles where social distancing is not possible, anxiety and stress may well be high. 


In addition, it’s important to include those who are temporarily not working, where many can be suffering from the negative impact this may have on their perception of their self-worth.


What Can You Do?

As an often time-strapped business leader you can actively participate in Mental Health Awareness Week by simply taking on these simple 5 tips to keep moving for our mental health as follows:-


1. Prioritising Self Care

With the new hybrid lifestyle, many of us will be blurring the lines between work and home life – there’s a temptation to work non-stop and at irregular times.


It is equally important to encourage more movement within the workplace for those who turn up to works.  As a leader, one needs to engage with staff and ensure they are taking regular breaks and holidays to boost their energy level. 


Believe me it’s easy to get caught up in increasing business or work-related goals which escalates your stress levels due to unrealistic deadlines and increased responsibilities. Use this week to recognise and prioritise your own well-being. Why?

 

Self-care is vital for your long-term mental health and the more you engage in these stress busting activities, it can help you prevent future physical illnesses.


Do not underestimate the power of movement.


Research continuously shows physical activity helps to reduce anxiety and depression.


Getting a good night’s sleep is just as important as introducing more exercise this week. 


By incorporating more walking into your daily routine or simply playing your favourite songs and dancing like no one’s watching you are making a difference.  And even if you are watching television, incorporate chair exercises and drink more water – it all counts!


Remember not everyone is made for exercise and there can be barriers to physical activity, such as lack of energy, physical impairment, confidence or financial constraints.


Rather than being hard on yourself, recognise the validity of these barriers and find what works best for you.


2. Open Communication and Conversations

Not only must you be kind to yourself, as a business leader it's important to foster a culture and environment of kindness within your business or workplace.


Every person is different and their needs / wants require different levels of support and interactions to keep them motivated.


Encourage open conversations about mental health, share positive stories and get to know your colleagues and employees on a personal level.


This helps to recognise their individuality and offer bespoke support when needed to relieve their stress levels


We need to encourage employees to talk and share positive experiences as well as their hardships and unique challenges.


By showing empathy and offering support when needed we create and work in an inclusive environment where mental health discussions are welcomed, encouraged and more importantly, supported.


3. Set Realistic Goals

For many, the pressure and long hours working culture can lead to mental and physical exhaustion.


Setting too many unmanageable goals can leave you feeling frustrated and demotivated when you don’t get the results you aspire to.


Be kind to yourself and set achievable goals that are designed for you, not the needs of others.


Some days may be more challenging than others, so be flexible and adjust your activities based on how you feel.


By, checking in on your own ‘Self Care’ plan it will help you to overcome those self-limiting beliefs and actions. You should feel a boost to your energy level and vitality.


Once you are in a mentally healthy place, you are in a better position to identify how others are feeling mentally and physically.  You will have a more balanced and empathetic mindset and approach. 


So, learn how to take steps to alleviate the pressure from work and ‘switch off’. Take time out to acknowledge your accomplishments which will help to boost your confidence and increase your self-esteem through regular praise and rewards.


Don’t forget, small steps matter too!


4. Overcoming Barriers

It is important to learn the importance of setting healthy boundaries between work and your personal life.


Simply avoid overworking or neglecting your own needs is not enough if you have not redesigned your outlook and life.


Challenge bias, discrimination and stereotyping whenever you are faced with these behaviours by promoting inclusivity and advocating for equal opportunities at all times. 


But women also have to gain and maintain a positive mindset in order to remain motivated, fulfilled and satisfied in business.


Taking care of yourself is essential for maintaining (and increasing) productivity and more importantly, transforming your mental health.


5. Access to Resources

It’s great to use your platform to raise awareness about mental health and the resources available which provides support. 


This can be access to mental health hotlines; offering workshops, webinars, or guest speakers from various support groups.


The NBWN also offer a series of resources right here, from large organisations to smaller community-based groups that might help you, your business or your staff improve their mental health.


Finally, with the theme of ‘Movement’, you have what it takes to use motivating Mental Health Week as an opportunity to create your own care plan by:

  • Prioritising self-care;

  • Promoting open communication and conversations;

  • Setting realistic goals,

  • Overcoming barriers and having access to supportive resources.


If businesses were to invest in these steps, the impact on the workforce could be huge – greater productivity and an increase in profits – a win-win. 


No matter your working environment. No matter your experience, I hope these 5 simple steps will create a healthier and more supportive environment for everyone. 

 

I hope you've enjoyed this article, but I'd also love to know what you think. How do you manage your own mental health? What steps do you take to keep yourself moving? What help do you give your staff to help them manage theirs? Let us know in the comments below.


If you're part of the 'Working From Home' revolution we talked about earlier, you can also join our dedicated SistaTalk group by clicking the image below to get support, help and tips from others in the same houseboat to make it more productive.

Working From Home group on SistaTalk

If you, your team or anyone you know needs some more dedicated help and support, then we have a list of resources that specialise in working with black woman and women of colour . We also have some resources related to Domestic Violence linked here. If you know of any more that we can add to the list, please let us know.

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