5 Ways to Support Your Mental Health

This year Mental Health Awareness Week (13th – 19th May 2024) is focusing on how movement can support better metal health. Mental Health is just as important as physical health but yet we don’t always feel confident about reaching out for help with our mental health. Mind Charity findings:

Facts and Figures about Young People and Mental Health, Mind

How is exercise good for my mental health?

Physical activity has a range of benefits in addition to supporting a healthy lifestyle. When we exercise, neurotransmitters are released – including endorphins which are “feel-good” chemicals that improve mood and reduce pain. Government guidance suggests that adults should be doing around 150 minutes of moderate activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week. The Mental Health Foundation have found that 36% of adults do not meet this level of physical activity for a range of different reasons – outlined in their report here.

Here are some tips to help you get started:

Getting over barriers

Whether it is mind over matter, the thought of injury, lack of energy or fear of failure, there are a range or reasons people will feel anxious about starting exercise or getting back to exercise after a break. Trying to break this mindset can be a challenge, especially if exercising alone. Try and arrange a time to go with a friend or family member for some moral support.

Alternatively, try the 1-5 method. Once you have decided to do something e.g. go for a walk, you have to the count of 5 to do it. It will takeaway the time you are able to think of reasons not to and will focus your brain on the task at hand. You will be focused on what you need to do to get going rather than why not to do it.


From week to week, our schedules and plans may vary. It is important to have some protected time to do a little exercise. Even if it is only 15-20 minutes at lunch time, start small and make it part of your routine and build it up when you feel ready.

Does it suit you?

Think about what is doable for you. If you know that you are a night owl, deciding to go to a 7am workout class is not going to be a good long term solution. Think about how you can best fit this around your life and meet your needs. Similarly, if money is an issue, think about practical free options e.g. is there an outdoor gym you can use? Click here to find your nearest outdoor gym.

Think about what activities suit you best. Do you want to improve fitness or strengthen muscles? Are you more comfortable at home or in a gym/setting away from home? Some people may even prefer to go to all female classes.

Here are 5 ways you can easily include more movement in your day and support your mental health.

1) Lunchtime walk

Whether you are working remotely, from an office or in a classroom, sometimes we need a change of scenery to get perspective. Taking a stroll, even for 20 minutes around the block, can really improve your mood. Even if it is a bit of a rainy day, take a little stroll around the school and pop into a fellow teacher’s classroom or visit the staffroom to get a change of scenery.

2) Online videos

Whether you are into yoga, boxercise or HIIT classes, there are a range of resources online for you to follow along at home. The beauty of this is if you need to take a break for 5 mins or 30 mins, it will be there for you to pick up from where you left off. It is really easy to make it work around your schedule and take it at your own pace. NHS home workout videos and NHS Fitness Studio are just a couple of options. Find one to suit you and your needs.

3) Easy wins

There are simple things you can consider when you are starting out. Can you walk there? Can you take the stairs instead of the lift? If you do need to drive, can you park a little bit further away and walk? Even if it is parking at the back of the car park rather than right by the exit.

4) Exercise on prescription

If you are worried about exercising because you haven’t exercised in a while or you are concerned about how it will effect your body, ask your GP about exercise on prescription. They can prescribe exercise and help you decide what activity will suit you best. Depending on your situation, they may be able to offer this locally at a free or reduced rate.

5) Wellbeing Walks

If you have a friend or you just like walking and would prefer some company, wellbeing walks run by ramblers.org have walks all across Kent where people get together and cover a range of locations and distances. These can be a really good way to get out and clear your mind.

For more advice on how to support young people with mental health, see our blog 6 Teaching Resources for Young People’s Mental Health

If you are struggling with your mental health, see our Mental Wellbeing section for support and advice.

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