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From the Newsdesk

ACID Supports Mental Health Awareness Week

Movement is not just about physical health; it’s a powerful ally in the battle for mental well-being. That is why this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week theme is crucial to recognise the profound impact that movement, in all its forms, can have on our mental health.

Movement releases endorphins, the body’s natural mood lifters. Whether it’s a brisk walk, a yoga session, or a dance class, physical activity stimulates the release of these feel-good chemicals, reducing stress and anxiety while promoting a sense of happiness and well-being.

Moreover, movement fosters mindfulness. Engaging in activities that require focus and coordination, such as martial arts or rock climbing, can anchor us in the present moment, alleviating worries about the past or future. Movement provides a sense of accomplishment and empowerment. Setting and achieving fitness goals, no matter how small, boosts self-esteem and confidence, reinforcing our belief in our ability to overcome challenges. Movement can be a way of connecting with others. Group workouts, team sports, or even solo endeavours in shared spaces, such as a smile at a passing stranger during a walk, create opportunities for social interaction and support, combating feelings of loneliness and isolation.

The ACID team discuss how important movement is to their daily lives and over-all feeling of well-being.

Faye Meakin, ACID ‘s Financial Administrator, says, My motto is: use the physical to break the mental! I regularly take movement breaks away from my desk, in order to reset my brain! Every day, after the school run, we walk! Sometimes for 45 mins, sometimes longer. I use this time to transition from ‘mum mode’ into ‘work mode’. Obviously, the dogs need a walk, but it also allows me time to gather my thoughts & plan my day ahead. It’s a luxury – I’m lucky that I get to do it (not so much when it’s raining!) 

I also play netball twice a week; one match & one training session. This is also hugely important to me. It’s ‘Faye’ time – not mum, not accounts lady, not cheerleader, not confidante – just me. I’ve been playing for the same team for 12 years. I value the time & the friendships enormously. (Nowadays, I mainly run around shouting “I’m too old for this!”) but I still love it nonetheless!”

Faith Capstick, Marketing & Social Media Coordinator at ACID, said, “Daily movement is instrumental for keeping me a happy mind. Full disclosure, in recent years I have had my own mental health battles, stemming from post-natal depression, including some other historic factors. All of which I heal through movement and creative pursuits.

I tend to go on at least one walk or run every day with our dog, Skye. Sometimes two, depending on my partner’s active/rest running routine. My runs/walks are usually of a distance of 3-6 miles to really get the heartrate up and soak in the surroundings. It must be out in the countryside, amongst fields and trees or even mountains. The mixture of adrenaline fuelled endorphins and peaceful contemplation keeps the mental gremlins at bay. I deeply believe that the combination of physical movement plus nature heals the soul and it counts as my daily mindfulness practice combined with my exercise routine.”

Faith Capstick on a standard walk around home area

Laura Newbold Breen, COO of ACID, said, Nothing helps my mental health more than being outside amongst nature, no matter the weather I will always get out!

Going on a long run in the fresh air instantly clears my mind and orders my thoughts. And, whenever I get the chance, I go back to the riding school I have been going to since I was 7. Nothing beats the connection you get with a horse; an hour with Ben is the best therapy for me!”

Laura Newbold Breen, on one of her runs
Laura Newbold Breen, horseriding on Ben

Dids Macdonald OBE., CEO of ACID, said, “Walking helps the weather inside my head, nine times out of ten!”

Diagnosed with Polymyalgia, 6 years ago, which put an end to my beloved tennis, “Polly” as I call it, is a lovely name for horrid aches most of the time but, thankfully, walking is my tonic, allowing me to not only forget “Polly” but it lifts my spirits. My thoughts roam freely, I enjoy the elements and let my mind go racing with ideas and, quite simply, chill.

At times I have felt very low about being on steroids and the hideous side effects of thinning skin, but you know what? If I can walk it is the absolute medicine I need. TIP of the Day. Standing on one leg alternately for a few minutes helps everything. So, if spotted on one leg, maybe it’s me, so say hello!

Madness, surely, at this late stage in life, but with the arrival of gorgeous little Billie (a cockerpoo puppy) she will need to be taken out morning noon and night regardless of the weather, so no escape now! Bring it on!”

Dids Macdonald’s new pup, Billie

Ann Bond, Finance Director of ACID, says,I start my day every morning with a cuppa followed by a walk with my lovely choccy labrador, Rolo. This is usually very early on a weekday, but helps prepare my mind for work, as well as being physically beneficial for us both! We walk again at the end of the day which has enormous mental benefits to clear my head, no matter what the workday has thrown at me. I am very fortunate to live amongst beautiful countryside and feel lucky every day that Rolo and I are able to enjoy it.

I also regularly go to my local gym, for different types of exercise, and I have recently started doing Pilates (which I never knew was so hard!). As my job involves sitting at a desk for long hours, I absolutely love exercising (especially walking Rolo) and the benefit it gives me both mentally and physically!”

In essence, movement is a potent tool in our mental health toolkit, offering a holistic approach to well-being that nourishes both body and mind. So, let’s lace up our trainers, stretch our muscles, and embark on a journey towards better mental health through movement.

To understand better how movement can benefit your mental health, take a look at Mental Health Foundation.

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