There’s no magic wand when it comes to mental health, but movement can really help

This Sunday marks the International Day of Happiness, a day recognising the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the globe and encouraging us to spread happiness to others.

We Are Undefeatable, is a campaign developed by 15 leading health and social care charities, and funded by the National Lottery via Sport England, with a mission to support people living with long term health conditions – helping them to find movements that work for them and building their confidence through physical activity, while understanding that every day can be different.

To help raise awareness of the benefits movement can have for those living with long term health conditions, not only when it comes to physical health, but mental wellbeing too, We Are Undefeatable is sharing Tania’s story along with motivational exercise videos to try at home.

Tania, who was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer that also brought on depression, found that after her difficult setbacks, movement and being active had positive effects on her mood. She found the support of her family and friends encouraged her to continue being more active and is enjoying the benefits to her mental health.

More details on her story can be found below, alongside some tips from We Are Undefeatable partner mental health charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness on how to incorporate physical activity that supports your mental wellbeing into your day-to-day life, whilst living with a long-term health condition.

Tania’s Story

Tania wasn’t very active until she was diagnosed with cancer. Her depression after chemo made it even more difficult to get moving on her not-so-good days. But she’s found that getting up on her feet, even if it’s just dancing around the kitchen, can help in more ways than one. Tania went from being fairly inactive to walking to the shops more often and sometimes even going for an occasional run – something she never thought she’d do before.

“My advice would be to find something that you like. I started playing badminton and tennis to become more active and I didn’t even realise I was exercising because it was just so much fun and it just lifts your mood. Though it can be hard at times, I definitely feel a lot happier.”

Despite a challenging time with her mental health, Tania has managed to keep active thanks to the support of her family. She continues to dance around the house, saying that getting moving “isn’t a magic wand, but it really does help” with her mood. She has also made a friend through getting active and, with her encouragement and similar sense of humour, is aiming to walk further and see new places.

Tips from Mind and Rethink Mental Illness (We Are Undefeatable campaign partners)
Do what you can when you can and adapt your physical activity to how you’re feeling. It’s okay to have days when you wake up excited about going for a run and others when walking upstairs feels like a challenge.

Start off small – Getting active doesn’t have to mean running a 5k marathon or over exerting yourself in the gym, a brisk daily walk or a quick and easy at home workout can boost your energy and mood.

Find a source of motivation by buddying up with a friend or family member who enjoys similar activities to you, in turn helping you feel like you’re not doing it on your own.
Turn everyday non-physical activities physical. Walk instead of taking the lift, do some star jumps or jog on the spot whilst the kettle is boiling.

Finding something you enjoy means you are more likely to keep doing it and feel the uplift in mood or mental wellbeing. Try a few activities until you find the right thing for you.
Some people enjoy the social benefits of physical activity, whereas others get more from being able to clear their head through solo activity, so it’s important to do what suits you and your lifestyle.

Further useful tips to get moving can be found on the We Are Undefeatable website and on the Rethink Mental Illness website.

About Lisa Baker, Editor, Wellbeing News 4429 Articles
Editor Lisa Baker is passionate about the benefits of a holistic approach to healing. Lisa is a qualified Vibrational Therapist and has qualifications in Auricular Therapy, Massage, Kinesiology, Crystal Healing, Seichem and is a Reiki Master.