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14th May 2024 – Written by Ade

Embrace Your Inner Child: Moving for Mental Health

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by Pollyanna Puddephat
Head of Marketing, Mortgage Brain

Have you ever paused to watch children at play? Last weekend, under a sunny forecast, I took my two small humans to a pebbly, quiet beach along the south coast. Their boundless energy, infectious laughter, and carefree movements are a testament to the joy that physical activity brings them. Whether it was chasing the waves in and out, digging a huge hole in the sand or finally taking a plunge into the refreshing English Channel, kids instinctively understand the connection between movement and happiness. They returned salty, sun-ripened and full of happy vibes! 

Yet, as we transition into adulthood, many of us lose touch with that innate urge to move freely. We relegate physical activity to the realm of exercise and fitness, viewing it as a chore rather than a source of pleasure. But what if we could reclaim that sense of joy in movement, not as a means to an end, but as an end in itself?

In honour of Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re championing the notion of embracing our inner child and rediscovering the simple pleasure of movement. As experts in mortgage technology, we recognise the sedentary nature of many modern work environments, where hours can slip away in front of screens. That’s why we’re encouraging everyone at Mortgage Brain and around us to embrace ‘Moving for Our Mental Health’—an initiative aimed at integrating moments of movement into our daily lives.

Physical activity isn’t just about being out of breath; it’s about nurturing our mental wellbeing. Personally I like a bit of both, a relaxing walk with the dog on a Monday to ease me into the week, and by Tuesday I’m ready for a full on sweaty spin class! Research shows that regular exercise releases endorphins, those delightful “happy hormones” that flood our brains with positivity. Mental Health UK reports that 56% of adults turn to exercise as a stress reliever. But let’s address the elephant in the room: the dreaded ‘e’ word—exercise—can often feel daunting and intimidating.

That’s where the beauty of movement comes in—all movement counts, regardless of intensity or duration. Whether it’s practicing yoga on your lunch break, taking a scenic bike ride after work, or simply opting for walking meetings instead of stationary ones, there’s a myriad of ways to get moving and prioritise your mental health.

Studies have shown that movement offers a plethora of benefits, from stress management to improved mood and cognitive function. It promotes better sleep, boosts self-esteem, and fosters social connections—all essential components of a healthy mind and body. Plus, it’s downright enjoyable!

Not sure where to start? Fear not! I’ve enlisted the help of my colleagues here at Mortgage Brain to inspire you with creative ideas for incorporating movement into your daily routine.

“I enjoy playing basketball in my free time. It’s not only a fun way to stay active but also offers opportunities to meet new people and engage in teamwork, which I find exciting! Additionally, I love dancing, particularly Salsa and a bit of Afro Beats. Dancing allows me to express myself and keeps my body moving.”  Kolajo Onadipe, HR Administrator

“For me, a run twice a week with my daughter is a great way to clear the head. The best time to go is when you really don’t feel like it. At times like that it seems even more invigorating.” Ade Susman, Marketing Executive

“Spin is a fundamental part of my daily routine, it sets the endorphins rushing, and brings my energy levels up to focus positively on the day ahead. The collaboration of exercise, music and being around lots of other people really makes me happy.” Niki Cooke, Key Account Manager

Young girl riding her bike

“I am a big fan of walking and talking.  I will often plan a walk with my two dogs to coincide with a work call or meeting.  I get the feel-good factor whilst taking in fresh air and sometimes that’s where my best ideas are generated!” Neil Wyatt, Sales and Marketing Director

“Weightlifting has become a huge part of my life, and one of my non-negotiable parts of taking care of my physical and mental health. With the help of a personal trainer, who tailored a plan to help me reach my goals. Nearly 18 months later, I can turn up to the gym on a bad day, and leave feeling a bit better than when I arrived. Now I proudly tell delivery people, ‘Yes, I can lift that, thank you!’. It’s a very empowering feeling to have!” Amy Whitworth, Senior Marketing Executive

Young girl in the gym with her mom

“Exercising for me is the time I can be me, switch off from the world, worries, struggles and focus on myself. Feeling strong helps me mentally and supports positivity on a daily basis. When I’m feeling low, I work out, when I’m feeling high I work out. It’s what gets me through the struggles in everyday life and what makes me, me.” Hayley Behan, Business Analyst

“I love a good book – not the normal ‘on the move’ activity I know, but as I rarely find the time to sit quietly and read, I listen to audiobooks while out walking instead. Give me a couple of miles with some Terry Pratchett or a trashy crime novel, and I can find my happy place. It’s the perfect way to escape, decompress and reset, which I’ve found to be essential for my mental wellbeing.” David Alexander, Head of Product Development

Young girl riding her bike

So, as we celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week, let’s make a commitment to prioritise movement and embrace the joy of being active. Let’s channel our inner child, throw caution to the wind, and dance like nobody’s watching—because when it comes to our mental well-being, every step, skip, and shimmy counts.

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