The pandemic has left a deep and lasting impact on the mental health of millions across the UK. Research from Mind revealed more than half of adults (60%) and over two thirds of young people (68%) said their mental health deteriorated during lockdowns.
Finding accessible ways to manage your mental health - as well as the wellbeing of those around you, such as your employees - is vital. Research from Sport England revealed that during the first six weeks of lockdown, an average of 63% respondents found exercise to be an effective method for helping them manage their mental health and impact their health overall.
Together with Sport England, ukactive and Mind, we have put together a downloadable guide that includes five ways you can make wellbeing a priority and how you can take next steps. You’ll also discover the links between physical activity and mental health, and ideas and resources to help you along the way.
Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups and is essential for slowing age-related cognitive decline and for promoting wellbeing.
Sport and physical activity can also be used to build resilience, enable and support mental health recovery, and tackle stigma. It has been linked to reduced feelings of stress, clearer thinking and increased self-esteem.
Hunched over your laptop all day working on admin tasks or client work? Check out seven simple ways you can have an active workday. From morning walks and moving meetings to team challenges, physical activity can be an effective part of your mental health management strategy.
If you’re an employer, Sport England's Active Employer toolkit is a great starting point for encouraging your team to get moving.
Learn a new skill
Continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life. Maybe there’s something you’ve always wanted to try or it could be an activity you’ve done previously but want to relearn.
You could try a new sport with a friend or boost your knowledge with free training on our Skills Hub.
Give back to your community
Individuals who report a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy. Research into promoting happiness has shown that committing an act of kindness once a week over a six-week period is associated with increased wellbeing. Volunteering is a fantastic way to give back to your community, especially if it’s a cause you’re passionate about.
Connect with others
Feeling close to and valued by other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning well in the world – but during the pandemic, the Office for National Statistics found that loneliness increased. Whether you get involved with team sports or attend a networking event, it’s a great opportunity to connect with others, meet new people and be social.
Reminding yourself to ‘take notice’ can strengthen and broaden awareness. Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your wellbeing and savouring ‘the moment’ can help to reaffirm your life priorities.
FSB Care’s guide to wellbeing in winter has tips you can use all year round, and their checklists include ways that you can manage your mental health and support your team. If you feel like you need more support, FSB Care is here for FSB members.