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Mental Health Awareness Week (13th-19th of May)

The Mental Health Foundation has themed this year’s awareness week “Movement: Moving more for our mental health”, and a such we’re offering a few suggestions on how you can introduce movement to help your mental health. We’ll also share other tips on how to manage your mental wellbeing.

Green Ribbon symbolizing Mental Health Week

There is nothing to feel embarrassed or ashamed of if you’re struggling with your mental wellbeing. Did you know that 1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace[1]? That’s why, at HCL, we strive to support our employees who are struggling with their mental health by providing an empathetic environment, supported from our Mental Health Officers, and we offer free support services through our Employee Assistance Programme.

When we talk about movement and moving more for our mental health and wellbeing, it’s important that we emphasise that movement looks different for everyone – do not compare yourself to others. When we move our bodies (regardless of the form of movement), our bodies release endorphins – the ‘feel good’ hormones – which help us release stress.

So, here are a few ideas on how you can move more for your mental wellbeing:

1.       Stretch it out: waiting for the kettle to boil, or for your bus to arrive? Perhaps the printer is taking a while to print your documents, or you’re waiting for your kids to get out the door for school. Use the few minutes or moments you have to stretch your body. This could be an arm stretch, a leg stretch, marching on the spot, doing a few squats and lunges, or attempting star jumps!

2.      Take a break from your office chair: if your job means that you spend most of your working day in an office chair, then set a timer to remind yourself to stand up and walk for a minute or two. It could be to walk to get a cup of tea or to go outside for a bit of fresh air. Remaining sedentary for long periods of time is not good for your wellbeing.

3.      Ditch the lift, take the stairs: if your office has a lift or escalators as well as stairs, and you’re able to, we recommend taking the stairs. At HCL and HCC offices, there are statistics on the walls to say how many calories you burn when you walk up a flight of stairs. We find this really motivating. You may feel the ‘burn’ as you choose the stairs, but your body and mind will thank you.

4.     Lunchtime walks: if it’s possible, we recommend that during your lunchbreak, you take a walk, whether it’s a 5-minute walk or 15-minute walk, it’s great to get some fresh air and take yourself away from your working station to clear your thoughts. If you work remotely, perhaps you have a dog that you can walk or a nearby park to walk to and enjoy your lunch.

5.      Motivate your mates: sometimes we find it easier to move more when we are motivated by our friends or take part in activities together. Why not get a group of friends of colleagues to sign up for a fun run or charity walk?

Here are some other tips on how to look after your wellbeing when you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and anxious:

1.       Take a break: take some much-needed time doing something different from your normal day-to-day activities. This could be reading a book in the garden, watering your plants, or taking a 5-minute stroll.

2.      Focus on your breathing: Breathing more deeply and slowly can completely shift your body’s energy. Try some breathing techniques.

3.      Listen to music: Immerse yourself in music to lift your mood and possibly get you dancing and releasing stress or anger.

4.      Picture yourself in a relaxing place: A little bit of daydreaming or thinking of a special memory or place that feels positively significant for you can help you to de-stress. Think about what you love about that memory or place, remember the colours, smells, weather, people, and ‘sit’ with that beautiful memory for a while.

5.      Active relaxation: we’ve mentioned some ideas on movement above, but Yoga and Pilates are wonderful ways to get active whilst also relaxing.

6.      Guided relaxation: meditation can work wonders for people, guided meditation can be accessed via apps on your phone, in-person at meditation studios, via the MIND website or on YouTube.

7.      Get creative: you don’t need to be a skilled painter or artist to get creative. Painting, pottery, drawing, colouring, needlework, and other creative arts are a wonderful way to de-stress and release yourself from the busyness or life.

8.       Spend time in nature: being in nature can really transform your mood. Listening to the birds, the trees and leaves as the wind sweeps through them, and breathing in the fresh air are wonderful ways to focus on your wellbeing.

Did you know that what you eat can impact your mood? There is such a thing as ‘good mood food’! Eating a well-balanced meal overall during the day will ensure you’re giving your body the right nutrients to keep your body and mind healthy.

If you are struggling with your mental wellbeing, and need support, there are many organisations available to help you. At HCL, we offer our employees access to the Employee Assistance Programme.

You can also reach out to: and


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