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In our very fast paced lives and living on automatic pilot a lot of the time it is easy to see why the rates of depression and anxiety are increasing. This has become even more apparent since Covid 19 with even more stressors such as job insecurity and possibly dealing with losing loved ones and potentially not seeing loved ones in other countries. During this time there has sadly been an increase in suicide rates. NHS mental health services are inundated and there are long waiting list for assessments and therapy.

With long waiting lists for professional health care self-care is essential. An important aspect of self-care is exercise and exercise has many benefits such as improving mood, allowing for more mental alertness and improving self-esteem as well as the physical benefits of improving circulation and improving strength and flexibility.

It is recommended that we get between 75 and 150 minutes of exercise a week. Exercise does not have to be running or intense physical activity. We can get the same benefits for our mental health from simply going for a brisk walk or doing some stretching or going up and down the stairs a few times. Anything that raises your heart rate and makes you breathe a faster all counts towards your exercise time.

Our ethos on mental health during the retreat

The Retreat is hosted by Lucy, a mental health nurse who is a huge advocate for prompting the benefits of exercise for improving mental health and well-being. The Retreats give participants away from busy lives and day to day stressors which automatically takes us off automatic pilot and gives time to reflect and make positive intentions for the future. Throughout the Retreat there is a strong emphasis on self-care and we dedicate sessions to mindfulness, yoga and breath works. We teach skills that are not just to be calmer on the Retreat but life skills that can be utilised to reduce stress for the future. We also teach participants how to exercise safety with correct form and technique so this can be done at home and in the gym with less chance of injury, so it is sustainable.