While physical activity and wellbeing is obviously a very important component of living a healthy lifestyle, another large part lies with your mental health and wellbeing; something that unfortunately has been surrounded by a biased stigma in the past. Luckily, things are changing, and over the last few months, the UK has once again recognised annual events such as Mental Health Awareness Month (May), Mental Health Awareness Week (13-19 May), and Men's Health Month (June) at both a National and Local level. Even the UK government now defines wellbeing as "a positive physical, social, and mental state," further emphasising the fact that a healthy mental wellbeing is a crucial part of living a healthy lifestyle. We at Workout Bristol believe that talking about and educating ourselves on how to improve and maintain our mental wellbeing is just as important - if not more important - than our physical wellbeing. So, we challenge you to speak with your family and friends... even fellow gym members... not just about physical health, but also mental health. Let's keep this important conversation open!
The term "mental wellbeing" obviously has a different meaning to everyone, and while there is no single universal definition, it typically includes factors like:
- A sense of feeling good about ourselves
- Being able to function well individually and/or in relationships
- The ability to deal with life's ups and downs; coping with challenges and making the most of opportunities we are presented with
- Having control and freedom over our lives
- Having a sense of purpose and value
On the contrary, mental wellbeing doesn't necessarily mean that you have to be happy all the time, and it certainly does not mean that you're not allowed to experience negative or painful emotions.
Whatever your age or current status of physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing, being physically active can actually help you lead a mentally healthier life, and can even help improve your mental wellbeing! You can read more about how physical activity impacts mental health here.
Mental Health Resources
Please note that while we are always open and available to our members, our staff are not certified medical professionals able to advise people directly on their personal circumstances. If you're in need of professional help, we urge you to speak with your GP, and check out the following services and organisations that offer help and support directly to those struggling with mental health problems:
- Samaritans offer emotional support 24 hours a day in full confidence. Call 116 123 (free) or email email@example.com
- Rethink Mental Illness has an advice and information line in operation Monday to Friday from 10am-2pm. You can get information and practical advice on different types of therapy and medication, medical benefits, money issues, encounters with police and the courts, as well as your rights under the Mental Health Act, among other topics. Call 0300 5000 927 (charges vary).
- Mind offers an information line to answer questions about types of mental health problems, where to get help, medications, alternative treatments, and mental health advocacy. Call the Mind infoline at 0300 123 3393 (charges vary) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Need Urgent Help?
If you are concerned that you are developing or suffering from a mental health problem, we recommend you seek the advice and support of your GP as quickly as possible. You are not alone; please talk to someone you trust. Sharing your struggle can be challenging, but is often the first step towards recovery.
If your mental or emotional well-being quickly deteriorates, or you're worried about a friend or loved one - help is available. If you or a loved one is in serious distress, needs immediate help, and/or is unable to see a GP, you should visit your local A&E or crisis centre.
Source: Mental Health Foundation UK