Earlier this year Happiful joined forces with RED to bring people together with a shared purpose: to move for our mood and mental health. Now, we’ve got our collective sights set on 2022 and getting ‘out there’ again, with realistic everyday activities
As I write, autumn is just around the corner. I’m imagining you’re reading this article with brilliant blue skies, leaves beginning to turn golden, and the last of the lingering sun on your skin. Right now, January 2022 might feel pretty far away – but it’s never too early to make plans your future self will thank you for.
One way to do this could be by taking part in a challenge that will motivate and see you through one of the bleakest months of the year, and beyond… If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, you’re in luck! Happiful is signing up to RED January once again, to promote movement for mental health and mood management – and we’d love you to join us on this journey.
What is RED January?
Five years ago, founder Hannah Beecham started RED January after witnessing the transformative effect regular exercise had for her mum, who was recovering from a period of severe depression. Hannah set about developing an initiative to help others, too, with a mission to make it inclusive, provide daily support, and a friendly community.
With January often seen as a time for new beginnings, but when resources are sometimes low, and the isolation brought by shorter, darker days can be hard, Hannah recognised this as a perfect time for the challenge to start. Those taking part would not only have the opportunity to connect with others across the country, but they’d focus on mood and movement throughout the month, and have the option to raise funds for a mental health charity to help others along the way.
Fast forward to 2021, and now tens of thousands of people take part every January. RED’ers continue to be supported by the uber-friendly online community, as well as Happiful’s team of experts who lend professional advice through webinars, podcasts, and other content, to assist with mindset, keeping self-acceptance high on the agenda, and celebrating even the smallest of wellbeing wins.
Realistic everyday movement
Plans are already well underway for 2022, with winter warm-up routines to get us in the mood to move come the new year. This year’s guiding theme is ‘realistic, everyday actions’; focusing on achievable and consistent activities that help us feel better on a daily basis.
So, where do you start? Here, Hannah kindly shares her own, well-practised methods of motivation for your inspiration.
“The key thing for me is preparation,” she explains. “That might mean putting my running clothes out before I go to bed, or organising a work meeting in a place I can walk, run, or cycle to and from. I also like to try new forms of movement, and book sessions in advance so I have something to look forward to.”
Hannah also takes inspiration from fellow RED’ers. “I’ve heard about great realistic everyday examples of movement that can easily be incorporated into the working day. From doing squats every time you boil the kettle, to encouraging walking work calls or meetings. There’s just so many creative ways to get your movement in on a daily basis.”
Realistic, everyday… and fun
5 minutes a day
Coffee, squat, and bicep curl. Grab two large tins or bottles, and work those arms and legs while waiting for the kettle to boil. If this isn’t possible for you in terms of movement or ability, you can adapt by adding in a different exercise that gets your heart rate up.
15 minutes a day
Make an appointment with dance – morning, afternoon and evening! Three songs, three opportunities to get your blood pumping and your mood lifted. Set an alarm on your phone for your daily dance appointments, and treat them as you would a work meeting. Show up and throw some shapes!
Up to 30 minutes a day
YouTube lucky dip. Type in the movement you’re in the mood for and the time you have – ‘stretch 15 mins’, ‘dance class 20 mins’, or ‘yoga 30 mins’ – and try the first video that catches your eye. Keep mixing it up!
Pick a podcast and walk. Walking, or moving briskly in a way that works for you, while listening to a full podcast, is a great way to move while being entertained, inspired, or educated.
Registration for RED January 2022 opens on 4 October. We’d love you to join our mutual mission to improve our mood and wellbeing through movement, and you can also raise money for Sport in Mind should you wish to! Visit redtogether.co.uk and do that thing you future self will thank you for…
To find out more about how movement can support your wellbeing, visit counselling-directory.org.uk