Promoting mental health by getting outside and getting physical

By Kellen Olshefski


In honor of Mental Health Month, folks are invited to don their green attire and step away from their desks and cubicles for the lunch hour on Wednesday, May 24, for a Wednesday Wellness Walk at noon around Veteran’s Park.

Elkhorn Area School District Community Resilience Outreach Coordinator Senta Holmes said the walk is meant to in part help promote the physical aspect of mental health by helping people to get moving, get outside over the lunch hour and recognize the importance of mental health.

Students at the high school actually participated in their own Wednesday Wellness walk the week prior, using the lunch hour to walk around the school’s track and promote mental health and wellness.

“Step away from your desk, get outside for lunch and use that physical and mental health,” she said. “Feel how good it is to be outside, to get some exercise, to walk away and gain a peace of mind, even if it’s just for 10-15 minutes.”

According to Holmes, physical activity can play an important role in managing and boosting your mental health.

“If you’re in an office and you’re working all day, staring at a computer screen, people feel that if they find some different scenery or a different aspect of what they’re working on, it refreshes their brains,” she said.

“It takes you out of your environment that you’re already ‘stagnant’ in, and there’s some light that shines through.”

When things become stagnant, Holmes said so does growth, both for physical and mental health.

“That goes for your brain and sitting in one place,” she said. “If you keep doing that and you don’t step away from that, it doesn’t grow. It doesn’t ignite those cells in the brain that go, this is something different, this is something good.”

While some might be fortunate enough to have coworkers that keep them accountable, help them get away from their desk and away from work for even just a few minutes a day, others aren’t.

“If you work in an office by yourself or you’re short-staffed, who can hold you accountable that you are taking care of yourself that way,” she said. “You’re hitting the grind and working hard, but you still have to take care of yourself while getting this stuff done and find a health way to do that.

“That is what I hope the Wednesday Wellness Walk would be for people.”

According to Holmes, many civil organizations in the area are even already planning on holding their meetings outside on May 24 in addition to attending the Wednesday Wellness Walk in Veteran’s Park.

“Again, it’s that different environment, that nature that ignites your brain,” she said. “It’s a happy place for a lot of people.

“The more people we get out there, the more building camaraderie, building relationships, building community while talking about mental health, it’s breaking that stigma.”

For more information or for more hands-on involvement in the mission of spreading mental health awareness, contact Holmes at or 262-741-9146.

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