The saying 'a healthy mind in a healthy body' is a concept that links good mental health directly to physical exercise as an important or essential part of a healthy lifestyle. But this idea doesn’t take into account how a person’s own body image, which is by no means related to their actual physicality, can impact negatively on one’s welfare.

Preconceived ideas about our bodies that we’ve internalised from various sources can have 'profound implications for our mental and physical health. The opposite also seems true: the more comfortable [people] are with [their] bod[ies], the greater [their] overall wellbeing, and the less likely [they] are to engage in destructive behaviours.'

Body image is not only intersectional, but also socially conditioned by cultural values, parenting styles, schooling approaches, use of technology and advertising standards, spanning across gender, age, sexuality, ethnicity and so much more.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 emphasises the implications of self-acceptance and self-esteem as a crucial component towards a positive mindset, exploring the potential changes that will make a real difference and lead to a decrease in discrimination. Organised by the Mental Health Foundation, the annual movement takes place this week from 13-19 May.

The Lightbox has been at the forefront of promoting a holistic approach on wellbeing, from our exhibitions and our talks and tours, to passionately working with the local community and promoting equal physical and intellectual access to our building and programme.

We strongly believe that art can help unwind our minds and bodies and de-stress, as well as being a conduit towards open dialogue and action on issues of sociocultural importance. This is why this week we’ve taken the time to nourish our minds and our bodies, whilst exploring what it means to build a healthy workplace and avoid burnout.

We’ve partnered up with Woking Works and Nuffield Health which brought to The Lightbox a stimulating event on the subject of Wellbeing in the Workplace on 16 May 2019. The event covered a number of topics, including art and wellbeing, mental health in the workplace, and nutrition as a way to reduce stress.

Likewise, The Inspiration Space and Kinship Creative DC organised Space to Create, an annual collaborative event. On 17 May 2019, we hosted a soul-provoking experience merging art, wellness, business and action which kick-started with a private tour of Women in Photography: A History of British Trailblazers, followed by three thought-provoking talks and a networking session for small business owners.

Whatever your plans for this week include, we hope you approach #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek as an opportunity to unwind, reflect and practice kindness with yourself and those around.