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DC Reinventing Hub

Reinventing wellbeing: Mental Health Awareness Week 2024

In this blog, we hear from members of our members of our senior management team, Sarah Carver, Head of Retail Banking, Wealth & Insurance and Mark Aldous, Co-Head of Global Markets and Wholesale Banking Services, about how they perceive movement and fit it into their very busy lives.


Sarah has extensive experience in digital transformation, customer experience, strategy and change. She has worked broadly across the financial services industry including retail and private banking.

Sarah Carver
Head of Retail Banking, Wealth & Insurance

"Movement: Moving more for our mental health”

A plethora of peer-reviewed research papers point us towards movement as a way to improve both our physical and mental wellbeing. Every time our skeletal muscles contract, they send myokines (hope molecules) into the bloodstream that act as antidepressants when they reach the brain.  

A Dangerous Trend ... As early humans we used to work and move a lot to produce our food, then later we walked to markets to purchase it. When supermarkets arrived, we started driving to them and then walked around shopping for food. Do you see where we going with this trend?  

The prediction for online food delivery by 2028 reaches nearly 30 million people in the UK, 193 million in the USA and 347 million in India…

A Better Way ...We must consciously and consistently look for opportunities to add additional movement to our daily lives.  Let us make every step count because each step does count towards better mental and physical health.

In this blog, we hear from members of our senior management team about how they perceive movement and fit it into their very busy lives.  

Sarah Carver, Head of Retail Banking, Wealth & Insurance

When I was approached about writing this blog I chuckled a little as I don’t see myself as the ‘right’ person to be speaking about movement or fitness! I’ll often be found having a burger for lunch and the chances of me ever running a marathon are slim to none!  

However, it got me thinking around how we talk about fitness and how we often put ourselves and others in boxes as a ‘fitness fanatic’ or a ‘gym hater’ when in fact lots of people, me included, sit somewhere in between.  

In fact, when thinking about this blog I realised, on reflection I have a number of healthy, mindful, movement-based activities embedded into my week to maintain that all important balance without perhaps even realising it. So here are mine in case one sparks a positive new habit for someone else reading who also wouldn’t identify as a gym bunny!

Find your thing: I’m personally not a fan of gyms, I find them a bit intimidating and soulless, but I love sport, any sport in fact, and I adore being outdoors. I thought the DC boxing classes that were recently run in the office were brilliant. The mix of fitness, focus and the release of hitting something (!) at the end of the day was the perfect stress release! I also enjoy Pilates which I try and fit in on Friday mornings at 7am or at the weekend. When working from home, after work I will often be found in the garden playing football, rugby, cricket or tennis - no workout routines are needed when you have incredibly boisterous 5 and 7 year old boys who keep you on your toes! I’m also just naturally always on my feet as I can’t sit still for long, I love gardening and any form of manual labour! Last summer I moved a tonne of gravel, with my trusty wheelbarrow and a shovel and it took me a whole day but the brutal exhaustion at the end of the day was more fun than any feeling I’ve had in a gym! So don’t just think of fitness and movement as a specific set of things – it can be anything that gets you active and on your feet!

Build movement into your everyday: It’s really easy to be too busy and end up in back to back meetings but it’s undoubtable that daily (and hourly) movement is critical to your brain, body, bone and muscle health so it’s such an important thing to prioritise and not just leave until the weekend. A few of my hacks for this:

  • I always try to do a minimum of 30 mins of outdoor meetings. Whether as an opportunity to catch up with someone for a one-to-one walking around the wharf or just a 30 min countryside walk when working from home. I love walking and find it’s so useful to help me stop and think, rather than just succumbing to the latest email or teams message! You often find that 30 mins away makes you infinitely more productive when you get back to your next meeting as you’re refreshed!
  • I’ll always walk rather than tube where I can, plus walk-up escalators rather than standing to the side and with trips back and forth between the city and the wharf this can add up!
  • I love the movement function on the Apple Watch when working from home reminding you to stand every hour as someone that tends to get engrossed in what I’m doing. Albeit I’m a newish advocate post the DC charity three peaks challenge where I used it to track our progress.  

In the same way that lots of people work in different ways and those ways are unique to their needs. With movement and fitness it’s just the same. My advice would be to find something(s) that you enjoy doing and don’t see as a chore, all of mine on reflection is when the ‘exercise’ part is unintentional and is just a secondary benefit of me doing something else! Then find your realistic time-slots (and protect them fiercely!).

Mark Aldous, Co-Head of Global Markets and Wholesale Banking Services

Balancing Act: Navigating Busy Schedules and the Importance of Exercise
Finding time for exercise amidst a busy schedule is tricky and it can sometimes feel like an impossible task. In the midst of pressing work tasks, family commitments, and social engagements, fitting in a seemingly trivial activity like a run can seem like an impossible feat.  

It's easy to fall into the trap of believing that we're too busy to prioritise exercise or that the other things in front of us are too important to wait. The reality is often very different and it's during those hectic, jam-packed days that the power of exercise can have the biggest impact.  

Exercise an essential ingredient in both mental and physical health
I’ve grappled with the challenge of carving out space for exercise for many years, but I recognise the critical role of physical activity in nurturing both mental well-being and professional performance.

Research consistently demonstrates that physical activity can yield significant benefits for cognitive function, mood, and productivity. That quick jog or early morning exercise session may seem like a luxury we can't afford, but in reality, it's an investment in our well-being that pays major dividends.  

Setting and meeting goals
Despite regularly succumbing to the pressure of the tasks list, I have managed to develop techniques to try to counteract this and top of my list is setting a clear goal and committing to a plan to achieve it.  

Whether it’s a 5k run in the local park, a marathon or something more extreme it doesn’t really matter. The act of setting a target, and tracking progress towards it, provides that extra motivation required to lace up the running shoes and get out on the road and usually, I emerge with a newfound clarity of mind and an improved level of focus. Far from detracting from my productivity, exercise has become an indispensable tool for enhancing it.  

Rewards outweighing obstacles
So, while the challenges of fitting exercise into our busy schedules may seem daunting, the rewards far outweigh the obstacleand by reframing exercise not as a luxury but as a necessity for optimal performance, we can reclaim control over our time and improve our overall well-being.  

Support from Delta Capita
Delta Capita wants all our employees to feel proud of working in a supportive environment. Are you looking for a workplace that values employee well-being? Find out how Delta Capita is reinventing the workplace through employee-centric projects, and check out our latest vacancies.