Top Tips For Improving Mental Health

Put down your tools, make yourself a brew and take a seat because it’s World Mental Health Day – that’s right, it’s time for some real talk. Now, we know it might be a tad awkward but it’s time to address the elephant in the room… or rather, the Black Dog.

It’s been a strange and difficult year for everyone during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Most of us like routine and the recent restrictions on our lifestyle have disrupted that, whether it’s not being able to see extended family, go abroad, or take that weekly pilgrimage to the terraces. These changes have affected us in many ways but increases in anxiety and stress levels are common, so if you’re feeling it, you’re not alone. There’s sometimes a stigma within the construction industry against dropping the banter and talking about how you’re feeling, but it’s more important than ever to forget that and talk about mental health.

In 2019 it was recorded that:

  • 26% of the construction industry professionals thought about taking their lives
  • 96% said they were struggling with stress
  • 56% of construction industry professionals work for organisations with no policies on mental health in the workplace.
  • There is a silent crisis that affects many workers in the industry

The CIOB report says that it is almost guaranteed that COVID-19 will have made things worse in the industry.

In a time where we’ve been separated from one another, just as the days get shorter and the weather feels sub-zero, it’s crucial we stand together and help our co-workers, family and friends through this time. In light of current circumstances, we also want to celebrate the invaluable services our NHS have provided during this time and all others. Thank you, NHS.

So without further ado – with the aid of the brilliant NHS ‘One You’ online service – here are few things you can do to help you stay well for winter.

  • Eat Good Food

Now I know we all wish we could have a breakfast butty every morning, but it probably wouldn’t be good for the health in the long run… of course it’d be a crime not to have one now and then, right? In the meantime, why not whip out the chef’s hat and try a new recipe? Cooking a hearty meal for yourself and others really hits the spot, take the leftovers for lunch and make sure to put plenty veggies in there!

Physical health and mental health go hand in hand. Making sure you put the right fuel in your body can make all the difference, after all it’s what helps your body function and gives you the energy to get stuff done! If you need a nudge in the right direction for tips and recipes, the NHS has some great advice – check it out here.

  • Get Moving

You’ve probably seen this one a lot – well, that’s because it’s important! Having a gym membership is all well and good, but you don’t need one to keep moving – all you need is you. If you’re still on site then you may be quite active, but we promise that if you do something active outside of work it’ll be a lot more fun because you’ll be doing it for yourself. Trying something new will offer double benefit, maybe rock climbing or rent a canoe at the local water centre, but a simple long walk or riding a bike will also be good for the mind.

Whether you’re fit or not, there are loads of ways to get active. Maybe you could go for a run or even just a walk with members of your household or maybe your dog if you’ve got one. Maybe the odd kick about with a friend. There are plenty of online workout videos you can follow, or if that’s not your style maybe you could get your exercise by doing some work around the house, whether it’s vacuuming or doing the bathrooms – which also come with brownie points from your partner.

If you don’t like the sound of the above, check out the NHS better health page on how to get active.

  • DIY

Come on, you knew it’d be on the list! If there is one thing that is true in life, it’s that there is always some DIY to be done. It’s not like constructing something on site either – quick fixes at home can help boost positivity in a job well done.

Whether you’re thinking of getting stuck into a big project like a house extensionfitting a new kitchen or bathroom or maybe you’re thinking of getting your hands dirty outside and working on the garden, or even doing the odd job around the house like building a shelf or painting a room, they’re all great ways of keeping active whilst getting things done that will make you feel chuffed with yourself when you see the completed project.

  • Head to toe check up

So, it’s a touch harder to do this with everything that’s going on, but it’s still possible – and ever more important – to make sure you are in top shape. When was the last time you got your ears and eyes tested? What about a dental check up on those pearly whites? Do you know your numbers? Your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels can all creep up and not only affect your long-term health but your short-term mood. It’s important to keep that ticker of yours ticking!

To make sure you’re keeping in top form, you can also check out the NHS recommendations. If you have any health issues that need urgent attention, contact your local GP or dentist and get yourself an appointment, whether it be on the phone or in person.

  • Always be learning

We know you’re not in school anymore but hear us out. Learning something new is a great way to keep the mind active and occupied. It could be a new skill, a hobby, even a new language or maybe you are thinking of going into education to get some new qualifications, or maybe a career change (it’s never too late), but whatever it is you can’t deny the benefits of learning. Plus, it’s always more fun to learn when you do it on your own terms.

The NHS states the research has shown then learning new skills can boost self-confidence, raise self-esteem, help to build a sense of purpose and can help you to connect with others who share similar interests. Giving yourself even just half an hour when you sit down with a brew to read a book or an article online can make a difference in stress levels and can make you feel more fulfilled and happier.

  • Sleep

We can all agree that one of the best feelings in the world is when you hit that mattress and pillow after a long day – absolute heaven. Catching those Z’s are vital to our physical and mental health because it allows both our body and mind to rest in order to give us the strength to smash it each day.

It is recommended by the NHS that we get six to nine hours of sleep each night. If you’re struggling to get within these numbers or just have trouble sleeping, there are many things you can do to make it a little easier, such as having a shower before bed to regulate your body temperature, making sure to switch off the digitals at least half an hour before sleeping – with the exception using a meditation soundscape app which have also been known to improve sleep. For more methods, check out the NHS advice on getting a good night’s sleep.

So, there you have it! Remember if you are suffering with mental health issues, we want you to know that you’re not alone and if you are in deep distress or having any kind of suicidal thoughts, like BT said back in the ‘90s: “its good to talk”, the are several agencies where you can get immediate help and your GP is trained to listen and offer the right advice. If you are in need of urgent support, we strongly advise that you please get in contact with someone immediately.

There are so many ways to help yourself and others during these times, it’s important to encourage mental wellbeing, lift our moods and ease a bit of that stress, so stay well, stay safe and stay positive.