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With research from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) finding almost one in five adults are likely to be experiencing some form of depression during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s fair to say raising awareness around mental health has never been more important.
With people working in the trades under more pressure than ever to maintain a constant stream of business, it’s unsurprising many electricians are likely to be suffering more than most.
Following World Mental Health Day, electrical wholesaler ERF has teamed up with environmental psychologist and wellbeing consultant Lee Chambers.
Together they have produced a list of six great ways you can help to tackle your mental health issues.
Why are mental health issues prevalent in the electrical industry?
With suicide being the biggest killer of men under the age of 42, it is sadly unsurpring that male-dominated industries are plagued with people suffering with mental health issues. While there is no specific cause for all mental health problems, there are often a number of contributing factors. In terms of the electrical industry, one big factor is the number of people who work alone on a regular basis. With no one to talk to or laugh with, it is easy to feel down and become isolated.
Another reason relates to the high rate of self-employment. Having such responsibility can put a lot of pressure on people and leads to electricians finding it difficult to switch off and escape from work. If you’re struggling with your mental health, here are a number of ways you can try to tackle your problems.
Stay in touch with friends and family
One of the main factors contributing to poor mental health among workers in the electrical industry is the number of people who work alone. Due to busy work commitments many people can end up feeling cut off and isolated. A study by HR magazine found 17.8 per cent of people said working alone contributed to poor mental health, highlighting this exact issue. As a result, it is important you stay in regular contact with friends and family. Simply chatting to people is a great way to improve your wellbeing. You also shouldn’t be afraid to discuss any issues you have, and opening up to those closest to you can help to take a weight of pressure off of your shoulders.
Exercise is one of the best ways to lift your mood. While many of us may not feel like exercising after a long day at work it can go a long way to relieving any stress you might be feeling. One of the great things about being an electrician is that you work in different places all of the time. Next time you finish a job, why not spend half an hour walking or running around a nearby park to explore the local neighbourhood? For electricians that spend a lot of time indoors, getting out into nature and sunlight is vital, especially in the winter months.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that people with mild to moderate depression take part in about three sessions a week, lasting about 45 minutes to an hour over 10 to 14 weeks.
Maintain a healthy diet
The importance of fuelling your body correctly cannot be understated. While having a job which means you’re constantly on the go can make maintaining a healthy diet difficult, it is critical in ensuring your body functions in the most effective way.
Preparing lunches and evening meals at the weekend is a sure way of guaranteeing you eat well for the week ahead. You should make sure your meals contain a good mix of protein, fibre and dairy. As well having your five portions of fruit and veg a day, you should also make sure you drink plenty of water. Six to eight glasses a day is still recommended.
Seek help from a specialist
Although many of us think we are best dealing with personal problems ourselves, this attitude needs to change. It takes a lot of courage to ask for help and that is exactly the right thing to do. If you’re feeling particularly down or have felt low for a period of time, there are a number of specialists you can speak to. These include:
- Samaritans on 116 123 for 24-hour confidential, non judgemental emotional support
- Your local GP and ask for an emergency appointment
- You can also call 111 out of hours who will help you find the support and help you need
No matter how big or small your problem may be, you should never feel you need to go through difficult times alone. Take the first steps towards recovery by reaching out to people who can help.
Have a change of scenery
It can be very easy to become bogged down by the various responsibilities you have so breaking your day-to-day routine is a simple but effective way of improving your wellbeing. Whether it be booking a holiday or simply visiting a place you’ve never been to before, taking the time to remove yourself from your usual environment can be really beneficial. If you’re working in an area you’ve never been to, why not visit the local cafe for lunch or head to the pub for a pint at the end of the week.? You never know, you might just end up picking up some new business there as well.
Take part in an activity you’re good at
From rock climbing to 5-a-side football we all have differing ways we like to escape from work. Although there are times when we have to put in extra hours, we must also remember to look after ourselves and find the time to get involved in the activities we love and find joy in.
Team sports are particularly good as they allow you to interact with teammates and enjoy each other’s company. Having said this, your main focus should be on finding an activity which puts a smile on your face and gives you a sense of accomplishment when you achieve a particular goal. For example, if you’re into golf, why not set yourself a target of not three-putting throughout a round of 18 holes.
While many of us are aware of the importance of looking after our physical health, a lot of the time we neglect our mental health. The key is recognising you don’t have to tackle problems by yourself and someone is always there to help. Having the courage to talk allows other electricians to feel like they can speak about how they feel too. So whether it’s reaching out to those closest to you or a charity like Samaritans, finding support is easier than it ever has been.
Six ways electricians can tackle their mental health problems
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