With a high percentage of electricians either self-employed or accustomed to working alone, talking about and improving mental health can be particularly challenging. It is no surprise that many in the industry struggle.
While awareness around the topic has continued to grow in recent years, there is still a lot more work that needs to be done in order to eradicate the stigma attached to these illnesses.
Together they have produced a list of six helpful techniques you can utilise to improve your mental health on a day-to-day basis.
Take a break from the news and social media
With so much news and information at our fingertips, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by the volume of information we are consuming. Particularly with social media, the news is mixed in with many different opinions and can become clouded along the way. There are also no natural stopping cues on social channels, meaning you can easily scroll for half an hour when you only intended to have a quick look.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with environmental factors and being influenced by opinions on social channels, then try setting time limits on your phone, or perhaps logging out every time you have finished looking. This means the next time you try to access these applications on your phone, they aren’t quite as easy to go on to.
With regards to the news, staying up to date with national developments has never been more important than during the coronavirus crisis. If the constant stream of news is too much, however, try to limit news consumption to once a day. Allocating a set time to do this helps you to feel more prepared to take the information in.
As a nation we are all becoming more aware of the positive benefits of exercise on not only our physical health but also our mental health. The rush of endorphins which we experience after exercising is addictive and can leave you feeling more energised than before, so exercise is always something to try if you are struggling. Even a daily walk can have huge benefits on your mental state and mood. If you find it hard to fit a walk in, you could try getting up early and going before everyone else is up, or how about a walk and talk where you walk whilst on the phone to a customer or friend.
One of the best ways to stick to being active is to include exercise as part of your daily routine. For example, going for a walk every lunchtime or perhaps parking as far away from the supermarket to enable you to get as much fresh air as possible.
Due to the current restrictions, visiting gym facilities is more difficult in some areas compared with others, as a result, anything you can do outside to get active should be encouraged.
Be mindful of what you eat and drink
This is perhaps another habit changing tip, but the saying ‘you are what you eat’ really is crucial here. Our body takes the energy it needs from the food and drink that we consume and if you are eating on the go, in between jobs, or enjoying a convenient takeaway a few times a week, it is possible that you are feeling the effects mentally, without really knowing why.
It’s back to basics but try to make sure that you are getting your five a-day. Also, make sure that you are drinking plenty of healthy fluids, ideally water, but fruit juices and low sugar drinks are fine in moderation.
One to watch out for is caffeine. Many of us love a morning coffee and it can be tempting to rely on it to wake us up but pay attention to the timing of the last coffee of the day. Caffeine can affect your sleep, which will in turn affect your mental health.
Finally, be mindful of your alcohol intake. After a busy week of customer visits and jobs it can be all too tempting to have a cheeky beer on a Friday evening, which may then turn into many beers. Drinking in moderation is manageable but if you are feeling mentally drained, alcohol may act as a depressant and leave you feeling worse after the initial relief.
Keep a note of how you feel
Building awareness around how you feel is key to identifying any triggers which may lead to you having a negative downturn in emotions. You could keep a note on your phone of how you feel each day and jot down whether you exercised, talked to a friend, ate well or had a drink etc.
There are also several apps that are handy for helping you keep track of your mood and mental health over a period of time. Check out Moodpath as a mental health tracker app.
It can be useful to look back over these notes when you are feeling low, to remind yourself that the feelings are temporary, and they will pass.
Spend time outside
This tip follows on from getting active but is more about just being outside. Obviously, if you can combine being active and being outside, then brilliant, but even just spending time outside whatever you may be doing can still have huge benefits. This is particularly important for electricians during the winter months who spend a lot of time indoors.
Simply being outside can help us gain perspective. Admiring the beauty of the natural world, the space above us in the sky, feeling grounded to the earth. All these things can help us to feel both free and connected to nature at the same time.
Perhaps you can take a walk to a local park and sit on a bench where you can people watch or keep an eye out for some local wildlife. Anywhere with running water is also good and can be calming.
Talk to someone
Finally, talking to someone about the way you are feeling and the struggles you are facing can bring huge benefits. Awareness of mental health issues continues to grow, but the more we can all share about the difficulties we are going through, the more we will be able to encourage other electricians to speak about how they feel also.
Talking to someone may mean a trusted family member or friend or perhaps it means seeking professional help and talking to a mental health expert. This can provide focus and guidance on how to deal with your challenges and let you know that you are not alone in your struggles.
Samaritans can be contacted at any time for FREE on 116 123.