Construction loses more workers to suicide every year than any other industry across New Zealand and Australia.
Construction is an exciting and challenging industry but it faces a multitude of challenges for workers and their mental health and wellbeing. Contributing factors include long-hours, a stoic masculine environment and for some, uncertainty in job security. Adding to these factors (post the Covid19 pandemic) include a labour shortage, inflation and the rapidly rising cost of living adding to the pressure of home and work-life.
A recent wellbeing survey conducted by MATES in Construction has provided some very important mental health insights.
The results of the survey, conducted in September 2022, show that even though the pandemic is over the industry is still in crisis.
Many workers reported high levels of anxiety and lower levels of resilience.
Some insights from the 700 worker respondents:
Of the close to 700 respondents the following data was collected.
MATES in Construction NZ.
Pushing yourself up on the to-do list could mean less stress, improved overall health and a far greater quality of life.
Taking time to relax and de-stress can mean an improvement in your mood, brain function and memory. Relaxation will allow your mind and body to repair itself.
You will lower the risk of onsite accidents and anxiety while sharpening your concentration.
Making time for self-care
If you’re waiting for your schedule to open up so you have some time to indulge in a little self-care, you might be waiting for a while. To be successful with your self-care routine, you have to schedule it like you would anything else in your life. Prioritize yourself. Still don’t feel like you can spare the time? Try these tips:
Break it up. You don’t need to spend several uninterrupted hours per day on yourself. Of course, that would be nice, but it’s not necessary to see the benefits of self-care. Go for a walk in the evening after dinner. Turn off the radio during your commute home so you can think. Read a book or magazine that you’ve been wanting to read. Listen to Podcasts where you can learn more about your passions.
Wake up a little earlier. One area that most of us loathe to give up is our sleep. While sleep is important, if you are finding that you are not getting enough “me time,” you may benefit from waking up a few minutes earlier to have a quiet moment to yourself. Make yourself a good-hearty breakfast, prepare a healthy homemade lunch to avoid eating pies and foods high in fat, sugar and salt which are generally easily obtained near construction sites. Don’t short change yourself of sleep. Set an alarm to tell you to go to bed all that much earlier in the evenings. Sleep experts empathise that getting up at the same time every day is one of the best methods of regulating your sleep pattern so avoid irregular wake up times.
Make time to exercise. Choose something you enjoy. Part of any self-care routine should be to get your body moving. Think about what you love and enjoy doing. Then, prioritize that type of exercise. For some it may be lifting weights, for others it may be walking the dog, jogging or cycling. The key is to schedule regular movement in your day to day schedule. Cardio exercise will pump much needed oxygen to all of your organs while releasing endorphins which are the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins help relieve pain, reduce stress and improve your sense of well-being.
Ask for help. It’s not easy—but part of taking care of ourselves means recognizing when we can’t do it all. Ask your coworker to take on part of a big project. Look to get away from time to time on the weekends to spend time with friends, family and loved ones. Look to destress at the end of each day by confiding in a friend or family member, sharing your challenges and small victories.
Spend time in nature to reconnect with yourself, clear your thoughts and prioritise your wellbeing.
MATES in Construction NZ.
Aim to Thrive.