People who work in the construction industry are often unaware that their chosen careers place them at higher risk for depression and other mental health conditions. While you may be known for being a hard worker, the long hours that you spend on a construction site can eventually take their toll. Eliminating the stigma regarding mental health conditions among construction workers is the first step toward creating a better work environment. You can also use these four strategies to take care of your mental health, which can improve your productivity on-site.
1- Know the Warning Signs of Poor Mental Health
The first thing you’ll need to do is be able to recognize when you or someone else may need help. Someone who is struggling with a mental health disorder might suddenly experience a drop in productivity, or they may work extra hard to make up for their constant feeling of fatigue. If you are dealing with depression, then you may also lose interest in your former favorite activities. Feeling high levels of anxiety, unexplainable sadness or mood swings are other signs that you might need help addressing your mental health.
2- Practice Good Sleep Habits
As you may already know, it’s important to be well-rested anytime you operate heavy machinery. Making sure that your construction equipment is in top condition helps to reduce stress, and you can further take worries off your mind by making sure that you are mentally prepared to work. If you struggle with falling asleep, then you may need to make a few changes at home. Leaving your electronics out of your bedroom can help you resist the urge to stay up late scrolling on your phone or playing video games. You may also need to set a bedtime during the work week that you adhere to no matter what is going on. Getting adequate rest helps your brain recover from a stressful workday.
3- Implement Healthy Lifestyle Changes
Construction workers are also at higher risk for developing substance use disorders. Drinking alcohol to mask your mental health symptoms might work briefly, but this behavior tends to make things worse in the long run. Try to avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, and using illicit drugs. If you already struggle with substance use, then seek help from a professional or a support group in your area. You’ll be safer at work and feel mentally healthier as the substances begin to leave your system. Eating healthier foods and exercising can also help you to feel mentally stronger, even if you just take a walk or lift some weights during your lunch break.
4- Develop a Strong Support System
The temptation to avoid talking about your emotions may be strong, but sharing your mental burdens with someone else can help you to feel better faster. Reach out to your family members or other members of your support system to let them know when you are struggling emotionally. If you have symptoms of serious depression, anxiety, or another mental health disorder, then it is important to also reach out to a mental health services provider.
At some point, just about everyone struggles with their mental health. Whether you are grieving a loss, feeling burnt out, or need to work on your symptoms of PTSD, it’s important to prioritize your mental well-being. Getting healthier mentally not only helps you to do better on the job, but you’ll also find yourself looking forward to each new day when you experience greater happiness.