Men’s health week advice, awareness, and the CAN DO challenge

June 14th is the start of men’s health week this year, addressing the physical, mental, and emotional health of men around the world. Awareness of men’s health is vital, particularly for male dominated industries such as construction and engineering. There is often a reputation surrounding careers in construction and on worksites that a level of ‘masculinity’ is expected, potentially leading to unhealthy work practices and wellbeing. This is why it is important to continue providing support systems for men, allowing for a new, and positive message to be spread as well as reducing the stigma surrounding emotional and mental health.

Wellbeing is highly supported among our teams at Highfield, with fitness opportunities like yoga and meditation classes in the office, as well as two trained mental health first aiders. We always aim to look after staff and provide as much support as possible; engaging in their wellbeing to create a positive and enjoyable work environment.

We thought it would be a great opportunity to speak to one of our consultants, Josh, who is very successful in his role and someone who is committed to looking after his health both physical and mental. Here are some of his tips!

||           What do you do to care for your mental and physical health?

I always do my best to make sure that I’m in a good headspace and can tackle any challenges that are thrown my way. I attend a CrossFit gym most days and compliment this with running, swimming, cycling or walking. As well as this, I try to find time in my day for reading/listening to books to make sure I’m always learning about new ways to deal with life!

||           How often?

Every single day I’ll make sure I do any or all of the above – these are my non negotiables and I’m pretty grumpy if I don’t do any of it. I guess that’s proof that it works!

||           Why do you do it?

These are the things that make me feel good. I think it’s great to always be learning and growing whether that is personally of professionally and I’m by no means the best at any of the above so it’s a journey that helps keep me motivated and mentally robust.

||           What challenges do you think men face in regards to their health (mental, physical etc)?

I think there is a lot of pressure for men to put on a brave face and not show weakness when in uncomfortable and unfamiliar situations. It is ok to ask questions if you’re unsure. I think it’s always a lot quicker to say you can’t deal with a certain situation than to struggle through it, get anxious about it and then not be able to do any of it. People need to understand it’s okay not to have all the answers and that they can’t always be good at everything all the time.

||           Do you have any advice for other men wanting to do more for their health?

Be brave enough to be bad at something new. Find something that interests you and makes you feel good/happy, obsess over it, go through the initial stages of learning and then continue to grow and excel. Maybe try it with a friend or someone that has similar interests – who knows, you could make new friends or join a new community of like-minded people!

Be selfish with your time. Time is finite and we only have a limited amount of it, don’t spend time doing things that don’t result in you being a happier, better version of yourself.

For international men’s health week this year, there is the CAN DO challenge which focuses on helping any negative effects this pandemic may have had on the health and wellbeing of men. With communication being such a main focus over the last year as we turned to working and living remotely, there is a desire to continue this drive for connection and extending it towards a more personal level. Discussing mental health worries at home and in the workplace will always be the first, and biggest step to take.

For each day of this awareness week, there is a themed task to complete for the CAN DO challenge to help our journeys back to stability and positivity. It is flexible and adaptable, allowing for creativity in how you choose to take part. This helps to keep the focus on ensuring men’s health is prioritised, while being achievable and accessible for everyone. Anyone can take part and it is designed to help reconnect people and get you active, improving men’s wellbeing.

#connectmonday

                Connect with other people. For example call an old friend that you haven’t spoken to since before lockdown, or check in on your neighbour and see how they’re doing.

#activetuesday

                Get out of the house and get your body moving. Take part in any form of exercise or activities to keep up your physical health.

#noticewednesday

                Have a break from social media, phones, and computers in order to take notice of the environment around you. This can be embracing nature, people, hobbies, etc.

#discoverthursday

                Learn something new. Read a new book, try a new skill, learn a new language (maybe in preparation for when we can start travelling safely again)

#offerfriday

                Do something for someone else. It’s been proven to boost mental health when we perform kind gestures for other people, whether that’s family, friends, or strangers

We often miss our surroundings as we get caught up in busy lives and routines, so it can be important to regain perspective and enjoy what’s around you or something you love. It easy to get caught up in our jobs without taking a step back to review our health, ensuring we have perspective and the chance to focus on what we need or want.

Mental, physical, and emotional health should always be cared for, but with stigma still surrounding these for men, it can be difficult to take the right steps. The idea of having to be ‘masculine’ often means the avoidance of expressing emotion and feelings, creating a damaging way of working and living. Embrace this week as a chance to reflect on your personal health and that of friends, neighbours, and colleagues. We can all work together to make an environment that is supportive and positive for men’s health.

We are carbon neutral!

After years of supporting the renewable energy industry, we took steps into becoming carbon neutral. After an analysis of our emissions, we have become a part of carbon offsetting programmes in and around the UK as we continue to move towards an overall reduction of the energy and carbon we produce. Urgent action is needed in order to care for and save our planet, and Highfield are excited to be a part of that as we pursue this journey of sustainability.

Why did we decide to do it?

There is no doubt that the planet needs us all to drastically reduce the amount of carbon and waste we are producing, sooner rather than later. We take our responsibilities as a company seriously, with a constant effort to improve our environmental and social impact. Over the years, we have made consistent small steps so that the actions we take have minimal negative effects, such as being a paperless company and ensuring lights and heating are switched off inside unused rooms. Alongside this. we have embraced remote working, helping to reduce the amount of Highfield team members who commute on a daily basis. 

How did we do it?

The first part in understanding how to reduce your carbon emissions is knowing how much you have and what areas are the most damaging. An assessment of the company allowed us to see exactly where we were using the most energy and creating the highest amount of carbon, so we could begin working on solutions to reduce them. This first step can be done independently, however, we chose to have Carbon Neutral Britain calculate it so we could be sure of the most accurate and detailed results. 

After some weeks of researching various companies, we chose Carbon Neutral Britain because they worked alongside you throughout the process of becoming carbon neutral, offering support and guidance at any stage. There are a wide range of companies keen to assist businesses, offering a range of packages to suit their needs. 

Once the carbon emissions had been calculated, we were able to decide on which offsetting portfolio we wanted and begin working on reducing the emissions we produce. This is currently an ongoing process as we aim to reduce the amount of unsustainable energy we use, instead of relying on balancing the environmental cost afterwards. 

What’s next?

Offsetting is a debated solution. It is a great option to counteract emissions that cannot be reduced or created sustainably, however, it risks creating other problems in the future. We want to be fully supportive of the environment and therefore continue striving to create as little carbon emissions as possible. It is a far healthier and efficient process to start with sustainable practices in the first place, rather than compensating it later on. Highfield are a trusted recruiter, so acting with legitimacy and honesty is important to us. Everyone has a responsibility as we all live and thrive on this planet, and as a company we are keen to do our part. 

Highfield are incredibly proud to be carbon neutral and even more excited to keep improving and making changes for a better world. Businesses are the third most emitting sector in the UK, below transport and energy supply, making up around 18% of carbon emissions. As a part of such a largely contributing industry, we aim to be a part of the progression to sustainability and green energy. A report from the government shows provisional estimates from 2020 of a fall in carbon dioxide emissions in the UK by 10.7% compared to 2019. This large decrease is primarily due to the pandemic and the lockdowns as it caused a reduction of 19.6% in CO2 emissions for transport, making up over half of the overall decrease from the previous year. 

We want to help lead the way to a sustainable future, taking action and responsibility to provide an example of what can be done as well as encouraging others to follow. Offering support for other businesses as we tell our story and collectively work for a brighter, greener planet.

Highfield are a Certified Carbon Neutral Business