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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.