Preserve your mental health

Preserve your mental health

ARTICLE  · By Timber Trade Federation · 14 April 2020 

It is without a doubt a challenging and unsettling time. Taking care of the mental health of you and your employees is essential. We talked to our members about looking after each other in the timber industry, and the importance of ‘keeping communication lines open’.

Many people in the timber industry would need to be on sites and interacting with customers. However, the pandemic has quickly brought construction to a slow crawl. Many employees are now furloughed, while those still working are doing so from home.

But there are many things we can do to care for our mental health during these difficult times in either situation. The NHS has shared tips for those working from home, as well as managing any feeling you may have of stress or anxiety. Below we’re sharing some of our favourites.

Create a routine — Making a to-do list of all of the things you want to achieve today creates a sense of normality, purpose and helps to make you more productive.

Break up your day — Find tasks that can help break up your day, whether it is changing your environment or undertaking a different activity.

Take care of your body — Eat healthily, get plenty of sleep and exercise daily. That could include conducting indoor workout classes, stretching and practicing meditation.

Help others — If you’re not under strict isolation rules yourself, and you’re in a position to do so, you can offer to run errands and collect supplies for people in need.

Stay connected — Utilise technology by staying in contact with colleagues, friends and family via phone calls, texts, social media and video conferencing.

Limit media intake — Stay informed about the situation via reliable sources but limit your news intake to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Prepare medical supplies — Ask your doctor for extended prescription supplies to tide you over for quarantine periods.

Fight boredom — Make the most of catching up TV series, read our great articles and publications or, if you are an employee of a TTF member you can undertake training in our TTF Academy.

Avoid burnout — If you are working, set strict limits to avoid becoming overwhelmed and ensure you have time to unwind.

Focus on the positives — Amplify good news stories, this will be over soon.

Take one day at a time — Try not to project too far into the future. Remember that these are temporary measures and you are not alone.

Our members offered some of their take home messages on how they are looking after themselves, their businesses, and their communities during this pandemic. We encourage others to share their messages both with the TTF and the wider timber industry.

Our members top tips:

Charles Hopping, President of the TTF and Chairman of Hoppings Plc

“Control what you can control and understand that this will not last forever.”

Charles Hopping

Simon Henry, Managing Director of Södra Wood Ltd

“Keep communication lines open, talk to people as much as you can to preserve your mental health.”

Chris James, Director of Nason Davis Ltd

“We are not alone; we are all in this together. Keep talking, keep smiling, and if you are working from home make your background funny to keep things fun and have a meeting a day with your colleagues that is unrelated to work.

Remember the real seriousness is people who are on the front lines.”

By taking it one day at a time and frequently contacting the people you love and care about the most, we will not only be able to fight the pandemic but also maintain our mental health.

Extra support: There are a number of helplines that can provide expert help and support for you or a loved one.