Every year, Men’s Health Week raises awareness about men’s health. This Men’s Health Week, we’ve chatted to some men in print to find out how they stay well, both mentally and physically.
James Swann, Director of Client Services, Go Inspire
To help me stay well I aim for a balanced diet, regular exercise and a good night’s sleep. To recharge I look for things that are completely different to what I do in my day job – that’s the definition of relaxing for me. Because my role isn’t practical or artistic, this includes doing something with my hands – in my case, restoring vintage toys.
I make sure I have time either in my own company – or with my two dogs – as I have lots of interaction with others during the working day. And since I work in an office every day, being outside helps me to recharge, even if I am having to physically exert myself by walking, running or gardening. I also believe I need to be happy to relax, and it’s ok to be a little bit selfish in pursuing the things that make me happy, because those around me definitely benefit from a happier me.
Nathan Swinson-Bullough, Managing Director, ImageCo
I know that being a business owner can take its toll on my brain and mental health. I’ve hit burnout in the past and wound up in hospital following severe chest pains. I have taken lessons from this, and while I do need to learn to switch off more which I find very hard, I now have good solutions to help manage my mental workload.
Delegating work is important to ease the pressure, and having a good team around me helps massively. Regular exercise and gym sessions make me feel good too, and help to get rid of any negative energy. Reading is another good stress reliever, focusing my brain away from work pressure. And finally there is just getting away from it all by escaping to the countryside, coast or a foreign climate with my family.
Ben Roberts, Marketing Director, Roberts Mart and Co Ltd
For me when it comes to having a positive mind there is no better solution than the combination of fresh air and rigorous exercise. When faced with a challenge or issue at work, I will often lace up and go for a run at lunchtime, and generally find the solution while I’m out. If not, the issue will be somewhat less daunting when I do return. The change of scenery coupled with the uninterrupted time alone are a real escape from the office and all associated challenges and distractions.
Whilst I’m out running, I never forget to take my voice recorder with me. I will usually produce many positive ideas whilst out, most of which I would likely forget were I not able to record them on my way around one of my many routes.
Rob Henry, Managing Director, LDM
In the last few years I’ve started working with mentors and coaches who I can confide in about things that might be stressful. I use the gym and physical exercise as a way to destress and reset my mindset. Going on long walks with my wife gives me time to speak openly about anything that might be on my mind.
Work-wise it’s really important to me that we have an open-door talking policy, along with promoting the Printing Charity helpline. We carry out happiness reviews, time set aside to focus entirely on how we are feeling. We’ve found that within our diverse workforce all staff members benefit from and value this wellbeing focus.
During Covid, when running a business was even more stressful than usual, I really tried to focus on those things that took my head away from work. Spending more time with my family is the obvious thing, and I try and plan more that we can do together.
Before and after work I also have an important ‘detox’ time which put things into perspective. Every morning I walk our company dog Churro along a Peak District reservoir, which is a great way to clear the cobwebs and slot all things filling my head into the right place. At the end of the day I usually have a phone catch up with Luke and Claire, my core management team. We might have passed each other loads during the day but that 10-minute focused time really helps get things in proportion for us all and is a way for us to offer support to each other.
The final piece of my ‘mind reset’ is music, preferably loud, and with me singing – after all, no-one can see you through car windows! Since my days working in radio I’ve found music can really change my mood. My eclectic taste means usually there’s a tune to help manage my stress, and, in fact, if you pop on Spotify, I’ve created a ‘Forflagssake!’ playlist with some of those tracks on it. If you want to give it a go, enjoy – and apologies if you think my music taste is rubbish!
Data shows that men are less likely to visit their GP or a pharmacy, and can often feel they have to behave as if they are unconcerned about their health. This includes being less likely to access psychological therapies. The Printing Charity’s helpline is a free, confidential way for anyone working in our sectors to seek practical and emotional support quickly. To find out more, visit the dedicated pages on our website.