It is said if you have your health, you have everything. Many times this is thought of as physical health. But your mental health is equally important to provide you with perspective, joy, energy, and the ability to tackle your work tasks – and your life – without struggling through depression and anxiety.
I offer two things here for consideration and support. First is a practice public speaker and executive coach Chester Elton, author of biweekly digital publication The Gratitude Journal, mused about during a recent bout with COVID-19 (yep, it’s still around). The second is a video series that Procore and construction’s leading video channel The B1M are partnering on to raise awareness about mental health in the construction industry.
The power of pause and thoughtful reflection
In Elton’s September 14, 2023 entry in The Gratitude Journal a newsletter you can subscribe to on LinkedIn, he found there was an upside to the 10 days of isolation he had to endure. “I found that the time forced on me to just sit, think, and reflect was a good thing,” he said, using the downtime to ponder his life.
“A dear friend of mine, Hortense le Gentil, wrote in her latest book The Unlocked Leader that reflection is an essential part of the daily ritual for the best leaders,” he wrote. “To start the day and end the day in reflection is essential if we want to be able to make real progress and achieve goals in work and life that really matter. I agree. And this is not just for leaders, but for everyone.”
He references Eamon Tuhami, CEO of Motivii who values the skill of reflection because it can help us navigate through good and bad times. “A simple moment of reflection helps us connect our minds with our feelings; in other words, connect what’s been going on around us with what’s going on in our heads and hearts,” Elton wrote. “There have been many recorded benefits to this in reducing stress and better mental health.”
But, like other things that are good for us that we let slide, there are reasons why we don’t do it: we are busy or don’t have the time, we don’t see how it can help or how we can get started or just plain don’t want to add one more thing to our to-do list.
Elton says asking the right questions can guide us to thoughtful answers. And writing it down – in a journal, notebook or phone – anything you can refer to often is useful. He suggests these questions to spur the reflection process:
- What was I grateful for today?
- What big lesson did I learn today?
- What did today teach me?
- Who am I grateful for today?
- What am I looking forward to tomorrow?
He recommends looking back at the end of the week and do the same reflection for the week itself. And then again at the end of the month. It’s five-minute way to gain perspective “on where we are going, how much progress we have made, and where we need to go from here,” he writes.
Procore and The B1M: get talking
Procore is a leader in construction management software, based in Carpinteria, Calif. A company goal, as founder and CEO Tooey Courtemanche stated on the corporate blog at blog.procore.com, is “to improve the lives of everyone in construction.”
Courtemanche points out that construction has the highest suicide rates among occupational groups in the U.S. and the U.K., and wanted to do something to reverse that trend and support those in the field.
So, Procore partnered with The B1M (www.theb1m.com), construction’s leading video channel to “raise awareness about mental health through a global campaign, ‘Get Construction Talking’” which you can watch at https://youtu.be/9VYKPu6UYvc.
Just talking about mental health issues, struggles and challenges may sound like a simple thing but Fred Mills, the founder of The B1M, is convinced that open discussion, resources and supporting construction mental health nonprofits can make a difference. It is working with several charities to address and improve mental health: Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention, The Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, MATES in Construction and Construction Sport.
For more information on improving mental health in construction, visit getconstructiontalking.org.
Editorial Director and Senior Writer for TileLetter and TileLetter ARTISAN
Lesley Goddin has been writing and journaling since her first diary at age 11. Her journey has taken her through a career in publishing and publicity, landing her the editor position of TileLetter and its special publications in 2006. Her goal is to educate, inspire, recognize and encourage those in the tile industry -- especially the tile and stone contractor. Other interests include the soft, purring marvels known as cats, labyrinth walking, drumming and percussion, and a range of spiritual, musical and artistic pursuits.