Last week was Men’s Health Week (June 15-21). Registered Master Builders Association president Darrell Trigg says you look after your vehicles and site equipment — what about yourself?
Men’s Health Week got me thinking about some recent presentations I have done around Psychological First Aid (read my article, Building Today April 2019).
In the above article I introduce the MANERS Model as a first aid tool kit for immediate intervention if someone is experiencing a personal crisis.
The ‘S’ in MANERS represents Self-Care, the principles of which apply not only to men but equally to women as well.
Whether you are in the construction industry or not, the same principles apply to maintaining a balanced, healthy, physical and psychological well-being.
The goal of self care relating to physical and psychological well-being is to encourage all people to be involved with ongoing self-care, and to minimise the likelihood of reoccurrence of symptoms.
Why should we maintain continual self care?
• To understand our own symptoms.
• To ensure our own health and well-being is looked after.
How can we do this? What does self-care look like?
• Maintain a healthy lifestyle, including good levels of sleep, exercise, nutrition and work/life balance.
• Identify our own trigger factors, and know when we’re most vulnerable.
• Spend time with people you value.
• Talk to someone you trust.
• Access additional support if you need it.
What’s your score?
I recently did the What’s your score? test on the Mens Health Week web site —
My score was 46 which indicated the following:
“Keep your health in the forefront of your mind. It is important that you book in for your yearly men’s health check and discuss all age-appropriate health risks with your GP. Men’s Health Week is a great time to start being proactive with your health.”
The point of the survey is the lower the score the better. When I looked at the suggested items I was not doing, they were all mainly around regular health check-ups:
• Have you ever been for a general men’s health check-up when you are not sick?
• Have you spoken to your doctor about your prostate?
• Have you spoken to your doctor about your bowel cancer risk?”
These are all incredibly important questions, but ones that I have not really considered.
Soon after that, I got a reminder that my ute needed to go in for a warrant of fitness and service check.
That was when the penny dropped that we regularly seem to pay close attention to ensuring all of our vehicles and complex site equipment get serviced, tagged and maintained.
But the most complex machine of them all, the human being — me — gets little or no attention or service at all!
Warrant of Fitness
I know friends and colleagues that go to the doctor for check-ups/warrant of fitness checks on a regular basis — not just when they are in pain or feeling unwell. This makes sense as it is proactive rather than reactive.
I cannot encourage you enough to start regular check-ups. My best advice is to do this annually, not just when you feel unwell — perhaps celebrate your birthday with a check-up!
Registered Master Builders have been sponsors and supporters of Men’s Health Week since its inception.
As a membership organisation, the RMBA’s key aim is to help members build better businesses. But it’s no good having a great business if your health and well-being is suffering.
It’s important to us as an organisation to support all efforts to get the message out about personal care, to break down the macho mantra, and to help all men in the industry understand it is not a sign of weakness to get a check-up.
Look for ‘signs’
We need to be self-aware, meaning that any signs of change from our regular “norms” need attention, with the aim being to prevent premature illness.
I recall many years ago when I was building a new house on my own. I felt unwell, thought I would be fine and just kept pushing on, as I needed to work to get the next progress payment.
I got to the point where I was so weak I could hardly lift a hammer, and ended up in hospital with advanced pneumonia that took a long time to recover from — and put us in a worse position.
Our health doesn’t just belong to us, it belongs to our family!
Please remember we have only one version of ourselves, and it is up to us as individuals to be the best version of us that we can be. Stay safe and look after yourselves.