Looking after your well-being as you return to work

At the beginning of lockdown the Scaffolding Association released some Guidance (SIGNS) on physical, mental and social well-being.

But with lockdown starting to be relaxed, sites starting to reopen and the industry returning to work; the SIGNS Guidance remains as relevant as ever.

Here we have a look back at how the SIGNS Guidance helped during lockdown and highlight the importance of well-being as we leave it and enter the ‘new normal’.

Mental Well-being

  • Stick with routines: routines become a cornerstone for our well-being, they create a sense of stability, so as you go through the transition to the ‘new normal’ make sure you install some healthy routines into your day; such as regular sleep patterns.
  • Stay correctly informed: we are living through an ever-evolving situation, keep informed from trustworthy sources and resist the urge to obsessively check the news; this can be detrimental to your mental health; once or twice a day is enough to remain informed but not bombarded.
  • Promote positivity: this crisis has brought out the best in many people, with a strong sense of solidarity and community spirit; try looking for these good news stories, ideally from somewhere local to help bring the positivity closer to home.
  • It really is OK to not be OK: these are unprecedented, unnerving and troubling times; everybody is going to react differently to the situation, always remember that you are allowed to have concerns.
  • Be productive but give yourself a break: be aware that it is human nature to not cope well with change. Upheaval to normal routines are emotionally draining in any circumstance, the situation that we are in is unprecedented and comes with additional fear, stress and anxiety.
  • Make use of available resources: Mates in Mind, The Construction Industry Helpline and the Samaritans, are a few of many great resources available to you.

Physical Well-being

  • Exercise: the once a day exercise allowance, became a lifeline for many during the lockdown. Not only was it a much needed change of scenery, but raising heartrates and releasing endorphins became a great way of coping with the anxiety and stress caused by the outbreak.
  • Nutrition: During periods of stress it is normal for eating habits to be one of the first things affected. During lockdown some people, understandably, started to snack more and ‘comfort eat’ whereas others used their extra time to immerse themselves in creating healthy culinary delights. Either way, as your activity levels change as you return to work, it’s important to adjust your nutritional intake accordingly.
  • Hydration:  both our bodies and brains cannot function properly with, so regardless of if you are returning to work onsite or in an office, you need to hydrate properly.
  • Sleep: Being well rested is fundamental to your overall well-being; getting the right amount of good quality sleep has a significant impact on how you feel and how you cope with your day to day life.

Social Well-being

One thing that has come across throughout the lockdown is that our Social Well-being, which is often overlooked, is vital.

  • Embrace technology: most of us embraced technology such as the varies forms of video calling during the lockdown, being able to see the person you’re talking to can make a significant difference to how the communication feels. As it stands, social interactions are still limited, so make sure you continue to embrace these technologies to keep on top of your social well-being
  • Nurture relationships: I think we can all safely say that relationships, of all kinds, have been tested during the Covid-19 outbreak. Whether that’s having to make time to connect with people you would normally see regularly, or having to adjust to relationship dynamics where you are now spending the majority of your time in lockdown together, these were, and still are, testing times for all relationships. Relationship require work and learning how to nurture them properly is important.
  • Look out for each other: be aware that this has been a more difficult time for some than others, make sure you check in with people to see how they are doing.
  • Socialising doesn’t have to be personal: remember, if you are struggling with feeling alone, your social well-being can be boosted in many different ways, just hearing other people having conversations can help, such as listening to podcasts and talk heavy radio stations.

And finally, but most importantly, just be kind to yourself and others!

You can still download the full SIGNS Guidance documents for free from the Scaffolding Association website: