Whilst it is useful to managers to be able to spot the signs of symptoms of stress, take the pressure off, and refer workers to the right kind of psychological help if needs be, a lot of the ‘health structures’ that are needed to create a good foundation for wellbeing and health are missing in the construction industry. Poor working structures force workers into poor lifestyle choices that contribute to stress and pressure. For example:
- Workers living away from home in digs with no cooking facilities;
- Poor food choices on site;
- Economic pressures forcing workers to choose cheap junk food;
- Inadequate break times forcing workers into eating just once a day commonly;
- Culture of addictive habits – like smoking.
Diet is often the missing link in the stress spiral but without the structure in place to enable this to happen, it’s a difficult one to correct. Often it is around education of key choices and then the availability of those choices to hand that make a crucial difference.
Food and nutrition influence the stress cycle through:
- Food controlling Cortisol (stress hormone) through proper blood sugar control, which is key to managing stress.
- Caffeine – effects of caffeine on stress levels are well known. Caffeine causes real addiction with more and more needing to be consumed to get the same result.
- The Gut
What we eat has a direct impact on our gut and therefore our mood and our stress levels. We make most of our happy hormone serotonin in our gut which will have a direct impact on mood.
- Essential Fats
Numerous studies have shown the influence of Omega 3 essential fats on brain health (by and large fish oil). Our brain is made up of 60 per cent fat and to run efficiently we need this special type of fat. Poor diet contributes to deficiency. This fat is essential to the running of our bodies (clue in the title – essential).
Workers afraid to drink adequate fluids as its inconvenient to take a break – hydration is important for concentration levels (avoiding accidents). . .