Having a quiet moment, being outdoors and changing your environment are great for your mental health, but what happens when these are already part of your day job and you are still feeling low?
Pest controllers are just as likely as anyone else to suffer with their mental health. Anything can make people feel anxious and let’s face it, whether you’re working from an office or out and about treating pests, these feelings can easily be triggered. Work is still work, right?
As the weather gets warmer and all sorts of pests come out to play this might mean that your workload is starting to increase. There might be more pressures placed upon you or you might have something going on that’s completely unrelated to work that’s increasing your levels of stress and worry.
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), has a number of simple tips for getting back onto an even keel. They admit that some of these tips might sound small or silly, and the last thing you want to hear when you are struggling but it’s worth having a go and seeing if they can ease some of your anxiousness.
Take a few breaths, trying to breathe a little more deeply each time. Or you might use something like the 4,5,6 breathing technique to find some space and give yourself a chance to calm down. It’s simply breathing in for 4 seconds, holding for 5 seconds, and then exhaling for 6 seconds. It may feel a little forced the first few times you try, but it’s worth staying with it.
Whilst at work: You can do this absolutely anywhere and whenever you need it. Give yourself permission to take a few moments to breathe. It’s also something you can do without anyone being aware that you are doing it.
2. Focus on the here and now (AKA get out of your head):
Pause for a moment. What can you see? Hear? Smell? Focus on this moment and your immediate surroundings. Give yourself a moment to feel a bit more you.
Whilst at work: Now is the perfect time when you are out and about to notice what’s changing and starting to grow around you, especially if you are in a pretty setting (although perhaps not one for when you are treating pests at the tip!). If your location is a trigger though, perhaps you can find a spot on your break that’s away from where you are working that day.
3. Tense your muscles:
You’re probably thinking you already are, but consciously tensing your muscles and then releasing them can help us to feel a little more in control. Tense each muscle separately. Tense, then release, tense then release from head to toe.
Whilst at work: You can do this standing, whilst heading back to your van, whilst spraying even. Again, it’s something you can do pretty inconspicuously.
4. What would you say to a mate?
Imagine your best mate was feeling how you’re feeling now. What would you say to them? It’s pretty certain you’d be understanding, supportive and kind. So, don’t be too hard on yourself. Show yourself the same care you might show someone else.
Whilst at work: As a pest controller you are most likely out and about on your own for extended periods of time. Use some of this time in the fresh air to give your thinking brain a rest and say some nice things to yourself. This might be hard to do when you are surrounded by your work and trying to concentrate on dealing with an infestation but again perhaps have a short break or cup of coffee in your van.
We often think of distractions as a bad thing, but sometimes they’re what we need to give ourselves a break. Try not to sink into your feelings of anxiousness, do something different.
Whilst at work: Use your surroundings to your advantage, can you go for a walk on a break – and move away from your current environment?
If you’re finding things tough though, CALM is available to help, no matter what. Visit thecalmzone.net for support.