Mental Health Awareness: How to Maintain Your Mental Health as an Engineer

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Engineering is, undoubtedly, a stressful career path to undertake due to the complexity of the job at hand, the requirement to keep up with ever-changing technical knowledge, and the pressures associated with the end-result of the work being carried out.

With this in mind, it may not come as a surprise to learn that mental health in engineering is nearing a crisis point. To highlight how severe the issue is, here are some key statistics pertaining to mental health and work in the technical sector collated by EqualEngineers in 2019:

  • 22.5% of engineers admit to having considered self-harm or suicide
  • 37.2% of UK engineers say their mental health is ‘fair’ or ‘poor’
  • 22% of engineers have had to take time off work due to emotional stress and mention health problems

In light of the added stresses from the Covid-19 pandemic, mental health awareness is more important now than ever. If you work in the technical field, it’s essential that you take steps to protect your emotional wellbeing. With that in mind, here are some mental health engineering tips, but of course, if you’re struggling and feel overwhelmed, speak to your GP.

Handling imposter syndrome

Imposter syndrome is commonly felt by high-performing individuals and occurs when they start to doubt their professional capabilities or begin to feel inadequate within their workplace and/or role. It’s common within the engineering sector due to the demanding nature of the job and the number of high achievers who also work within the field. It’s easy for this to eat away at your confidence and have a negative effect on your mental health, making it important for you to learn how to handle it.

Remind yourself of your qualifications and the fact that you are where you are based on your professional merits, meaning there’s no need to feel inadequate. If a mistake happens, try not to let it spiral and instead tell yourself that you’re only human and mistakes happen. Learning to control imposter syndrome can have a big impact on your overall mental wellbeing, so focus your energy here where possible.

Take breaks

Many workers are guilty of not taking their allotted breaks, especially those in the technical field, but if you want to avoid burnout and preserve your mental health, make sure you take your full lunch break and leave your work at work.

Friends and family

Your loved ones usually feel the brunt of your mental health problems, but they’re also typically the ones who can help the most. If you’re struggling, talk to them about how you’re feeling and make an effort to spend quality time with them whenever you can.

Practice mindfulness meditation

Is your mind constantly moving at 100mph? If so, practice mindfulness meditation. It will teach you a new way of looking at things and help you take back control. There are lots of mindfulness meditation courses, with mindful.org being a great resource for you to get started.

Exercise

Exercise is a proven way to boost endorphins and lower stress levels, so make a real effort to get active. That could be a 10-minute walk or a 60-minute gym session – whatever works best for you. Remember, any movement is better than no movement, and it all makes a difference.

Hobbies and passions

Everyone has hobbies and passions outside of work, but a lot of engineers get so caught up in their day jobs that they forget to relax and unwind, mostly because they don’t have the time. If you feel like all you’re doing is working, your mental health will suffer. With this in mind, make a conscious effort to reserve time to do something you enjoy at least once a week.

How BMS Performance Can Help 

If you think your current role is contributing to poor mental health, get in touch with BMS Performance to talk through your situation and find a new role that suits you more.

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