The impact of Silly Season on tradespeople’s mental health

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We’ve interviewed Fraser Peacock from Copper Ball Plumbing Services about Silly Season and its impact on the mental health of tradespeople. 

Alarming stats reveal a hidden problem: two people per day in the construction industry take their own lives, which is three times higher than the national average.

We’re now in the silly season of Plumbing and Heating which adds lots of stress and anxiety to the professionals in this field.

How did you start in the Plumbing & Heating industry?

My family has a plumbing and heating business in Scotland and I started working for my family when I left school. I stayed there for 17 years and then fell in love and moved to London.

I subcontracted for the biggest plumbing firm in London for 2.5 years that introduced me to the London dynamic.

For 2.5 years I have been on my own, running my business called Copper Ball Plumbing services in London

I’ve been in the industry for 22 years and I’ve had 22 silly seasons!

What would be your advice to tradespeople when they feel overwhelmed?

There’s a stigma that tradespeople have to be robust and tough. It’s a thing that you carry with yourself of being the problem solver to everyone. This is why, I think, professionals in this industry feel they can’t ask for help because they don’t want to be seen as weak. 

You need to make yourself approachable to your friends, family, and work colleagues to share with them how you feel. It’s OK to talk! One advice I would give to the tradies who are starting their career is to go to your boss and share with them how you feel and what you like and don’t like about your job.

How do you make sure you have time to appreciate the little things in life?

During the Silly Season, you are constantly in tunnel vision to get jobs done and customers satisfied. You get so focused on your job during the winter that you lose sight of things that are happening around you.

I remember a few years ago I was doing 6-7 jobs a day and working until it was dark. I walked by my mum's Christmas Tree and realised I’ve been missing that! I am very aware now about not losing sight of life because I’ve a family, I’ve a daughter. We’re all guilty of allowing work to take over too much because you have the pressure of money coming in and out.

As a wrap up, be aware of how you feel, make time for yourself, reflect on what is important for you.

Here are a few strategies to manage stress

- Getting regular physical activity
- Practising relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga or massage
- Keeping a sense of humour and cultivate optimism
- Spending time with family and friends
- Setting aside time for hobbies such as reading a book or listening music

Keep in mind that inactive ways to manage stress - such as watching television, surfing the internet or playing video games - may seem relaxing, but they may increase your stress over the long term. Also, be sure to get plenty of sleep and eat healthy.