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8 self-care tips for tradespeople

A business won’t run itself. Customers can be demanding, wanting jobs done yesterday and unconcerned about your need to juggle the other demands that go into running a business. Heating and plumbing installer and founder of Fergus, Dan Pollard, gives you eight tips to help you not just survive, but thrive.

As a business owner, you can be forgiven for feeling like there are not enough hours in the day, and if you’re not careful, stress can take its toll, and burnout can result. But show yourself some compassion because running a small business is one of the most stressful things you can do. Done right though, it can be one of the most rewarding. I know what it’s like to feel the pressure of running a plumbing and heating business, and here’s what I have learnt over the years to help me cope.

Nourish your body and mind

There’s truth to the adage “You are what you eat,” so consider what you put in your mouth. Give junk food a swerve and choose nutritious meals that provide sustainable energy throughout the day. Get sleep. Have an early night as much as possible. Sleep rejuvenates the body and mind, so try not to burn the midnight oil. Exercise! Get in the habit of exercising outside work. It helps relieve stress and will improve your overall well-being. Take breaks!

These small and incremental changes in your habits and lifestyle can make a significant difference to your life.

Share Your Burdens and Seek Support

Don’t suffer your worries alone and talk to people you trust. Speak to your partner, your friends and fellow tradespeople. Simply by talking through your worries and concerns, you can put them into perspective.

The saying, “a problem shared, is a problem halved” is a cliché, but it’s true. Bottling things up is one of the worst things you can do and makes you feel isolated and alone. Whether you need to vent or are looking for advice, sharing worries and concerns will provide fresh perspectives, potential solutions, and help you to put things into context.

Foster Connections and Live in the Present

Unlike a big multi-national, where there are lots of staff and a bustling office, running your own small business can be isolating. It’s easy to feel cut off and adrift. So, nurture the connections and relationships you have. Make time for friends, family and loved ones. Talk to them, spend time with them. Connect with those who live further away by making use of the technology we learnt to use during the pandemic, such as video calls.

If you have employees, talk to them too and foster a good and friendly working culture (see below for ideas on how). If you use social media, step away from it sometimes. You’ll find your mood greatly improves when you take the time for the people who matter in your life.

Seek Professional Assistance and Delegate Tasks

You were likely a tradesperson before you were a small business owner and you’re no doubt good at what you do. But you can’t do it all so if you have staff, don’t be afraid to delegate.

You run a business now and can’t do everything. Trust your employees and help them grow. They’ll be happier when they have a chance to develop their skills and you won’t be rushed off your feet. Running a business involves a hundred different skills and you can’t be expected to be great at them all. Seek help from professionals in the areas which aren’t your strongest, such as accounting, or website development.

Lead by Example

Promote well-being amongst your entire team and get them to embrace the self-care tips outlined above. An enjoyable work environment will reap benefits for you all.

Foster Open Communication

The construction and trades industries have all too often been characterised by a macho culture, where talk of mental health is seen as weakness. But it doesn’t have to be this way so encourage people to talk about their feelings. Make sure everyone feels heard and valued and then you will too.

Enhance Mental Health Awareness

Spot the signs of anyone suffering and don’t let colleagues suffer in silence. Ask after people’s well-being and take the time to care and they’ll care about each other, and they’ll care about you, too.

Provide Mental Health Resources

If someone is in trouble with their mental health, help them get the help they need. Create an environment where mental health is prioritised and valued. By following the tips above, you and your colleagues will feel healthier, enjoy life more, and find work more profitable.

For more business help and advice for plumbing and heating installers visit: https://fergus.com

Get hands-on with Fergus at InstallerSHOW. InstallerSHOW is the UK’s largest event for heat, water, air and energy technology professionals, heading to the NEC Birmingham on 27-29 June 2023. Register for your FREE entry pass today.