Written on: 14 June 2022
Written by: Key Wellbeing
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Apprenticeships are a rewarding experience - not only do they provide a real insight into the working world, they broaden your skill set, allow you to earn while you learn and can help you to future-proof your career. BUT, there’s no denying that they can be tough.
For starters, there’s the challenge of combining studying for a qualification alongside work and getting both done on time. Along with greater responsibilities, little control over your area of work and often inflexible working hours.
Whether you’re just starting out or coming to the end of your apprenticeship journey, here’s our top tips on staying mentally strong along the way:
When just starting out in the working world we often assume we have to say yes to everything and anything our employer throws at us, even if it means damaging our mental health.
In truth, having rules or limits on what you are and aren’t willing to do in the workplace doesn’t make you sassy or too big for your boots. It can make you happier, healthier, and more productive - the ideal employee if you ask us!
A good place to start is by identifying what you really want and need to help you thrive in your apprenticeship. Are you happy with being contacted during your study time? Do you have the capacity for extra work? Would fewer meetings make you more productive?
Once you’ve identified your limits, you must communicate them clearly to your employer and team. If you’re offered extra work and are already struggling with your current load, you’re allowed to say no. Saying no is a powerful skill that will help you enforce your boundaries and avoid workplace burnout.
It’s all well and good setting boundaries, but to effectively protect your mental health, sticking to them is essential.
Rumour has it apprentices struggle with time management and use weekends to catch up with studies and assessments. This doesn’t surprise us given that you’re an employee AND a student all-in-one, but when do you ever get a break?
Breaks are so important when it comes to taking care of our mental health. Not only do they interrupt the cycle of stress that can lead to overwhelm, but breaks can also help us to think more clearly, restore energy and improve productivity.
Whether that’s a 30-second breather (you can try our guided one here), a ten-minute tea break or an hour’s walk around the park on lunch - make sure you regularly take time out of your busy working schedule to do things solely for you, especially on a weekend.
We’re not just talking about LinkedIn or other social media here, we mean building relationships with other members of your team by talking, listening and being there for others - as simple as that!
Work relationships are super important to our wellbeing - they provide us with happiness, security, a sense of purpose and support when times get tough. Having that solid support network is also a protective factor against stress, anxiety and depression.
Next time you’re at work, we encourage you to start a conversation with somebody new, arrange lunch with a colleague or simply ask a teammate how they’re doing, and see how doing so makes you feel.
To learn more about looking after your wellbeing at work, catch up with Key Wellbeing's exclusive, interactive workshop for Baltic Apprentices - check it out below (and stick around for the surprise finale!)