Looking After Your Mental Health: Support & Resources for Apprentices

Written on: 10 May 2021

Written by: Frances Hardcastle

Topic

[Apprentices]

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. While discussion around mental health should be encouraged every day of the year, awareness campaigns like this can be a great way to kickstart conversations, take the time to consider your wellbeing, and champion the work of mental health charities and other support organisations.

In that spirit, we're joining in the discussion and sharing our top tips on maintaining good mental health as an apprentice. In this blog, we'll look at ways to look after your mental wellbeing, boost your mood, and access help and support.

Look after your body and take care of your mind

You mental health is a huge part of your overall health picture. Your physical health can impact your mental health, and the other way around. Small changes to your daily routine, such as drinking more water, getting active, and fuelling your body with healthy foods can boost your mood and make a big impact on your health in general.

Physical activity can release endorphins and lower your levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). This can have a positive impact on reducing stress and anxiety and can even help you sleep better.

Of course, physical activity doesn't have to resemble anything from your school PE lessons if you don't want it to. Any activity that increases your heart rate counts as exercise. Whether you enjoy dancing, playing with your dog, gardening, swimming, skipping, climbing, yoga, hiking, jumping, running, lifting weights or cycling to get around - anything that gets you moving can benefit your mental wellbeing without a netball in sight.

Find out more about how to build exercise into your self-care routine with this great guide from the Mental Health Foundation.

Take the time to connect with nature

There's a reason that the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week in 2021 is Connect with Nature. Over the last year, lots of us have experienced dips in our mental health as a result of the pandemic - but many of us have also discovered how powerful the natural world can be for lifting negative emotions. 

As humans, we've evolved alongside the natural environments we have shaped over generations. However, we now spend most of our time indoors and the majority of our working day on screens. Technology has many positive uses, but sometimes it helps to unplug. 

Taking the time to explore the natural world around you can bring many benefits to your mental health and wellbeing. Whether it's listening for birdsong, identifying flowers in your local park, planting seeds, or photographing the sunset - immersing yourself in the sights, sounds, and smells of nature is a rewarding experience that can take you away from your worries. Trust me, there's nothing like smelling the air after the rain to make a dark day feel brighter.

Connect with nature and start your own nature journal with this free download from the Mental Health Foundation.

Tell others what you need to thrive

If you are experiencing stress, anxiety, low mood, or a situation is affecting your mental health, speaking to someone you trust can often help. If you feel that you need immediate assistance, or would like to speak to a mental health professional, there is a list of useful resources and contacts at the end of this blog.

For less immediate issues, such as anxiety at work or stress about your apprenticeship deadlines, sometimes it can be helpful to ask yourself what you need to resolve the root on your worries, and then communicate this to people who have the power to help. 

Often, people won't know that you are experiencing a problem until you tell them. Taking a breath, looking at a situation with fresh eyes, and asking for what you need to succeed can be a small yet effective way to prevent a stressful situation from taking over.

Where to go for mental health support during your apprenticeship

As an apprentice with Baltic Apprenticeships, you have access to a few different forms of support for your mental health and wellbeing.

Your Learning Mentor is a great point of contact throughout the programme. Learning Mentors at Baltic provide academic and pastoral support at every stage of your apprenticeship. They are there to provide advice and guidance and help you get the best out of your training experience. 

If you would like to speak to someone confidentially about your mental health and wellbeing, you also have access to our Mindful Employer helpline as a Baltic apprentice. This is a free, confidential helpline for independent support and guidance. You can find details of this on your course handbook or from your Learning Mentor.

Alternatively, here are some additional sources of help and support:

  • Mind: providing advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.
  • Young Minds: Mental health support specifically for young people.
  • Samaritans: whatever you're going through, you can call Samaritans any time for free. Support is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call 116 123 or contact them online.

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