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Strategies for better mental health and wellbeing for FIFO workers and their families

Strategies for better mental health and wellbeing for FIFO workers and their families

Written by
Lauren Mason

Connection to family and friends when away

We all miss our family, friends and daily routine when we are away from home. If you are regularly away from home for work this is bound to have an impact on your mental health and wellbeing. Connecting with yourself and others is crucial to your wellbeing. See our top tips:

-     Try a nightly phone call just to check-in. You may talk for just a few minutes, however this can make a world of difference to your mental health and your loved ones. If you don’t have the option of calling, even a few messages can do their bit to lift the spirits!

-      It can be particularly tricky to go away if you or someone you care about is having a tough time. Use technology to stay connected to support. Apps like Oqea can help you and your support network stay informed and involved in the lives of your loved ones, as well as help you connect to professional support when needed.  

-     Make connection a part of your daily routine. Maybe you have a partner, children or close family at home. Make it part of your routine to send them a quick message and return to your phone at the end of a shift with news of what’s going on at home. Connection outside of work can reduce isolation and ensure you feel supported.

 

Reintegrating into home life on an off swing

Reintegrating into home life can be tricky, especially if you have children who have set routines and rules. Our top tips are:

-      If you have the option, have a few quiet days to rest after a long swing before getting back in to everyday life. Once rested you’ll be in a better shape to interact with friends and family and cope with the challenges of everyday life. When we are tired and depleted we are less likely to be able to regulate our emotions, making the likelihood of conflict and misunderstandings high.

-      Establish an at home routine. Many of us are used to having a set routine whilst working away. Having a lot of time and not much to do can be daunting and difficult to deal with, with some feeling a lack of purpose, less energy and low mood. By establishing a good daily routine at home you can get more purpose out of your day, feel productive and connect with people in your community.

-      Stay connected to a community. Whilst working away you are surrounded by a community of people (which has its own positives and negatives) which can bring with it a feeling of connectedness and purpose. When at home it could be a good idea to join a sporting club, attend regular fitness classes or join a group of people to engage in a hobby. Each of these suggestions will ensure you have regular contact with people that may have similar values to you, which for many is a source of joy and happiness.

Sleep

-      Sleep is one of the key pillars for good health, something you may not get adequate hours of when working away. It is important to implement a sleep routine when you are home (and away) and address any issues that may be occurring due to working night shift.

-      Sleep hygiene is an important part of getting a good night’s sleep. Sleep hygiene refers to any behaviors or practices that you complete to help you sleep well. Our most recommended practices are below:

-        Switch off technology after 7.30pm at night

-        Dim your lights to let your brain know it’s time to go to sleep

-        Go to bed around the same time every night where possible

-        Keep your bedroom slightly cooler than what feels comfortable and invest in some good sheets that help regulate your body temperature throughout the night

-        Make sure your room is dark to block out light from street lights, technology or other sleep disrupting sources.

Exercise

By know most of us know that moving your body is integral to our mental and physical health. Fitting in regular exercise into your week is important for your gut health, reduces stress and can improve your mental health. See our top tips below:

-        Exercise at the same time each day. By integrating exercise in to your routine you are more likely to keep activity up on a regular basis.

-        Pair your exercise with an enjoyable past time. For many people motivation can be maintained by pairing your exercise with something enjoyable like a coffee date with friends afterwards or time spent with the family pet.

-        Choose an exercise that is easily accessible, no matter the weather. Some of us get caught out with exercise that is dependent on the weather. Ensure you have a mixture of exercise options so that you are never stuck!

-        Why not exercise with a friend or join a sporting team? Both are great options to stay connected to yourself and a community 

Nutrition

What you put in your body impacts your mood and overall wellbeing. Certain foods high in saturated fats and sugar are proven to contribute to low mood and some mental health illnesses. Our diets should be balanced and include foods from many different food groups. See our top tips below:

-        Eat the color of the rainbow. Whether you are away or at home you will likely have access to fruit and vegetables. Many vegetables and some fruits contain fibre which maintains a healthy digestive system. Additionally, they contain minerals and nutrients that are important for the healthy functioning of the rest of your body. Make the most of these opportunities to integrate a little bit of colour into your diet. You will feel better for it!

-        Know your options. Most camps and offshore facilities provide a decent variety of foods, ranging from relatively healthy to foods high in saturated fats and sugars. Whilst it is fine to eat foods high in saturated fats and sugar from time to time, it is not always healthy to have them as part of your staple diet. Capitalise on breakfast which usually has a good range of eggs, oats and fruit to start your day right. If you have your own facilities in your living quarters and a regular swing consider potentially keeping a small blender away so that you can create your won healthy smoothies and snacks for in between meals.

-        Bring healthy snacks away to supplement our FIFO food diet

Strategies for better mental health and wellbeing for FIFO workers and their families

Connection to family and friends when away

We all miss our family, friends and daily routine when we are away from home. If you are regularly away from home for work this is bound to have an impact on your mental health and wellbeing. Connecting with yourself and others is crucial to your wellbeing. See our top tips:

-     Try a nightly phone call just to check-in. You may talk for just a few minutes, however this can make a world of difference to your mental health and your loved ones. If you don’t have the option of calling, even a few messages can do their bit to lift the spirits!

-      It can be particularly tricky to go away if you or someone you care about is having a tough time. Use technology to stay connected to support. Apps like Oqea can help you and your support network stay informed and involved in the lives of your loved ones, as well as help you connect to professional support when needed.  

-     Make connection a part of your daily routine. Maybe you have a partner, children or close family at home. Make it part of your routine to send them a quick message and return to your phone at the end of a shift with news of what’s going on at home. Connection outside of work can reduce isolation and ensure you feel supported.

 

Reintegrating into home life on an off swing

Reintegrating into home life can be tricky, especially if you have children who have set routines and rules. Our top tips are:

-      If you have the option, have a few quiet days to rest after a long swing before getting back in to everyday life. Once rested you’ll be in a better shape to interact with friends and family and cope with the challenges of everyday life. When we are tired and depleted we are less likely to be able to regulate our emotions, making the likelihood of conflict and misunderstandings high.

-      Establish an at home routine. Many of us are used to having a set routine whilst working away. Having a lot of time and not much to do can be daunting and difficult to deal with, with some feeling a lack of purpose, less energy and low mood. By establishing a good daily routine at home you can get more purpose out of your day, feel productive and connect with people in your community.

-      Stay connected to a community. Whilst working away you are surrounded by a community of people (which has its own positives and negatives) which can bring with it a feeling of connectedness and purpose. When at home it could be a good idea to join a sporting club, attend regular fitness classes or join a group of people to engage in a hobby. Each of these suggestions will ensure you have regular contact with people that may have similar values to you, which for many is a source of joy and happiness.

Sleep

-      Sleep is one of the key pillars for good health, something you may not get adequate hours of when working away. It is important to implement a sleep routine when you are home (and away) and address any issues that may be occurring due to working night shift.

-      Sleep hygiene is an important part of getting a good night’s sleep. Sleep hygiene refers to any behaviors or practices that you complete to help you sleep well. Our most recommended practices are below:

-        Switch off technology after 7.30pm at night

-        Dim your lights to let your brain know it’s time to go to sleep

-        Go to bed around the same time every night where possible

-        Keep your bedroom slightly cooler than what feels comfortable and invest in some good sheets that help regulate your body temperature throughout the night

-        Make sure your room is dark to block out light from street lights, technology or other sleep disrupting sources.

Exercise

By know most of us know that moving your body is integral to our mental and physical health. Fitting in regular exercise into your week is important for your gut health, reduces stress and can improve your mental health. See our top tips below:

-        Exercise at the same time each day. By integrating exercise in to your routine you are more likely to keep activity up on a regular basis.

-        Pair your exercise with an enjoyable past time. For many people motivation can be maintained by pairing your exercise with something enjoyable like a coffee date with friends afterwards or time spent with the family pet.

-        Choose an exercise that is easily accessible, no matter the weather. Some of us get caught out with exercise that is dependent on the weather. Ensure you have a mixture of exercise options so that you are never stuck!

-        Why not exercise with a friend or join a sporting team? Both are great options to stay connected to yourself and a community 

Nutrition

What you put in your body impacts your mood and overall wellbeing. Certain foods high in saturated fats and sugar are proven to contribute to low mood and some mental health illnesses. Our diets should be balanced and include foods from many different food groups. See our top tips below:

-        Eat the color of the rainbow. Whether you are away or at home you will likely have access to fruit and vegetables. Many vegetables and some fruits contain fibre which maintains a healthy digestive system. Additionally, they contain minerals and nutrients that are important for the healthy functioning of the rest of your body. Make the most of these opportunities to integrate a little bit of colour into your diet. You will feel better for it!

-        Know your options. Most camps and offshore facilities provide a decent variety of foods, ranging from relatively healthy to foods high in saturated fats and sugars. Whilst it is fine to eat foods high in saturated fats and sugar from time to time, it is not always healthy to have them as part of your staple diet. Capitalise on breakfast which usually has a good range of eggs, oats and fruit to start your day right. If you have your own facilities in your living quarters and a regular swing consider potentially keeping a small blender away so that you can create your won healthy smoothies and snacks for in between meals.

-        Bring healthy snacks away to supplement our FIFO food diet