The construction industry is stressful with long working hours and constant pressure to provide quality outcomes on tight timelines. Phillipa (Pip) Seldon, Construction Operations Manager and Founder of the Healthy Tradie Project, knows that better than most.
"I woke to a midnight phone call," Pip recalls. "Nothing in this world can prepare you to hear those words."
"I was struck by the devastating effects of suicide when my eldest brother Dale tragically took his own life in 2009," she shared.
Pip channelled her grief and experience in the construction industry into creating a new approach to fostering physical, mental and emotional health for trades men and women at work. "As an industry, the more we talk about mental health, the more we break down the stigma associated with it," Pip said.
How to Stay Healthy As A Tradie In Australia
"And as a tradie, your body is your best and most important asset."
The Healthy Tradie Project is based on the philosophy of movement, mindfulness and nutrition. The Project's mission is to work with tradespeople and construction industry leaders to prioritise workplace wellness.
Pip and team now deliver workshops on job sites Australia-wide to improve mental health, personal wellbeing and productivity. They recently ran a workshop with MIGAS host employer and certified Great Place to Work™, Jaybro.
"The workshops are based around our Lifestyle Wheel, which starts a conversation with tradies about healthy eating, good quality sleep and practical ways to strengthen your body," she said.
Richard Toomey, Pip's colleague and fitness specialist, is a qualified yoga instructor and gets workshop participants moving in ways they didn't know they could.
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"I have to say it's a fantastic sight to see a bunch of PPE-wearing blokes doing a classic yoga pose at the work site… there are smiles all around, and it helps break down the myth that it's not masculine to take care of yourself," Pip said.
Pip's Health & Mindfulness Tips
- Create time in the day to allow workers to focus on exercise or connect with friends and family digitally.
- Eat real whole food - good nutrition affects how you perform every day.
- Get plenty of good quality sleep, sometime in the sun, and make time for active play.