Over the past few years, the UK government has developed pathways for apprentices to gain placements in the UK’s aerospace, defence security, and space (ADS) sectors, as well as creative industries. In 2022, ADS members employed 20,200 apprentices, more than they have during any other year. Similarly, the Department for Education has partnered with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS), tapping creative industries employers such as the BBC, Netflix, ScreenSkills, and Sky. These efforts are all being done to help align apprenticeships with the working practices in various industries.
Apprenticeships are a great option for college leavers who feel they need to pursue a different route than university. They're a great way to gain hands-on experience in your chosen industry while getting paid. However, it can be challenging to meet the demands of being an apprentice as it involves juggling work, studying and socialising.
In our previous article, we emphasised the value of prioritising your mental and physical health by establishing a work-life balance, ensuring you get enough sleep and finding a routine that works for you. Today, we’ll be going through some self-care tips to help you manage stress and prevent burnout.
Breathwork and meditation
It’s quite common for apprentices to feel overwhelmed as they enter a new environment that is vastly different from school. A simple tool to help cope with stress, anxiety, fear, and tension is breathing exercises. Scientific evidence has proven its benefits, which include strengthening the lungs, helping to distract from negative thoughts, relieving tension, reducing worries, and improving concentration.
To manage stress, the NHS recommends an exercise called boxed breathing. This can be done anywhere, anytime you need to boost mental clarity and alertness, calm nerves, and enhance focus. First, inhale slowly and deeply through your nose to the count of four. Then hold your breath for another four counts to expand and open the small airways in your lungs. Third, exhale slowly through your mouth to the count of four. And finally, hold your lungs empty for another four counts. Repeat steps 1 to 4 three times or for 5 minutes.
For many apprentices, eye care is probably the last thing on their minds. However, vision issues can impact the quality of your day-to-day life and subsequently your work life. Additionally, because more than 50% of sight loss is preventable, getting your eyes tested can help limit or even prevent the damage caused by certain eye conditions. It's also crucial to ensure that your eyeglasses prescription is updated, as neglecting to do so can damage your vision.
If your apprenticeship involves sitting in front of a screen for an extended period, we also recommend looking into blue light glasses to avoid eye strain. Apprentices with busy schedules will benefit from options from online Ray-Ban, which allows you to add your prescription to your online order and get it shipped straight to your door. You can also opt for customisations like photochromic lenses to double the use of your eyeglasses as sun protection!
Connect with co-apprentices
One study investigating healthy coping strategies used by apprentices to manage their mental well-being found that social connections facilitated advice-seeking, learning skills and practical support, and getting on with stress and work issues. The study highlighted that the act of maintaining such connections satisfied an innate need for support and belonging that was essential to coping.
So, don’t be afraid to reach out and create friendships with co-apprentices by inviting them for tea or dinner! Chances are, they are dealing with the same stressors you are. Connecting and relating to other people can make you feel less isolated, and help you foster a support system that you can lean on during the tougher parts of your apprenticeship.
Self-care is a vital aspect of overcoming personal work challenges and having a successful apprenticeship. It can also foster resilience, self-motivation, self-belief, and a positive mindset, which studies show are personal attitudes that apprentices need to overcome barriers and reach personal goals.
To understand more about the pathways available for school and college leavers, visit our website!