A short but terrifying hospital stay forced Severn Trent Services employee Dale Garwood to reflect on his mental and physical health.
For Men’s Health Week 2023, Dale discusses how he’s changed his approach to living to cope with life’s challenges.
What is Men’s Health Week?
Men’s Health Week was set up by Men’s Health Forum – a charity supporting men’s health in England, Wales, and Scotland. This year, the theme is Men’s Health and the Internet – to encourage people to discuss the pros and cons of technology and its effect on men’s health.
Bid Writer Dale said: “I like quiet, and technology is noisy.
“Like many people in today’s digital age, I have a relationship with technology that requires careful balance.”
“I only use social media to share photos with close family and friends. Social media can perpetuate an idealised view of life that many of us can’t live up to. That makes people feel bad about themselves.”
One rule to live by
Dale loves getting messy with his children but admits his house looks like “Toys R Us has thrown up” after they’ve baked or played together. However, it allows him to clean, which is a therapy of sorts for Dale.
Now more aware of his mortality, he’s written letters to his young twins with advice on navigating life when they’re older. He explained: “Besides my health scare, I’ve also been through a relationship breakup.
“These events have sharpened my perspective on life and forced me to make changes to better protect my mental and physical health.”
The key message within the letters to his children is: always do the right thing. Dale now lives by this rule and wants his children to grow up doing the same.
Dale said: “It can be a hard rule to stick by. And it’s littered with grey areas.
“The right thing to do in a situation might be better for your well-being. But it might not be what someone else wants to hear. At other times, you might have to sacrifice your time to be there for somebody else.
“But generally, I don’t think there’s a better rule to live by at home and work. And I feel like it’s improved my health.”
What’s a man supposed to do?
Dale likes to walk and swim to escape tech and better look after his physical and mental health. A short drive, and he can be in Cannock Chase, An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Dale added: “I’m lucky I can physically close the door after work and go for a walk during the summer months. Being in nature is what I enjoy.
“I hate the gym, and I hate football. Sometimes I feel like that flies in the face of what a man is expected to do.”
The result is always better having talked about it
At work, Dale is known amongst his peers for his candour and believes that any challenge – professional or personal – can be overcome if more people are honest and ask for help.
That’s what Dale does; he now gets all the help he needs from his manager and colleagues.
He said: “I have this unwavering loyalty to Severn Trent Services that I’ve never experienced anywhere else. The unquestionable, zero-delay support I’ve received has made it easier for me to maintain a happy work-life balance and deal with a particularly difficult period of my life.”
For more information on Men’s Health Week, please visit https://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/mhw