Men, toolboxes and wellbeing
Many men like tools because they are can release their full performance potential at home and at work.
Using the right tools with some practice, you can do almost anything.
You save time, money and feel proud, knowing that you are part of the "DIY group".
It's a win-win when you have the right tools to "get the job done".
However, toolboxes can vary in terms of durability, storage capacity, organization, security, and other factors, making it difficult to know which one will best suit your needs.
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The urban dictionary defines the derogatory term "tool" as man who tries to act cooler than they actually are. Urban dictionary also reveals that banter used amongst men, also includes using the term"toolbox": a man who lacks good sense and judgement, that results being looked down upon amongst his mates.
A "toolbox" is like a group of "tools" working together.
When someone is seen as a "toolbox":he is "many tools in one": a man who is so lame (unable to walk without difficulty as the result of an injury or illness), that he is not just a "tool", he is an entire "toolbox".
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I would like to challenge this way of using the term toolbox in men's conversations. A toolbox with lots of tools inside helps you build skills to manage your life better : it is a skills builder or confidence builder better protecting you from poor Mental Health.
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A tool box is a metal or plastic box which contains tools that you need at home, for example to do repairs in your house or car.
Constructing a wellbeing tool box which contains self help coping strategies, means you are more likely be judged as possessing strength and resilience, impressing other men you work with, not a man who pretends to act cool.
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Toolboxes are an ideal piece of kit for keeping tools organised and making them easy to transport and store.
You carry your wellbeing toolbox within you, so easy to open up and use when you need to use specific tools.
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With the box divided into sections for smaller and larger parts, it's easy to access the right equipment at the right time.
Divide your wellbeing toolbox into wellbeing and mental health sections : e.g. dealing with pressure, coping with stress and managing anxiety or depression. Noticing subtle or hidden signs or aware of more obvious signs of poor mental health. Then it is easier to select the right tool to use.
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You need a tape measure to calculate distance or size.
Similarly, you need a way of measuring how severe and long lasting the impact of poor wellbeing is having on you. Tools that assess your wellbeing and keep you alert to changes in the way you are thinking, feeling and how you are behaving is important. An example would be the use of self help rating scales for stress, anxiety or depression.
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In your toolbox, you need hand tools :
A hand tool is any tool that is powered by hand rather than a motor. Similarly, there are coping strategies that are simple to use, easy to master and powered by you. Like a screwdriver or hammer , you don't need a lot of knowledge or skills to use them. They are useful for mild to moderate poor wellbeing, which does not depend on personal change but just to accept how it is right now.
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You need a hammer for nails and screwdrivers for screws, pliers for cutting, chisels for woodworking and spanners for turning nuts.
Different "hand tool" coping strategies are needed for different poor wellbeing reasons. Make sure you have explored and tried as many coping strategies as you can. Then, have available in your toolbox, a range ofwellbeing tools you can pick and choose to use.
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You need different screws to fix into wood, metal or masonry.
Make sure your wellbeing toolbox has coping strategies for different circumstances you are experiencing for example relationship breakdown, debt or major changes at work.
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You need power tools that performing the same functions as hand tools with more efficiency and less effort.Drills for making round holes, Circular, mitre and jigsaws for specialist cuts and angle grinders for metal working.
Power tools for your wellbeing toolbox, are needed when your poor wellbeing becomes stuck (hand tools are not working) or you are experiencing a moderate to severe negative impact on your work and home life. Power tools mean you need to use "external" tools such as using a self-monitoring record such as a worksheet or a diary recording timelines and activities Power tools are also self-directed exercises that need practice, including CBT "experiment" tools.
Next time, I will explore what wellbeing tools you can include in your wellbeing toolbox.