Stories and articles for pest control businesses

07 September 2022

Rejecting misery: the importance of work-life balance

HEALTH AND SAFETY | PPC108 September 2022

Hobbies and activities have been proven to be extremely beneficial for mental well-being, but why?

BPCA member company Bayer Environmental Science has teamed up with the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) to help the pest management sector reject living miserably. Together they talk about the benefits of a healthy work/life balance.

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Ever been so engrossed in an activity that you’ve completely forgotten what time it is or how long you’ve been doing it for? Chances are you’ve also had a reprieve from overthinking and the constant chitter chatter in your mind.

The science

There have been many studies on the benefits of hobbies and exercise on mental health. 

Dr Ciara McCabe, an Associate Professor of Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology at the University of Reading, writes, “the reason that finding time for hobbies can work has to do with how they affect the reward system in the brain. 

“When we take part in a hobby that we enjoy, chemical messengers in the brain, known as neurotransmitters, are released – such as dopamine, a chemical which helps us feel pleasure. These feel-good chemicals can then make us want to do the hobby again, and feel more motivated to do so.” 

On the charity Mind’s website, they say that taking up something new can even improve your sleep, and help manage stress, anxiety or intrusive and racing thoughts. Physical activity can give the brain something to focus on and can be a positive coping strategy for difficult times. 

Physical activity or new hobby?

Social prescribing is common practice in the NHS, where support is given to help people in deprived communities, people with mental health conditions, patients with long-term health conditions, patients at risk of cardiovascular problems or type 2 diabetes, and those at risk of social isolation. The goal is to get people into some form of activity. 

According to the Advance Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) at Sheffield Hallam University, the types of activity people are being referred to range from anything from walking groups, running networks/groups, gardening, general sport and leisure centre activities such as swimming and gym classes, netball and football, as well as activities in outdoor green spaces. 

The positive outcomes of taking part in these activities have unsurprisingly been found to be physical activity levels, overall quality of life and well-being, social connection and mental health. 

But it’s not just something overly physical that can improve mental health. Dr McCabe continues, “Physical hobbies can, of course, improve your fitness, and others can even improve your brain function. Research suggests that some hobbies – like playing a musical instrument – can improve your memory, while artistic hobbies, such as reading or board games and puzzles are reported to prevent dementia later in life.”

The Mental Health Foundation says that some physical activities can make you breathless, hot and sweaty, which can feel similar to anxiety or panic attacks. If you find this a trigger they recommend starting slow and building the intensity at a pace that suits you.

Finding a new hobby

Bayer Environmental Science is working with the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) to promote their crucial work to pest professionals. CALM is leading a movement against suicide, the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK and the cause of 18 deaths every day.

CALM uses hobbies to help people better connect. Their CALM Clubs are for everyone, whatever background, age or ability. They’re a place to share stories, laughs, failures and successes. Whether you’ve got a football team that all look out for each other or a running club where you sweat it out together. 

Maria Kuzak at CALM says: “Our CALM Clubs are more than just football, running or art, they are about being part of something. They give people a reason to get together, do what you love and feel better for it. We know lots of people find it easier to open up when they are shoulder to shoulder, doing something that brings them joy. 

“It’s not about being the best, the fastest or most creative. It’s about doing the thing you love and feeling good. And if you don’t find a club that suits your interests, you can always set one up.”

You can find out more about CALM Clubs and how to get involved here

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If you’re finding things tough, CALM is available to help, no matter what. Visit for support.



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