Life As A Decorator: Staying Happy & Healthy




Launched on World Mental Health Day, episode two of the Dulux Academy Podcast shines a light on mental health within our industry. Working as a decorator can be lonely at the best of times - and never more so than during the lockdown period.

We invited Bryan Clover, CEO of The Rainy Day Trust, and two of our Dulux Select Decorators, Tony McCawley and Sean Kelly, to share their experiences with mental health and their tactics for staying healthy and happy.

You are not alone


As Tony McCawley says at the start of the episode, as decorators:

"One of the biggest problems we have, is that we work on our own."

Not always, not all the time, and sometimes by choice. But it can still be a lonely world.

And a theme that echoed continually throughout this episode is that you are not alone.

Bryan Clover, CEO of The Rainy Day Trust - the only charity dedicated to those in the home improvement industry - shared the statistic that on any one day in the UK, 80% of people suffer from stress or anxiety.

It might be a passing thought, or it might be long term worry. But the point is you’re not alone.

Both Tony and Sean share their personal experiences of dealing with mental health challenges, with Tony discussing his career in the armed forces, and Sean talking about a very recent episode with his mental health.



Talk when you need to. Always listen.


Throughout the whole episode, you’ll hear about the importance of speaking out and sharing your troubles, your concerns and your feelings - and of listening when others speak.

As Tony says, men don’t like to “speak about things” traditionally, but that is changing.

Listening is what helped Sean recently. When he posted on the Dulux Select forum about his struggles, four decorators called him immediately to have a chat and hear his problems. It meant the world to him, and it really helped him through a difficult time.



Watch for the early signs


As an expert in mental health and mindfulness, Bryan shares his tips on how to identify mental health struggles in friends and colleagues, before they become overwhelming.

They include:


  • Talking. Talking and listening carefully
  • Looking out for triggers like bereavement, relationship problems, family life and job worries
  • Changes in behaviour - like being late, looking disheveled, rushing off, chatting less, drinking more, and losing their temper more often


The key for managers or owners with employees is to listen. Take the time to listen, don’t push people, and build trust.

Then you can refer them onto charities like The Rainy Day Trust, which has a wealth of resources at its disposal.



Help is always available


As a sole trader, you might not have anyone to help spot early signs.

That’s OK. There is always someone to talk to.

Both Tony and Sean talk about the power of the Dulux Select forum, where there is always someone willing and happy to chat through your problems.

And Bryan recommends finding a mentor. Or even just a solid friend who you know you can always call up or grab a coffee with, whatever time of day.

All three guests share their tips on helping yourself through mental health struggle too, with suggestions including:


  • Outdoor activities like walking or bike riding
  • Volunteering
  • Breathing Exercises
  • Making plans to take time out
  • Talking to your GP



Support from the Dulux Academy


And that’s one of the reasons why we’re doing this podcast, and why we have so much support available to all our Dulux Select Decorators. To help.

You are not alone, help is always here.

There are lots of people in positions just like you. There are always like-minded people to talk to, and they’re always prepared to listen.

Listen to the episode, and you’ll hear how you’re not alone.

Find all the podcast episodes here.