Monday, July 20, 2015

on men's sheds and health

In Australia there has been a considerable amount of research done into the health benefits of Men’s Sheds for members. Unfortunately to date little enquiry has been done in NZ relating to this field.
However, in my discussions with MSNS members several of them have told me of some of  their observations and positive experiences at our facility.

We have some 100 members with a broad range of backgrounds, political views, worldviews, and ways of doing things. We all realize that to make the Shed work it is best for us to be tolerant of others and non-judgemental. This does not inhibit freedom of expression on issues, but conflict is not an issue - unlike in the workplace where egos and pressures can lead to strains which may incite aggression or even bullying.
“At the Shed I have found a  band of brothers” is how AB put it.


Jeff keeps mum!
Not all Sheds are this harmonious. On my 2013 Lower North Island Shed Tour several Shed bosses told me that members had come to blows.
(see www.youtube.com/menssheds2000 for videos of the 13 Sheds I visited).

On Shed time - we are all now freed from the tyranny of the clock, which for many of us has ruled our lives: “Time is money” after-all, and profit is king. Members have said that they can now enjoy slowly and carefully working at a project, often learning as they go, instead of feeling stressed and cutting corners.
For some, the routines are hard to let go of, but no-one watches the clock at lunch-break or smoko any longer.
“At work the pressures made time fly past. When at home alone after retirement, the days dragged and the nights were never-ending.” MN

Members agree that the Shed gives them something to look forward to and even the motivation to get out of bed for (especially on cold mornings), while being there amongst the sawdust and the iron filings is a most welcome relief from daytime TV or being dragged around the mall.
For many, the Shed is a welcome change from the family routine or tensions, while those who live alone can find company, and thus respite, from the isolation and even loneliness which can have such a negative effect on one’s mental health.
“Before joining the Shed I felt as if I was staring down the barrel of a gun” - CB

More wisdom from the Shed later....

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