Words: Cassandra Stern
When it comes to seeking advice for managing stress, recommendations are a dime a dozen. Have you ever felt stressed before and been told to go for a walk, meditate, or try journaling? If so, you’re not alone. Advice like this can be constructive at times, but what works for some people may not work for others, and relaxation techniques are far more effective when they’re not “one-size-fits-all.” Mason contractors and other career construction professionals are often at a disadvantage when it comes to seeking out stress management as well.
A heavy physical workload can make it challenging to get to the gym afterward, and long hours on the jobsite can make it challenging to pursue hobbies or other activities outside of work. As a result, comfort eating, poor sleep hygiene, and other unhealthy habits can readily creep in and increase your stress levels tenfold. Add a hectic day on the jobsite performing highly technical and specialized masonry work; superintendents and supervisors have a serious potential problem on their hands.
Studies have shown that higher stress levels lead to workers in all industries and professions becoming more easily distracted, less productive, and overall less effective in their positions when exposed to even moderate stress levels. For mason contractors, this means everything from increased turnover to a higher risk for accidents on the jobsite — none of which positively affect annual profits. To combat these issues, offering additional resources and support will make a difference. Still, sometimes to make the most significant impact, you need to look a little further outside the box. In this article, we’re exploring some of the most unconventional ways you can try to let off some steam before heading back to work.
- Go Skydiving/Bungee Jumping
Admittedly, this first suggestion sounds a little extreme at first glance, but it might be the most fun on the list after further consideration! If you’re a thrill-seeker or love to get your adrenaline pumping, an extreme activity like skydiving, bungee jumping, or even a ropes course can get your heart rate climbing and help relieve stress. Physical activity (when safe and appropriate) is always recommended as a beneficial stress management tool, so why not try something both exciting and new? If the real thing causes you more stress than it alleviates, consider a slightly safer and more cost-effective experience instead with family and friends like indoor skydiving or an indoor rock climbing wall. Social experiences are another excellent way to burn off some stress from the workday in a fun and positive way that can potentially benefit your overall mental and physical health as well.
- Try Out a Rage Room
Rage rooms are all the rage these days! If you’ve never heard of this unique experience before, check out a few videos or websites, it may be a stress outlet you’ve been missing. Rage rooms are a new trend that has been popping up in major cities all over the country for the past few years, and the concept is simple. For a pre-set fee, participants can attend and select the item or items they would like to take their rage out on: for example, a car, a computer, or even a room full of dishes and other objects. From there, participants can smash things and get out of their rage! This is probably the most unconventional suggestion and may not be available in your area. Still, the popularity of options like Rage Rooms was interesting enough to include in this list.
- Get a Haircut
This suggestion might seem a little odd, but what’s more relaxing than a trip to the barber or salon? In addition to being an overall comfortable experience, some personal grooming and self-care can also provide an overall positive boost to your mood and self-confidence, which can, in turn, go a long way in reducing stress levels. The spring in your step will be well worth the time spent at the hairdresser, and you’ll be feeling the effects long after you’ve left the chair. This is an excellent opportunity for those with facial hair to splurge and treat themselves to a trim. For the ladies, it’s always worth adding on a facial or other optional treatment for further relaxation. If you’re looking for the ultimate stress-relieving package, consider a sports massage or deep tissue massage to work out the knots caused by long days hauling brick and block. While this may not always be the most cost-effective approach to stress reduction, there are a wide variety of options available to work within any budget and leave you feeling great.
- Learn a Language or Skill
One of the best ways to beat stress is to occupy your mind with something less stressful, and learning a language or skill is an excellent way to not only focus on something new but be productive while doing it. Apps like Duolingo or Babbel, for example, are inexpensive, fun, and convenient ways to learn a new language of your choice at your own pace and schedule. Similar apps, tutorials, and other digital resources are available online and focus on an endless variety of subjects. There’s something for everyone, from learning to knit to learning to repair a household appliance or play a musical instrument. In addition to enriching your daily life and providing an outlet for stress relief, learning a skill, starting a hobby, or acquiring a new language can also connect you with new communities of like-minded people with similar interests. This can afford you endless opportunities to connect with others and enjoy new experiences that can, in turn, have a positive impact on your life and well-being.
This suggestion can not only have a beneficial effect on your life but the lives of others as well, and is undoubtedly one of the most important recommendations on this list. Volunteering and giving back to the community can be done in so many different ways that best suit your interests and can fit any busy lifestyle. If you love cats or dogs, consider spending time with pets at an animal shelter or rescue. Research soup kitchens or shelters in your area, and consider volunteering a weekend day with family or friends to share in the experience. If you prefer the outdoors, look into groups that donate their time and resources to community gardens or neighborhood cleanups. Consider programs at your local library, student activity center, or another community resource. Regardless of how, where, or what you do to give, you’ll quickly be surprised by how good it makes you feel and how much it can reduce your mental and physical stress.
- Logic Games
This one is the least expensive and can be the easiest way to burn off some stress quickly. There are hundreds of different types of logic games and puzzle books readily available for purchase that make for a convenient and straightforward way to relax and reduce stress. If you love numbers, consider Sudoku, Mahjong, or another number-based game, and if you prefer wordplay, a crossword puzzle or word search would be right for you.
Many highly-rated phone apps offer hundreds of hours, topics, and difficulty levels in an easily accessible format, convenient, cheap, and fun. Games like these are often designed to be played alone but can easily be played with friends or family members even further to enrich an already enjoyable experience. Over time, you’ll find that both your mental and physical health may benefit from reduced stress levels – even if you only play a few minutes a day!
The proper relaxation method for you may not appear on this list, but that doesn’t mean your search ends here. Sometimes it can take a bit of time, effort, and trial and error to weed out the stress reduction techniques that work best for you, which is just part of the process. By embracing new experiences like these and others that grab your attention, you may just find that overwhelming relaxation is closer than ever before.