Stress in Construction
3/30/2018 11:31:36 AM

Are you stressed? Stress can come into our lives in a variety of ways. It could be from surprises or challenges in our personal lives and it could come from work situations. Construction work can be particularly stressful because of jobs not going according to plan and situations outside of our control delaying a project, such as weather.

According to proActive Safety Services, stress can affect construction workers in several negative ways:

  • Lessens the ability to concentrate and focus on the job
  • Reduces the ability to effectively interact with co-workers and management
  • Contributes to worry, which in turn causes insomnia, poor sleep patterns, and eventually sleep deprivation
  • Prolonged periods of poor sleep caused by stress contributes to a weakened physical condition and reduced reaction times
  • Leads to poor dietary habits
  • Causes low morale
  • Leads to headaches, insomnia, anxiety, and panic attacks.
  • Contributes to health problems, particularly heart attacks and strokes

With so many negative effects of stress, we need to learn how to manage stress in our work and personal lives. There are many tips for dealing with stress and you can do a quick Google search to find a lot of suggestions. Here are a few tips according to the American Psychological Association:

  • Track your stressors.Keep a journal for a week or two to identify which situations create the most stress and how you respond to them. Record your thoughts, feelings and information about the environment, including the people and circumstances involved, the physical setting and how you reacted. Did you raise your voice? Get a snack from the vending machine? Go for a walk? Taking notes can help you find patterns among your stressors and your reactions to them.
  • Develop healthy responses.Instead of attempting to fight stress with fast food or alcohol, do your best to make healthy choices when you feel the tension rise. Exercise is a great stress-buster. Yoga can be an excellent choice, but any form of physical activity is beneficial. Also make time for hobbies and favorite activities. Whether it's reading a novel, going to concerts or playing games with your family, make sure to set aside time for the things that bring you pleasure. Getting enough good-quality sleep is also important for effective stress management. Build healthy sleep habits by limiting your caffeine intake late in the day and minimizing stimulating activities, such as computer and television use, at night.
  • Establish boundaries.In today's digital world, it's easy to feel pressure to be available 24 hours a day. Establish some work-life boundaries for yourself. That might mean making a rule not to check email from home in the evening, or not answering the phone during dinner. Although people have different preferences when it comes to how much they blend their work and home life, creating some clear boundaries between these realms can reduce the potential for work-life conflict and the stress that goes with it.
  • Take time to recharge.To avoid the negative effects of chronic stress and burnout, we need time to replenish and return to our pre-stress level of functioning. This recovery process requires "switching off” from work by having periods of time when you are neither engaging in work-related activities, nor thinking about work. That's why it's critical that you disconnect from time to time, in a way that fits your needs and preferences. Don't let your vacation days go to waste. When possible, take time off to relax and unwind, so you come back to work feeling reinvigorated and ready to perform at your best. When you're not able to take time off, get a quick boost by turning off your smartphone and focusing your attention on non-work activities for a while.

Working in construction, or any other industry, it is important to keep health and safety in mind when dealing with stress. Since there are so many negative side effects caused by stress, we all need to be aware of how it impacts us individually and those around us. We also need to take steps to cope with stress and alleviate it when possible. If we are able to manage our stress at work we create a safer, more enjoyable environment and an overall healthier lifestyle.

One Team. One Vision. One Goal. – Everyone Goes Home Safe!


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