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Five Ways Construction Employees Can Deal With Stress and Anxiety

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Employees in construction take great pride in their specific job fields, and the skills for those demanding jobs become a lifestyle. But life has thrown everyone around the world a curve ball no one was trained for. The construction industry’s strength and consistency onsite don’t make the stresses at home any easier. Employees’ trained eyes for inspection on construction and safety codes can’t help with virtual school and homework.

Since the beginning of COVID-19, substance abuse is on the rise and there has been giant spike on overdoses. It’s time to change.

First, consider the Stages of Change Model developed by Prochaska and DiClemente in 1982.

  • Precontemplation: Unaware there is a real problem, but knows life is less manageable
  • Contemplation: Weigh positive and negative of target behavior
  • Preparation: Person intends to change soon, starts making small changes
  • Action: Beginning to modify behavior
  • Maintenance: Showing strength to stay on track

So how can those in the construction industry struggling with higher levels of stress and anxiety deal with stress and start looking at the Stages of Change?

1. Share or Journal

Share with at least one person what’s really going and how you are feeling. Even write it down. Sharing cuts the problem in half. A 2011 University of Chicago study “Writing About Testing Worries Boosts Exam Performance in the Classroom,” proved that students who talked or wrote about their worries immediately before taking an exam performed significantly better on that exam than did those who didn’t unload their anxieties. The same is true in life.

2. Exercise

Though jobs may be demanding, people still all need to exercise. Exercise reduces the levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. Plus, it stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators.

3. Read Positive Material

Take a look where spiritual and religious people are right. See where other people find a sense of peace and faith. Read something uplifting and positive.

4. Acts of Kindness

Simple things like complimenting a loved one goes a long way. Maybe reach out to old friend and see how they are doing during this stressful time. It’s not all about us. We are not the center of the universe. We are all going through this together. Realize that this is a human experience.

5. Ask for help

Now’s the time. If you have a dependence on a substance—ask for help. If you’re late on a credit card payment, call them and ask for help. If your kids are struggling—ask for help. Nobody knows a person is suffering if they don’t ask for help.

Reprinted from Construction Executive, Dec. 6, 2020, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. Copyright 2020. All rights reserved.

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