A career in the construction industry can be highly rewarding, but construction professionals risk burning out if they don’t take care of themselves. Every job has its fair share of stress, but construction workers face a particularly high amount of physical and mental strain. Even at a fun work site, long days on the job can take their toll.
Construction workers need to remember to take steps to care for their bodies and minds if they want to have a long and healthy career. These strategies are a great place to start!
1. A Routine
One of the absolute best ways for construction workers to take care of themselves is to establish a routine, on and off the job. There are a few reasons for this. Sleep is critical for workplace safety and a good everyday lifestyle. However, eating at irregular times and going to bed at different times every day can throw off the body’s natural sleep cycle.
Sticking to a consistent daily routine will help the body get into a normal rhythm, resulting in better sleep and less drowsiness. Plus, a routine helps ensure construction workers are setting aside time for meals and self-care, like blocking off a few hours every week for their favorite TV show.
2. Weekly Movie Night
Movies are a convenient and effective way to relax, especially when there’s a weekly time to look forward to watching a new one. Construction workers spend most of their day on their feet, so taking some time to sit down and give their body a break is crucial.
Movies are a great way to do this because they can be enjoyed alone, with friends or as part of regular family time. Movies relax the body and mind all at once. Making a regular schedule for movie nights will help make sure construction workers stick to taking that break, too. It may even be fun to choose a different theme for each week’s movie, like comedy movies on Saturday nights.
3. A Nice Meal (and a Healthy Diet)
Many construction workers are used to making meals a quick process so they can get back to important tasks around job sites. So, it can be both relaxing and rewarding for them to pause for a nice, sit-down meal occasionally. This could be anything from a good steak at home in front of the TV to a fancy dinner with family. The important thing is stopping to take that break and reap some of the rewards for the hard work that construction workers do every day.
Additionally, on a daily basis, it’s important to remember to maintain a genuinely balanced diet. The extra time it may take to prepare healthy food will be worth it in the long run. A poor diet can lead to several long-term side effects, including increased risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, some cancers and even reduced brain function.
4. Crew Happy Hour
Team bonding is essential in construction. When everyone on a job site feels they can trust each other, accidents are less likely to happen, and workplace stress will be much lower. A great way to build trust and camaraderie between construction workers is with a weekly crew happy hour. Just make sure no one has to work a shift shortly afterward.
A happy hour for everyone to relax and hang out is also a great way to celebrate finishing a project or meeting a major milestone or deadline. Celebrating successes can help motivate construction workers by showing them their hard work is appreciated and valued.
5. Crew Game Night
Another fantastic way for construction crews to relax and bond together is with a laid-back crew game night. This can often be even more fun than happy hour and allows younger team members and those who prefer not to drink to be included.
This can be a great opportunity for construction workers to interact off the job, whether through a board game or a round of cards. Billiards is a particularly valuable game for construction workers. It improves problem-solving skills, hand-eye coordination and strategic thinking, all of which are highly valuable around job sites.
6. Personal Time Outdoors
Construction workers already spend a significant amount of their time outdoors, so it may sound counterintuitive to encourage more outdoor time. However, nature can be extremely beneficial for relaxing and rejuvenating both the body and mind. It is also worth recognizing that many construction workers are working in urban areas where air quality is often less than ideal.
So, a day trip to a local nature preserve, park or hiking trail is a great self-care option for construction workers. Spending time immersed in nature can reduce stress, muscle tension and risk of cardiovascular disease and even increase focus and concentration.
7. Separating Work and Home
One of the most common career challenges in the world is difficulty separating work and home life and balancing both. Examples of this include answering work-related emails and phone calls while off the job or consistently staying late at work. On the other extreme, some people tend to bring their personal or home issues to the workplace.
Construction workers are just as prone to these habits as people in any other industry. This may be especially true of team leaders and managers, who have to be on-call frequently. However, finding a way to adequately separate and balance out work and personal life will be beneficial for everyone involved. By keeping a healthy balance, construction workers can reduce workplace stress and ensure they are taking enough time away from work to relax and recharge.
8. Stretching Before and After Work
A critical part of bodily self-care in construction is stretching. Some construction workers learn to get in the habit of stretching throughout the day during their job training, but not everyone does. Stretching is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve construction site safety.
Construction workers can use a quick five-minute stretching set a few times a day to lower their risk of getting hurt on the job. Stretching can even lengthen a construction worker’s career since it promotes flexibility and agility, helping the body maintain good muscle function and range of motion.
9. Keep Learning
Continuous learning is a valuable self-care strategy for construction workers for a few reasons. On one hand, learning new job-related skills can help construction workers grow their career opportunities and keep up with the technological innovations sweeping the construction industry. This can instill a renewed sense of confidence, both professionally and personally.
Additionally, taking up new hobbies and learning new skills for fun outside of work is a fantastic way for construction workers to recharge off the job while keeping their minds and motor skills active. This is a chance for construction workers to pursue whatever interests them, allowing a unique sense of freedom that is often lacking in highly structured construction work environments.
Staying Healthy on and off the Job
By taking care of their bodies and minds, construction workers can ensure they have a long, safe and enjoyable career. Self-care is an important part of personal and professional success. By eating right, making time for relaxation and sticking to healthy habits, construction workers can reduce the risk of accidents on their job sites, reduce stress and improve day-to-day quality of life. Using these self-care strategies will help build a supportive, safe and healthy team on construction sites, on and off the job.