Recovering from a Bad Day on the Job: Self-Care for Contractors

Recovering from a Bad Day on the Job: Self-Care for Contractors

Bad days happen. Some are worse than others, especially if they involve accidents or the loss of someone on your crew. Even those days when a lot of little things just seem to go wrong can weigh on you, however. Regardless of whether you’re trying to work through a tragedy on the job site or you’re just starting to feel the stress, there comes a point when you need to find a way to take care of yourself.

Develop a Hobby

You might think that you don’t really have time for a hobby – but having something to channel your passions into and get your mind off work is a valuable asset. Whether you pick up golf, start building models or make a shift into woodworking, developing a hobby could go a long way toward reducing your overall stress and taking the edge off those hard days at work.

Talk Things Through

Taking the time to talk about what’s bothering you is a great way to work through your stress. This doesn’t mean that you have to start seeing a psychiatrist, though that’s certainly an option; instead, this is more referring to finding a trusted friend or partner that you can talk to about what’s bugging you. Make sure that you find someone who’s going to keep your secrets to themself and who isn’t going to judge. An outside perspective may help you sort through things, and more importantly you may feel a weight lifted just by talking about those things you’d otherwise hold inside.

Have That Drink

Some people enjoy relaxing with a glass of fine wine, but you might be more of a beer person. Maybe you enjoy a nice glass of bourbon. You might even shun alcohol entirely and opt instead for coffee, tea or juice. Regardless of your favorite drink, sit down and indulge yourself as you try to relax. You can even enjoy a favorite snack at the same time. Just make sure that you don’t overdo it if you do find yourself alcohol-inclined.

Make Lists

When work is really starting to get to you, sit down and start making a few lists to plan out your days. This not only gives you checklists to work from to make sure that everything runs like it’s supposed to, but also engages you mentally as you have to think about the various aspects of jobs and running the office in advance. Making lists could even help your business run more efficiently, while you use the process to sort through some of the stress you’re bringing home from the job.


If you’re bearing too much stress, consider reorganizing your business a bit to delegate some of your responsibilities. Hire an accountant to cover the books, make a trusted worker a foreman over part of the crew and trust others with some of the tasks that you currently keep all to yourself. You may need to do a little bit of training to make sure that everything is done correctly, but in the end, you’ll free up some of your time and cut back on a lot of the stress that comes with being a contractor.

Step Away

If things get really bad, you might need to step back even further than just doing a bit of delegation. Some contractors reach a point where they have to put down the hammer entirely, putting trusted people in charge of the crews and relegating themselves to office positions instead. You might even need to add periodic days off or take a vacation once your business is at a point where things will keep running smoothly. It might seem unthinkable to step back and let someone else run things, but if stress is tearing you apart, then you need to do whatever it takes to get back in good form.