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Rage rooms help pandemic front-line workers release stress

Rage Rooms
Posted at 2:20 PM, Oct 15, 2021

DENVER, Colorado — Stress levels for many have been on the rise since the start of the pandemic. Experts say rage rooms could be a good outlet, especially for pandemic frontline workers.

Welcome to Smashit, a center of controlled chaos.

It is what some call a rage room, a place dedicated to relieve all your stresses by simply breaking things.

Dustin Gagne, the owner of Smashit, said business has taken off during the pandemic.

“We get a lot of front-line workers,” Gagne said. “We also get a lot of people coming in to deal with seasonal depression. We have people that come in who partner with their therapist for sessions. We don’t claim to be therapists, but we work with therapists who incorporate this into treatment for their customers to help them out.”

According to the American Psychological Association, 84% of adults reported feeling at least one emotion associated with prolonged stress in 2021, with health care professionals having the highest stress levels.

That's why Gagne said people have been coming to his rage room, especially pandemic front-line workers.

“As you can expect, it’s been pretty challenging for us to face something new and novel like the pandemic,” said Christina Wally, a health care worker. “Worrying about your patients and then worrying about yourself has been really hard for me and I know for others in the field.”

Health care workers like Wally have been using this type of activity to relieve all the stress, anxiety and pressures they have been dealing with in the medical field.

“As health care providers, we are trying our best to kind of keep things under control and there’s a lot of rules to follow and you’re on edge all the time and not trying to drop the ball. Kind of letting yourself go and say, 'It’s OK to break this. Being able to come here and not worry and no consequences and just go for it, it really takes that weight off your shoulders.”

University of Denver’s Kim Gorgens with the psychology department said this type of activity can be a great outlet for frontline workers.

“We know how hard that job is on the best day, and for the last year and a half has been nonstop,” Gorgens said. “It’s torture for them. They’re managing the anxiety of the entire board. That’s very hard to do, and any outlet is going to be a good one.”

However, Gorgens said this type of stress relief may not be suitable for everyone.

“For folks who are angry at baseline, this may be the least effective intervention. For everyone else though, the physical movement of it is going to be helpful,” Gorgens said.