Stress balls, also known as anti-stress or squeeze balls, are small, pliable balls used for stress relief and relaxation. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, textures, and materials. But how long can you expect a stress ball to last with regular use? Here are some factors that determine the lifespan of a stress ball.
The material a stress ball is made from greatly impacts its durability. Some common materials used are:
- Foam – Foam stress balls are very soft and squishy but tend to lose their shape and break down over time. They may only last a few weeks with regular squeezing.
- Gel – Gel stress balls contain viscous liquid encased in soft plastic. They retain their shape better than foam but may still leak or break open after a few months.
- Rubber – Rubber stress balls are very durable and typically last the longest. They resisting breaking or losing shape for years.
- Plastic – Plastic stress balls maintain their shape well. They can last over a year with frequent use as long as they are not punctured.
Frequency of Use
How often and vigorously you squeeze a stress ball will affect how quickly it wears out. Stress balls used multiple times a day every day will decompose faster than balls only used occasionally. Strong squeezing and fidgeting also deteriorates material over light squeezes.
Regularly used stress balls should be replaced every 3-6 months for foam and gel, and 6-12 months for rubber and plastic. Balls used only when needed may last years. Checking your stress ball every so often for cracks, leaks or changes in texture can indicate when replacement is needed.
The way you store a stress ball between uses impacts its longevity. Leaving it in direct sunlight, extreme heat or cold can accelerate breakdown of the material. Storing in a temperate environment away from prolonged UV exposure will help the ball maintain its integrity longer.
Avoid leaving stress balls piled under heavy objects, puncturing them with sharp objects like pens and pencils, or exposing them to chemicals which could weaken the material.
Higher quality stress balls made from durable materials and sturdy construction will have a longer useful life than cheap balls. Opting for balls from reputable brands using latex-free, non-toxic materials will provide the best longevity. Checking product details and reviews can help determine expected lifespan before purchasing.
Custom stress balls with printed logos, images or text tend to wear out faster than plain balls. The inks, dyes and imprinting process can slightly weaken the material. Custom balls should be replaced more frequently than non-printed balls.
What the stress ball is used for can shorten its lifespan. Balls used for high-impact squeezing and tossing will break down quicker than those gently squeezed for relaxation. Smaller stress balls fitting in pockets for on-the-go fidgeting also tend to show wear sooner. Consider the intended purpose when selecting a stress ball and replacement frequency.
With regular, gentle use, most high-quality stress balls should provide relaxation and stress relief for many months to a year or longer. Checking for signs of deterioration and replacing balls every few months to a year will keep them in optimum condition. Proper storage and care will also help maximize the lifespan of your stress balls.