A recently published Ipsos survey has outlined the extent to which stress is affecting the working lives of people around the world.
Defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as ‘a state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation’, stress is something we all experience at one time or another. However, as the WHO points out, the way in which we respond ‘makes a big difference to our overall well-being.’
Stress makes it hard for us to relax and can create a range of emotions, including anxiety and irritability. When stressed, we may find it difficult to concentrate or get a good night’s sleep. Headaches, stomach troubles and issues with appetite are far from unusual. Chronic stress might even exacerbate pre-existing health problems and increase a person’s use of alcohol, tobacco and other substances.
The Ipsos study, which canvassed the experiences of adults across 31 countries, found that well over half of those polled (58%) often think about the state of their own mental wellbeing. Meanwhile, 78% consider mental health to be as important as physical health and, yet, only 34% believe that their respective nations operate healthcare systems that treat the two things equally.
Drill down into the specifics, however, and the everyday impact of stress, in particular, becomes clear. Six in ten (62%) respondents said that, over the course of the last 12 months, they had felt stressed to the point where it negatively impacted their day-to-day lives. One third said that this had happened on multiple occasions and 31% recalled several occasions on which they were unable to cope because of it.
Stress had caused 39% of people to take time off work in the last year. Women are more likely to say it has affected them than men, with 20% having taken time off work as a consequence.
The WHO has also highlighted links between mental ill health and things like excessive workloads, long hours and poor peer support. According to a 2022 analysis of EU labour forces, conducted by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, 27% of Irish workers had endured job-related stress, depression or anxiety. Elsewhere, research conducted by YouGov last year revealed that over half (52%) of UK employees report feeling ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ stressed at work.
These challenges can be tricky to overcome but lots of assistance is available. Community Wellbeing is a great place to start the de-stressing journey. It is home to the extensive Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing database – featuring ideas and activities for building the five steps into one’s daily routine – a dedicated stress section and a range of self-help programmes.
The Inspire Support Hub is a similarly excellent resource, offering the right support at the right time. It features brilliant guidance around stress, work-life balance and anxiety, as well as information on building resilient workforces. In addition, people can self-refer through the Hub, over the phone or by email.
If you would like to find out more about the Inspire Support Hub, as well as the other services offered by Inspire, please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.