April is Stress Awareness Month, as designated since 1992 by The Health Resource Network (NRN), an American non-profit health education organization that aims to have healthcare professionals spread awareness about causes and cures for what it calls “our modern stress epidemic.”
The network has certainly put the focus on a problem that has been steadily growing: Nearly a quarter – 23 per cent — of Canadians 15 years or older (which amounted to a whopping 6.7 million people) reported in 2014 that most days for them were “quite a bit” or “extremely stressful.”
One of the greatest sources of stress is the workplace — and Canadians are suffering. More than half – 52 per cent– of workers polled this year by staffing firm Accountemps said they are overwhelmed at work on a day-to-day basis, and six out of 10 reported pressures from work have gone up in the last five years. And 44 per cent of those workers said they are losing sleep over their stresses at work.
Those figures are up from another survey done in 2011, reported by Statistics Canada, which found that 27 per cent of Canadian workers say they have “high to extreme” levels of stress daily, more than one in four of them seeing themselves as “ highly stressed.”
While 62 per cent of those polled blamed work for their stresses, it’s not the only culprit. Finances (12 per cent), time poverty (12 per cent), family issues (8 per cent) and other reasons (6 per cent) are also causing Canadians to feel stressed.
It’s not only a personal health issue, but one which has far wider ramifications. Stress is seen as one of the workplace mental health issues that cost our economy an estimated $33-billion annually in lost productivity, and billions more in medical costs.
That’s a mouthful of statistics, but they all point to a significant problem that we all need to deal with.
So what is stress, anyways? My working definition is that it’s how we react physically, mentally, emotionally and energetically to real or perceived threats, which can come from various conditions, changes and demands on our lives.
It’s not easy to combat stress and its effects, but it can be done. In workshops that I offer, I discuss in detail how our thoughts and emotions are responsible for our nervous system triggering biological reactions that affect our health. I also offer many tools to help you learn more about stress and develop the inner resources to deal with it.
In keeping with this month’s theme, I am offering eight complimentary workshops to workplaces that want to help their employees learn how to better cope with stresses at work and in their wider lives.
If you feel your workplace could benefit from such a workshop, please don’t hesitate to contact me. The workshops will fill up fast, so I hope that you will take up my offer as soon as possible!
Over the rest of this month, I’ll also examine stress in a variety of other ways. I hope that putting the focus on stress reduction will help ease life for you and your clients.
Together, we can combat this problem and reduce the effects of stress in our lives!