Time to relax? Are you kidding? Is stress a part of our everyday lives?

Relaxation is now no longer part of our culture
Relaxation a thing of the past?

Are we more stressed than we were 50+ years ago?

The 60’s with its partying, rock n roll, drugs scene, the rolling stones, the beatles a great era to work live and enjoy life the decade I was born in and the chapter of my life often relayed to me in vivid detail by my parents who described the 60s as one of those defining moments in history.

Feminism gained momentum, man landed on the moon, the cuban missile crisis, the JFK assassination and music that truly defined many of us today.

According to The Times [6th November 2013] relaxing has now become a thing of the past.

The amount of time we spend pottering around at home or actually sitting down and relaxing has fallen by half in the last five years. With the exception of sleep, we spend on average 3 hours in our homes every day, down from six hours in 2008.

A survey of 1,000 people in full-time employment found that 42 per cent leave the house as soon as they are ready in the morning and return late at night with many expressing that they had days like these at least once a week as work, business and commuting take up more time.

57 per cent of people in the survey felt they were constantly on the move and 59 per cent had to schedule to make time at home

The increasing use of technology to get more done whilst commuting represented 53 percent of workers who use mobiles, laptops and ipads to get tasks done.

These mobile devices have become intrinsically integral to our lives that people find they can’t be without them.

We spend 11 hours a day staring at screens – laptops, computer screens, smartphones, e-books and TV’s with most of the communication largely done via work on a screen.

I can categorically say that relaxation has become a thing of the past for me. My husband commented recently, I never see you sit down and relax you are always doing something.

He’s right, if it’s not working, it’s picking up the kids, cooking, washing, ironing, writing or doing something that invariably leads to the use of a device to communicate, write and read.

Often times writing emails at night is a great way to catch up on the not so important tasks.

The simple fact is we are ‘always on’.

social media = an always on culture
Our work and lifestyle means we are always on

Our society has become a living and breathing 24/7 organism. I’m sure many of us could process work through the night and still not achieve a zero inbox or complete tasks.

The 24/7 working society may make you shudder but I don’t think we are that far away from it happening and for customers to assume we never need to sleep.

Fifteen years we didn’t have the technology that allowed us to always be on and fear of missing out (FOMO) wasn’t part of our vocabulary.

Many commuters find that by the time they get to work they are ready to go home. One commuter in ten says that their morning journey is so stressful that they want to cry by the time they arrive in work, one in six sit at their desk and want to go back to bed, while one in nine feels totally and utterly miserable according to a study of 2,000 travellers undertaken by Evian. The majority of workers arrive feeling tired and down-hearted.

No wonder we’ve become a nation of stressed out over worked underpaid, self obsessed individuals.

According to psychologist Graham Price british adults are more stressed and worry more about their lives than those who lived through the blitz.

How can you compare the two historical periods?

One dominated by bombings, rations, blackouts the other dominated by the internet, social media, longer working hours and 24/7 always on.

According to Price we are more anxious and stressed than our world war two counterparts, we are consumed with fears of being unemployed, financial and relationship worries.

Stress and worry has become the cornerstone of our lives, stress is endemic.

Do you think we’ve been worn down by the everyday pressures of commuting, unrealistic demands of bosses and the treadmill way of life?

I see a time in the future where we are connected directly or indirectly via social media to pretty much everyone.

social media addict
Bit by bit we are connecting to the universe

The whole universe is slowly being connected up. Social media is rapidly extending our connections, relationships our geography. We can be in touch and always on, make new friends without ever having to meet them, we can have different identities, be different people, we can make our updates fabulously exciting even if we are at home watching the T.V but no one needs to know.

We seem to have less time than ever before and most of it is taken up with working, so much so that the LSE (London School of Economics) found that those that were in paid work are unhappy and this is closely related to work anxiety. Paid work has a slightly larger negative impact on being relaxed. How unhappy or anxious while working depends on your circumstances.

always on and always on the go
We are constantly on the run to be somewhere, there’s never any time just to think

Wellbeing at work depends on where you work, whether you are combining work with other activities; whether you are alone or with others; the time of day or night you are working; and your personal and household characteristics.

Work appears to have such an adverse effect on individuals’ well being, as if we didn’t know this!

Even though people are so positive about paid work when reflecting on the meaning and value of their lives, actually engaging in paid work comes at some personal cost to them in terms of the pressures and stress they face while working.

During periods of relaxation, working continues to be negatively associated with momentary well being in other words even when we don’t think of work, work has a negative impact upon us and we would rather be doing other things.

Is there time to relax? Or has it become a fleeting moment in our ever transitory lives.

As one aged gentleman said to me recently: “I feel sorry for your generation, you never stop, you never rest, you never seem to have time for fun. We did but we had less than you and there wasn’t the pressures on us like there is on you today. We wanted things but we had to wait until we could afford them. Your generation has everything almost, but none of you seem to enjoy what you have or enjoy life”

Makes me wonder what our children’s generation will face over the next few years?

What do you think? Are you always on? How do you make time to switch off from your job or life for that matter?

Is there a solution to all this if so please do share.

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