In the last article we discovered that by focusing on symptoms instead of health we can actually end up sick, miserable, frustrated and even dead before our time. We also identified the 6 keys to winning the game of life. This week we will continue to explore those keys to a great life.
Key #2 – Being able to do what you enjoy! Having time for leisure and having the ability to choose how we spend our time are crucial to our mental and physical well-being. Active leisure can be divided into 3 categories: social leisure with friends and family, cognitive leisure focusing on mental stimulation, and physical leisure including sports and exercise.
While most people recognize how important these are, the reality is that our leisure time is disappearing. A study demonstrated that Canadians are spending an average of 1.5 hours less on leisure in 2005 compared to 1998.
What was the outcome of this? In 2005…35% of Canadians were overweight, while 24% were obese. 47% of Canadians were considered inactive compared to 23% active! Can you see where this trend will lead? You cannot win the game of life if you are fat and inactive.
Key #3 – Feeling Energized and Passionate! Here is some good news – a whopping 92% of Canadians say they are satisfied or very satisfied with their lives! Yet, according the same source, 1 in 5 Canadians were taking antidepressants in 2004 and suicide rates are at an all-time high.
What makes you energized and passionate? What are you yearning to do but can’t find the time for? Sports, hobbies, family time? What is stopping you?
The problem is in what takes up our time. Over 50% of workers say they often spend 12 hour days on work related duties. The biggest concern among young workers is not having enough time for both their family AND work responsibilities and 40% of employees work overtime or bring work home EVERY week. The fact is that we are spending more time at work and less time enjoying our lives.
Key #4 – Nurturing and Fulfilling Relationships. Where would you rather spend your time – work or home? Since 1969, family time for a working couple has shrunk by an average of 22 hours per week. 88% of employees say they have a hard time juggling work and life and 64% of family caregivers are employed – most full time.
Do you have balance between work and life? Most don’t – 58% of Canadians report “overload” associated with their many roles. What is the result? Employees who consider most of their days to be stressful were over 3 times more likely to suffer a major depressive episode!
That isn’t all. About half of all workers feel that stress is affecting their interpersonal and sexual relationships. Couples who are stressed have a less active sex life and it is known that low sex marriages have a high probability of separation within 12 months.
It is clear that this lack of balance is a growing concern. Both workers and students rate work-life balance as their top concern and consider it more important than money, career advancement, or location.
In addition, this stress is affecting our physical health which can place even more strain on a relationship. Work stress is more strongly associated with health complaints than any other life stressor. Employees with the highest amounts of workplace stress suffer from over 3 times the rate of cardiovascular problems, over 5 times the rate of colorectal cancer, and up to 3 times the rate of back pain. 81% of people on earth say their jobs are affecting their health and health expenditures are 50% higher for workers with a high level of stress.
This problem has gotten so bad we are getting violent. 14% of people felt like striking a co-worker in the past year, 25% felt like screaming due to job stress, 9% are aware of an assault of violent act in their workplace, 18% had experienced a threat or intimidation in the past year, and 10% said they work in an environment where physical violence has occurred because of job stress. Are these the relationships we want where we spend such a large part of our lives?
This really becomes an issue when we bring it home with us. How is your patience with your children? How about your spouse? How are you dealing with all of the people you interact with such as in stores, at the bank, and on the road? Have you noticed that you have less patience lately?
Why is this important? These stresses are not just a concept. It is real and is damaging to our mental health, relationships and is costing us in the quality and quantity of our years.
If that doesn’t motivate you to get this handled, it is also costing you money. Stress means a loss of work and money. Disability claims have risen significantly and the area of largest increase is in mental/nervous conditions. The cost for our country was an estimated $7.9 billion in 1998 alone and about $6.3 billion was spent by individuals on uninsured services and taking time off work due to depression and distress.
Absenteeism due to stress has increased by over 300% since 1995 and over 50% of work days are stress related.
Perhaps this will motivate us to spend more time on what is truly important in our lives.
Next article we will continue with the final 2 keys to winning the game of life, and introduce the traps that most people fall into that lead to them to failure.