Stress

What are we doing to ourselves?

A recent newspaper headline said: “Workaholic Canadians battle time stress. We’re working harder, enjoying ourselves less.”

Statistics Canada surveyed 11,000 Canadians and found people were more stressed for time last year than they were six years earlier.

Men and women aged 25 to 44 struggle most to balance paid work, unpaid work and personal life. But only 25 percent in this age group plan to slow down in the coming year. Are you one of them?

One way to beat stress is to take part in leisure activities on a regular basis. But how many of us have time for that. Not too many. For example, only 30 percent of small-business owners surveyed took time off for leisure activities, according to data compiled by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and American Express. Are you one of them?

Do you feel trapped in the rat race? You are not alone. Five million Canadians in the age group 25 to 44 and 40 percent of Canadians aged 15 to 24 feel trapped in the daily routine. It is a rat race. Lily Tomlin once said, “Even if you win the rat race, you are still a rat!” Is that how you feel?

Statscan’s survey shows that relief from stress comes with age. Time-related stress virtually disappears among the oldest age groups. Only 14 percent of women aged 55 to 64 reported high stress levels in 1998. Over the age of 65, time-related stress almost disappears. Some of my senior patients tell me that they have more time than money.

But do they have enough of good health?

Most illnesses like heart disease and cancer start to creep into our life as we cross 50. For example Canadian Heart Health Surveys (1986-1992) recently reported that 52 percent of Canadians 55 to 74 have high blood pressure, and 30 percent have a high cholesterol level.

Overall, 87 percent of men and 78 percent of women in this age group who are current smokers smoked at least 10 cigarettes per day. Only slightly more than 50 per cent exercised at least once a week for at leas 15 minutes. Only 4 percent have no major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. That’s scary!

The good news is most of the risk factors can be changed to create a positive impact on our health. But we need to find time to see our doctor, do more exercise, plan our diet, and quit smoking.

It all boils down to time. Time for ourselves, our family, our health, our work, and time for healthy recreation. But how can we win the “struggle to juggle” for time if we have to meet deadlines, beat the competition, be one step ahead of everybody, and be the best in what we do?

Stress is part our life. It is not going to go away. What matters is how we deal with it.

Are you time stressed? How do you juggle your time? Does it work for you? If you like to share your ideas with the readers of this column then send them to me via e-mail or mail to 821A – 5th Street, S.W., Medicine Hat, T1A 4H7. New ideas and the ideas that will work for the next millennium!

Start reading the preview of my book A Doctor's Journey for free on Amazon. Available on Kindle for $2.99!

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