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  • Helping the nation to tackle stress

  • At AXA, we talk a lot about our ‘always on’ approach; that is, our constant, never-satisfied search for new and better ways of doing things.

    But ‘always on’ can also refer to an aspect of modern life that’s less beneficial: the constant call of work outside normal working hours which can cause considerable stress.

    Worryingly, 59% of people in the UK take work calls in what should be our free time, while 55% of us regularly check our work emails.

    These figures come from the AXA Stress Index 2017 1, a survey we carried out in order to find out what makes people feel stressed and what they do to alleviate this.

    We discovered that the UK population is under even more pressure than we had realised. 82% of us admit to feeling stressed at least some of the time during a typical week, while 8% feel stressed all the time. (Cardiff was revealed to be the most stressed city in the UK, with 86% of residents experiencing stress, while Brighton suffers the least, with 23% of people feeling no stress at all.)

    The causes of stress varied by city, by region and by gender – but the most common proved to be the pressures of work, financial worries and health concerns.

    The steps being taken to relieve stress were similarly varied. A majority of people (51%) turn to TV, while 42% listen to music and 39% read a book. A third of people exercise, though on the less healthy side of the coin, 28% drink alcohol and 11% smoke.

    From distress to de-stress

    Of course, we at AXA want to turn our increased awareness of stress into action. To help people cope better with pressure, whether they happen to work for us or not.

    For our members of staff, we’ve set up two programmes to improve their wellbeing: Be Healthy and Be Supported.

    “These findings illustrate the worrying scale of the UK’s stress epidemic, occurring both in the workplace and at home, impacting people up and down the country.”

    Dr Mark Winwood  
    Director of Psychological Services, AXA PPP

    We also go beyond standard employment terms by offering flexible working, a huge range of staff training, enhanced maternity and paternity leave and paid days off if children are unwell.

    For our customers, our healthcare services provide access to experts who can help with stress. Our Doctor@Hand service, for example, enables you to make an appointment with a GP whenever you want, wherever you are in the world.

    And for other employers, we’ve produced a white paper which looks in detail at the subject of mental health at work. (You can find out more about it here.)

    For now, though, here are the five top tips for dealing with stress, as featured in our Stress Index 2017 report:

    1.Rest, sleep and eat well

    Being awake and alert helps. Sleep well, take the time to unwind and eat properly and healthily.

    2.Exercise is vital

    Exercise releases endorphins to the brain and helps you sleep. Even a walk around the block will help.

    3.Put your devices away before bedtime

    Make sure you switch off properly when you go to sleep.

    4.Watching TV is good in the right doses

    As mentioned, the majority of people already use the TV to de-stress.  But remember, moderation is key.

    5.Seek help from a specialist

    If you’re seriously struggling to function, speak to a professional.

    At AXA, we want to help everyone lead healthier, happier lives. And that’s something we can’t stress enough.

    Learn how smiling could help reduce stress in this ground breaking research study supported by the AXA Research Fund.

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  • 1 Research for the AXA Stress Index 2017 study was carried out by One Poll. 4000 UK adults were surveyed between 28th July and 8th August 2017.
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