What is The Cost of Stress?
The symptoms of stress are so varied and affect our physical, emotional and mental health. You can grab a simple 10 signs of stress checklist here, or read the full blog on some of the many ways it affects our body's in the previous blog. However, what about what the long-term effects of stress actually cost? Not just for business but for us personally too?
Cost to Business
Did you know that 'work-related stress' is now the biggest factor in days of sick (in both the UK and the USA)? The good news is that as organisations are now becoming more aware there are also more leaders trying to put into place long-term programmes for employees. Though looking at the numbers, it makes good economic sense, we all know that a happy, healthy employee is more productive!
- 57% of sick days in the UK are due to work-related stress*
- £35 billion was the total cost to UK employers from mental health in 2018*
- 24% more working days in the UK are lost due to mental illness (compared to 10 years ago)*
- 77% of people in the USA regularly experience the physical symptoms of stress**
- 73% of people in the USA regularly experience the physiological symptoms of stress**
- $300 Billion is the annual cost to employers in the USA of stress-related health care and missed work**
*The Mindful Initiative Report 2019 **American Institute of Stress Research 2014
As an Employer
For any organisation, big or small, looking at how stress can affect your employees is well worth the investment. As you can see from the figures above, the financial cost is huge, and it is only growing. With the symptoms of stress being so varied, affecting not just the physical health of staff but also their emotional and mental wellbeing too, it is clear that an approach to reducing and managing stress in the workplace is the way forward.
As an Employee
For you, the member of a team, Manager, Director or office temp, the cost can appear to be much greater. All these reports of stats and numbers clearly show what the cost is to an organisation but what about the cost to you?
- Sleep difficulties - leading to irritability and inability to cope
- Change in appetite - may be weight gain, which affects self-esteem
- Constant headaches - taking long-term medication that then makes you slow and sluggish
- IBS - leading to a change in diet, medication or constant discomfort
- Combined - how is this affecting your relationships, in and out of work? Are you now described by your kids as the 'grumpy one'? Do you find yourself shouting at your partner, or family members for little or no reason? What about at work? Do you take any criticism personally, or are you unable to see the reasoning behind simple decision making?
- Do you now work longer to get it all done? Coming home even later, or perhaps working more at the weekends? Spending less time with your family and friends?
All of these are the knock-on of the long-term effects of stress. The cost to you personally cannot always have a financial figure, but none the less, it is very real.
How to deal with Stress
There is no one size fits all approach to the stress. It will usually need to be seen from both sides; the causes of the stress and lessening the symptoms of stress. Why not look at the article on
Creating a better work-life balance, this has some great tips on how to look at both sides. With practical approaches for any workplace that can easily be implemented without the need for outside organisations.
A Mindful Approach
There is growing evidence that mindfulness can help with both the causes of stress (by looking at ways to reduce the factors that affect you) and also with dealing with the symptoms (simple mindful tools that enable you to lessen the symptoms of stress). The 5 Tips for a More Mindful Workplace is a good place to start, and you can also sign up for the newsletter, which will always have practical tips to help you in your workplace.
For the parents out there, there are also resources for you too. Just head to the Mindful Parenting page.
The best way to address your stress is to look at both the factors that are causing you stress and also ways to help you reduce your symptoms. I hope that this website will provide you with some easy to adopt tools that will enable you to stress less and enjoy more in your everyday life.
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Rachel Hawkes is a mum to twin teenagers and teaches baby and kids yoga & mindfulness classes, alongside running a business Wellbeing Centre. She is a published author of 2 books relating to Mindful Parenting and loves to share her tips and ideas wherever she can.
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