As summer gets underway, so do vacations. But this year more people may be opting to do nothing and go no where. The “stay-cation” is catching on. And perhaps for good reason, given that 83% of Americans report feeling stressed at work.
The cost of 24/7 connectivity for America’s work force is evidenced by a marked increase in stress and anxiety levels from years past. Checking email, tweeting, Facebooking and answering work calls day or night, has some waking up to the power of being unplugged.
“A growing body of research shows that relaxing vacations can help people be less intense at home and more productive on the job,” writes Daniel B. Wood in “As Memorial Day Arrives, Americans Plan ‘Chill’ Vacations,” for The Christian Science Monitor (May 27, 2013). “All this is leading to a growing group of theorists arguing that the best way to be healthier, happier, and more productive is to spend more time doing less.” Wood reports that some companies are even tracking their employees vacation time, “reminding them that a week of idleness can be as important as what’s in their in-box.”
For adults, jobs are the leading cause of stress, according to Paul J. Rosch, MD, Chairman of the Board of The American Institute of Stress, who told The Atlantic that “work-related anxiety has multiplied in recent years — both for the unemployed and the employed.”
The ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America) says more than 75% of Americans who report experiencing work-related stress also claim that “it carries over to their personal life, particularly among men (83 percent vs. 72 percent for women).”
Since June is national men’s health month, it’s a good opportunity to take a look at finding solutions to stress and anxiety that can help men (and women, too) learn ways to unwind and balance.
Everyday Health published a piece called, “10 Ways For Men to Reduce Stress.” Among the tips in the list is a recommendation to take regular time out for meditation or prayer.
A friend of mine, who has a practice of praying daily, had a new take on the “1,2,3” solution that comes right from scripture. He shared about a time when he was really overwhelmed with the work that had accumulated while he was away on vacation with his wife. He spent his first day back at the office trying to get through the piles, but found himself just spinning his wheels. So that night he decided to pray about it and three verses from the Bible helped him gain a new perspective:
1.”I can of mine own self do nothing” (Christ Jesus) 2. “Through God I can do what I need to do” (Apostle Paul) 3. “I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me” (Apostle Paul)
My friend related how this scriptural wisdom directed his prayers that night and had a healing effect. In an online interview with the Christian Science Sentinel he said, “All the feelings of stress and anxiety were replaced with a deep sense of peace. I went back to work the next day with a whole new attitude about how I was going to accomplish my tasks. And step by step, I did!”
Finding time each day for moments of prayer and contemplation unplugs you from stress and takes the same feeling of peace and quiet you might have on a vacation right back to the faster pace of work.
So go ahead, grab a hammock.