Young students starting their careers are having an increasingly hard time managing their stress levels. According to the third annual Sun Life Canadian Health Index, compiled by Ipsos Reid, 90 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds experience high levels of stress. This number has many employers and researchers worried, and even re-evaluating some health benefits that their companies may offer.
"We're concerned to see the impact of economic instability on young Canadians with nine in 10 feeling excessively stressed," said Kevin Dougherty, president of Sun Life Financial Canada. "This finding is consistent with what we are seeing is our disability claims business - for Canadians age 30 and under, 40 per cent of their long-term disability claims relate to mental health."
While there are certainly factors that leading companies can change to reduce workers' stress levels, young employees can also do their own part to minimize their worries related to work or financial problems.
Take a Daily Break
One tip that students should keep in mind is that managing stress is an everyday priority, just like brushing your teeth. Whether it's a walk around the block or sitting in a park, incorporate a stress-relieving activity into your daily routine. Start out in small increments and eventually increase it to an hour or more each day if you need to.
Think positive thoughts
Part of the reason that stress levels skyrocket is because of the negative thoughts milling in people's heads, whether because of their jobs, bills, family obligations or school duties. When these ideas remain in a person's head, rather than jotted down on paper or talked out with a friend or therapist, they can grow bigger and get worse with time.
Instead, students should keep a journal handy and when their day's priorities seem too big to handle, they can write down what's bothering them and tackle each issue one at a time. After jotting down the negative thoughts, students can repeat some positive affirmations in their heads throughout the day to remind themselves that life is not as gloomy as they may believe.