Smartphones make it harder to switch off and relax, study claims

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The number of people suffering from work-related stress is rising, research claims.

Women are particularly affected and experts believe the ‘always on’ culture, where workers feel they are expected to read and respond to emails outside office hours could be partly to blame. Cigna’s annual wellbeing survey quizzed 13,000 people working in 23 different markets around the world and found that 84 per cent of those questioned believed they suffered from stress.

The study found that 13 per cent of those felt that the situation was so bad, they were unable to manage. In the UK, 79 per cent of women and 66 per cent of men said they were affected by workplace stress.

Jason Sadler, president of Cigna International Markets, said: “'Women are more stressed than men, many of them managing both the family and work.”

April is Stress Awareness Month so La-Z-Boy has put together some tips on how to unwind at the end of a busy day at work.

  1. Switch off

Now that smartphones allow us to check emails and messages at any time of the day and night, it can be tempting to keep logging in to work accounts even when you are meant to be enjoying time off. Set yourself strict boundaries and create some time when you agree not to look at emails. If you feel you can’t ignore messages completely, allow yourself one half-hour period to check there is nothing urgent which needs dealing with. Put an out of office reply on your account explaining when you will next be available so no one will expect an immediate reply. If you have a work phone and you are not expected to be on call as part of your job, switch it off when you are at home so you are not tempted to accept calls and continue working.


  1. Try mindfulness

Mindfulness can be an effective way of reducing stress as it encourages you to stop focusing on things which are worrying you and concentrate on the moment instead. There are lots of mindfulness apps available to help you or you can try yourself by simply taking time to quietly concentrating on yourself and your surroundings. Push away any intruding thoughts and focus on breathing in and out. Set aside a few minutes to be mindful each day and build it into your routine.


  1. Make time for fun

Give yourself things to look forward to at the end of the working day and at weekends. Arrange to meet up with friends, book a table in a restaurant or go for a walk somewhere beautiful. If you’d prefer to relax at home, treat yourself to a new book by an author you love, watch a film or catch up on a favourite television series. Don’t be tempted to try and multi-task, pick one thing you want to do and give it all your attention. Turn off your phone and stay away from social media and just enjoy what you are doing in the moment without worrying about what will happen tomorrow, what is going on in the world or what other people might be doing.


  1. Create a peaceful haven

Turn your living room into an oasis of calm with warm, tactile fabrics, scented candles and dim lighting. Choose a sofa or armchair from La-Z-Boy with a reclining function so you can lay back, put your feet up and relax in comfort. Turn any screens off at least half an hour before you go to bed to give your brain a chance to switch off and get ready for a good night’s sleep.