Forbes recently reported that workplace stress continues to rise. Overall stress has risen nearly 20% in the last 3 decades. Stress doesn’t stay at the workplace, it follows us home, so that we inadvertently share its effects with our loved ones and negatively impact our time “off the clock.”
- 76% of respondents said workplace stress “had a negative impact on their personal relationships”
- 66% have lost sleep due to work-related stress
- 16% have quit jobs because stress became too overwhelming
Technology takes part of the blame. Because most of us carry phones and laptops with us wherever we go, work follows us everywhere. When we are waiting to meet a friend or are at our kid’s swim practice, we mindlessly check email and usually find at least 5 work-related emails waiting for us. The temptation to open the email is almost impossible to resist. Once we read the email, we are hard pressed not to answer it which often takes us down a rabbit hole of distraction. Twenty years ago, we would have enjoyed some idle time for the nervous system to chill out during our downtime. We would have answered the questions when we got back to the office and not felt compelled to interrupt our personal time as frequently.
It’s no wonder, anxiety and depression are also on the rise.
In 2014, my business partners, Jeni Martinez and Karen Schwisow, and I noticed the increase in the number of calls coming in to our yoga studio, Three Trees Yoga, asking for on-site yoga classes, meditation classes and stress management workshops.
Yoga and meditation had originally brought the three of us together in a friendship which ultimately led to a business partnership that has gratefully felt more like a sisterhood. Over the years we have shared countless stories and witnessed enumerable ways in which our lives have been profoundly supported through the tools of yoga and meditation. Amidst the everyday joys and trials of raising children; navigating relationships; taking care of parents and managing busy households, the practice has helped us to not only ride out the tough times but to also be present with and take in the good times. When one of our parents would get sick; when one of us went through a divorce; when one of us was injured; we often looked at each other and wondered, “how do people do life without yoga and meditation?”
That question and the positive feedback from our corporate clients were the two essential pieces in our decision to create Work Well NW, a company dedicated to sharing skills for living an engaged, full-hearted life with people in the workplace.
We hear regularly how our participants experience less anxiety; are more engaged with their families; sleep better; notice and change self-defeating behaviors; take in more pleasant moments; feel a greater sense of wellbeing and experience less tension in their bodies Hearing comments like these and witnessing how classes are positively impacting the lives of the participants tells us we are on the right track with Work Well NW. This work continues to bring us great joy and purpose while offering real possibilities for positive change in the workplace.
Neuroscientist and meditation researcher Richie Davidson said, “Well Being is a learned skill. It is trainable.”
Lipman, Victor, “Workplace Trend: Stress Is on the Rise”, Forbes, Jan. 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2019/01/09/workplace-trend-stress-is-on-the-rise/#60baa37f6e1b, accessed Apr. 30, 2019.