Tuesday 23 January 2018

We must help ourselves to fight modern life's demons

A lifestyle survey shows that we are prioritising finances over mental and physical health, writes Emer O'Kelly

MOST of us have more leisure time than in many years; some of us due to job-sharing or voluntary early retirement, others, less happily, due to redundancy, or inability to find work in the first place. All of these factors, in particular the inability to find work and/or enforced retirement, create their own stresses. But in the internet age, and with the incessant barrage from advertisers, we also know or are at least vaguely aware -- whether we're stressed out from overwork, or stressed out because we have nothing with which to fill our days -- that good mental and physical health are important, and stress is bad for both of them. But we can't seem to get our act together.

The Pfizer Health Index 2011 may have hit on the reason. It has found that most of us are more concerned about our finances than we are about our health. And if we think about it, that has a built-in spiral of unhealthy self-fulfilment. Stress has a nasty habit of multiplying itself.

For a start, we're smoking and drinking more than we did five years ago, at the height of the boom. And we all know of the horrendous levels of binge-drinking that existed in those heady days. Significantly, it's those who are unemployed who show the highest rise in drinking levels in 2011.

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