Why so many Aussies are burnt out

Three-quarters of Australians experience regular aches and pains, nearly half feel stressed at least every second day, half don’t sleep more when they’re tired and nearly one in three never wear sunscreen. These are the findings of a survey of 1002 Australians commissioned by Entity Health.

Are we burnt out? Is the state of the nation’s health a ticking time bomb, even when it is not being imperilled by the coronavirus?

The survey found that 40 per cent of respondents felt stressed two to three times a week, a further 32 per cent at least once a week and a worrying 11 per cent daily or several times a day. The leading causes of stress were family issues (46 per cent of respondents), personal finances (41 per cent), work issues (38 per cent) and health problems (35 per cent).

Australians’ energy levels were just as sobering. A quarter (25 per cent) of respondents felt most tired in the mornings – when we should be most energised – with the biggest energy slump in the late afternoon between 3pm and 6pm, when 31 per cent reported suffering ‘three-thirty-itis’.

To boost energy, half (51 per cent) turn to coffee or tea. Surprisingly, 46 per cent of respondents won’t opt to sleep more if they feel tired.

Joint aches and pains are generally thought to be conditions linked to ageing, but 70 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds admitted experiencing aches and pains at least once a week. Overall, three in four Aussies (75 per cent) experience aches and pains at least once a week, and 54 per cent at least two to three times a week.

And despite Australia having the world’s highest rate of skin cancer, with approximately two in three Australians being diagnosed with the disease before age 70, the survey reveals that only a fifth (22 per cent) think about protecting their skin from UV damage daily. A further half (47 per cent) only think about protection when the sun is out, and 26 per cent only consider it during summer. Older age groups are more mindful – with twice the number of over-65s (31 per cent) thinking about UV protection than under-34s (15 per cent). 

When it comes to proactively protecting their skin from sun damage, 58 per cent of those surveyed don’t wear shirts with sleeves, a further half (52 per cent) don’t hydrate while out in the sun, 37 per cent don’t wear a hat and a concerning 29 per cent don’t wear sunscreen at all.

Chief medical officer at Entity Health Dr Janakan Krishnarajah says: “We may think that stress, too much sun, lack of energy, and aches and pains are a natural part of life that will only affect us in the present. However, it’s important that we consider the long-term health consequences if we don’t change our current habits and address these factors early on.”

Entity Health’s top four tips to improve your quality of life:

1. Protect yourself against harmful rays. UV radiation damages skin cells and the effects can be deadly in the long term. 

2. Understand whether your stress is healthy or unhealthy. Good stress assists with productivity and motivation, and can be healthy in small doses – but too much stress can lead to health problems.

3. Find natural energy boosters. Avoid caffeine as a stimulant as it can lead to an energy crash and cause sleep disruption.

4. Address joint ache and pain as soon as it starts.

Do you regard aches and pains as merely part of the ageing process? Are you diligent about protecting your skin from sun damage? Do you suffer from ‘three-thirty-itis’?

Written by Janelle Ward


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