Picture: AP Work is biggest cause of stress
Work remains one of the leading drivers of stress-related illnesses among South African professionals, according to the 2017 Profmed Stress Index.

The index, which is compiled from responses by nearly 3 000 of Profmed’s professional membership base, revealed that apart from financial stresses, 45.5% of respondents still saw work as the biggest contributor to stress in their lives.

The impact of work-related and financial stress can work hand in hand, as both can make an impact on a professional’s lifestyle choices and quality of life.

“Finding effective ways to manage stress is what will make the difference in the quality of life for hard-working professionals and is the only way to avoid falling ill to stress-related illnesses,” said Graham Anderson, chief executive officer of Profmed.

According to the survey, 10% of respondents indicated that they have taken time off from work due to stress-related illnesses over the past six months.

This is a slight increase from the previous year's rating of 9.7%. Anderson said another area of concern was the increase in the number of professionals who indicated that they feel they are not managing stress effectively.

This year's number reached 29.15%, an increase from the previous year's result of 28.3%.

“Managing your stress plays a very important role in avoiding many diseases, which could have severe implications on your health going forward. We strongly encourage people to learn more about the effects of stress and how to effectively manage them.”

Nonetheless, Anderson said it was encouraging to see that exercise remains the most common method of dealing with stress. The index revealed that respondents actively exercising to deal with stress had risen from 37.6% in 2016 to 41.6% in 2017.

Additional highlights from the Profmed Stress Index include:

Most respondents are between the ages of 25 and 34, with the second largest group between 35 and 44.

The index was completed by 57.8% male respondents, with the majority of respondents working in the medical industry.

More than 63% of respondents claimed that stress has both an emotional and physical impact on them. About 21% of respondents cope with stress by taking time off from work or going on holiday.