One in two adults feels they have an uneven work-life balance, new research has shown. A study into the health and happiness of 2,000 men and women revealed four in ten were unable to describe themselves as happy, as working long hours, eating a poor diet and lack of sleep take a toll on their day to day well-being.
Worryingly, more than half said their stress and anxiety levels had risen in the last 12 months amid a struggle to find the right balance between work and family life.
Results showed one third of people were consumed by thoughts of work from the minute they woke up, while one in four said they only stop thinking about work last thing at night.
The inability to switch off is having repercussions, with over half the study saying their work life has impacted upon their personal relationships and in some cases led to poor health.
The research, commissioned by Tilda to launch its online Goodness Guide, showed that not eating well is a big contributor to feelings of discontent – many workers regularly skipped meals, while one in five often cobbled together their evening meal after 9pm.
Camilla Sheeley, Senior Brand & Innovation Manager for Tilda said:
“To feel happy and content we must take a holistic approach to our lifestyle choices, this includes giving consideration to what we eat, how much we sleep and how we use our leisure time.
”Worryingly, the research shows that nearly 40% of women and just over a third of men heavily rely on high sugar and caffeinated drinks to get them through the day. Whilst long working hours and the desire to fill every spare minute, has resulted in the majority of us spending on average less than 20 minutes preparing our weekday meals.
”Nearly three-quarters of women and over a third of men are aware that their diet has a direct impact on their outlook on life.”
The study also found 57% of people had seen their personal life affected because of putting in too many hours at work.
This most commonly surfaced in arguments with the other half or a decline in the quality of their diet (47%), while nearly a third spent less time playing with their children.
The level of mental fatigue experienced is also on the rise, with the average person questioned getting just over six and a half hours sleep during a typical evening, along with having to cope with disturbed sleep at least once a week.
To help set a better balance most Brits cited less time at work, more exercise and eating healthy food as the biggest factors in restoring a better outlook.
Brits also struggle significantly to maintain good levels of nutrition as just 86% of the 2,000 polled admited to not eating enough fruit and vegetables.
Six in ten also felt their overall happiness would improve if they could adjust their eating pattern and day to day food intake, whilst 30% said they feel helpless to change their current work-life balance.
Dhruv Baker, Master Chef 2010 winner added:
“We have forgotten that happiness is not a finite experience, we can all achieve it if we do simple things.
”We should aim to use our time wisely and introduce basic healthy elements into our routines, such as exercise and eating more fresh fruit and veg along with wholegrain foods that serve to keep our energy levels consistent.”
The Goodness Guide was written by Dhruv Baker, MasterChef 2010 winner, Dr Sarah Schenker and Carol Ann Rice, and is a manual for the modern person who struggles with poor diet.