Seniors not as stressed as working adults
This year’s OSIM Wellness Survey also found that Baby Boomers were the most stressed by the Government restrictions and limitations on visitors to households.
Global consumer wellness technology company OSIM International released findings of its third annual OSIM Wellness Survey that found that working adults (ages 24 to 55) logged the highest concentration of stress, followed by youths (ages 16 to 25) and seniors (ages 56 to 70).
The survey examined stress levels and coping mechanisms amongst Singaporeans amidst sustained pandemic measures and concerns over the past two years. A total of 432 respondents aged 16 to 70 were surveyed. To achieve an in-depth understanding of unique stressors, the survey also zeroed in on how individuals of different ages experienced, assessed and managed stress.
The survey found that a large proportion of Singaporeans experience moderate to high stress levels, with two in three respondents indicating so. Of the different age groups surveyed, working adults were found to have the highest concentration of respondents reporting moderate to high stress levels – 60 percent indicating moderate levels of stress and 12 percent indicating high, for a total of 72 percent.
Looking at the reasons for the stress levels of Singaporeans, the survey also identified financial-related issues as the biggest source of stress across all age groups. Work, financial matters and a lack of money were cited as part of the top five stressors for all age groups. Specifically, financial matters were the biggest source of stress for Millennials (51 percent), Gen X (ages 41 to 56) (57 percent) and Baby Boomers (ages 57 to 75) (38 percent).
Over the last two years, there have also been a significant number of COVID-19 safe management measures introduced that impacted the routines and habits of Singaporeans. While the renewed measures announced on March 24, 2022 relaxed a range of restrictions, many will still remain in some form. Thus, the survey sought to assess which enforced changes impacted the respondents most severely in the past year. Almost two-thirds (58 percent) of respondents indicated that such measures caused them stress.
Specifically, respondents were most affected by limitations to social and leisure activities such as dining out, house visitation limits and overseas travel. The largest proportion of respondents felt that vaccine-related guidelines, such as entry restrictions to malls and community facilities, impacted them the most. Twenty-six percent of respondents ranked it as their top stress-causing COVID-19 measure, followed by restrictions on dining out (22 percent) and home visitation limits (18 percent).
By demographic segments, Gen Z (ages nine to 24) considered being unable to dine out a top stressor, while Baby Boomers were the most stressed by the restrictions and limitations on visitors to households. Vaccine-related measures were the top stressor for Millennials and Gen X. Across the board, quarantine and recovery measures, and the reporting on infection and death rates ranked the lowest.
With increased digitalisation, digital devices have become an integral part of our lives. As a means of stress relief and well-being management, entertainment platforms such as video streaming services and social media are a common outlet for individuals. The survey also found that the use of devices as stress relief has increased since the beginning of the pandemic more than two years ago, and how digital devices have had an impact on participants’ mental health and stress levels, as they live and work in a digital age.
The survey found that the use of digital devices for stress relief increased by 11 percent over the past two years, from 58 percent to 69 percent. This year’s survey found that “watching TV or videos” was the preferred mode of stress relief across all age groups. More than 60 percent of all respondents watched TV or videos, with those age between 56 and 70 years old reporting the highest figure at 88 percent. In younger age groups, almost half of both Gen Z and Millennials coped with stress by using social media. However, interestingly, 21 percent of Millennials also cited social media as a key source of stress.
While excessive screen time and the use of digital devices may be associated with a range of negative mental health outcomes, mindful and regulated use of digital devices has also been linked with improved well-being.
Assessing stress levels
The survey also sought to understand whether individuals assessed if they were stressed, and how they do so. The most common stress indicators among respondents were emotional (78 percent) followed by physical (46 percent). Emotional indicators include feeling anxious, edgy, or depressed, while physical indicators include experiencing headaches or lethargy.
Interestingly, in spite of the increased usage of digital devices for stress-relieving activities such as watching TV and videos, or social media, few stated that they used digital devices to track or manage their stress levels. This demonstrates that even though there is a high level of digital penetration, not many people fully utilise their devices as tools for stress management. Only about a quarter of respondents reported utilising dedicated tools such as health trackers, wearables, or other smart devices.
Ultimately, the survey indicates that developing better stress management habits are still imperative, as stress levels remain high while the majority of Singaporeans still report not actively tracking or managing stress, with only one in three doing so. Out of the 68 percent of respondents who do not track their stress levels, 64 percent stated that this was due a lack of knowledge that there are such devices on the market, designed to help with measuring of one’s stress levels.
(** PHOTO CREDIT: Canva Pro)