Work, work, work, work, or?

We live in a society of achievement and performance, where saying “yes, of course I can” is the default and having a fully booked calendar is a sign of success. You achieve more, produce more, pushing towards the top because whatever you want you can get if you work hard enough. Team that up with the pressure of having alone time, going to the gym, having time for your partner, your kids, having a beautiful home, and that annoying hash tag #norest that is trending all over Instagram.

Not surprisingly, stress-related illness is soaring across Europe. According to a European opinion poll conducted by the EU-OSHA, more than half of workers report that work-related stress is a common problem in their workplace. In the UK, a recent survey revealed that 51 per cent of full-time employees have experienced anxiety or burnout in their current job. In Sweden, the employment office’s statistics show that currently 35,000 people are on sick leave due to exhaustion or burn out. What the statistics also show is that women are more affected than men, making it a question of gender equality.

Moreover, it is also a matter of democracy when parts of the population, read women and especially young women, are stepping down from positions and commitments prematurely due to stress, as this will lead to a skewed distribution of power.

In my first post on this blog I wrote about the concept of doughnut economics and the importance of staying within our planetary boundaries to ensure sustainable social foundations and human wellbeing. Being sustainable and resilient as human beings, having the space to rest from constant demands is equally important to have a sustainable society.

And this is the point; burnout is a structural problem not an individual one. It is a reflection of our economic system shouting at us to achieve and produce more. In our professional life and in our personal ones. But remember, you are more than your productivity. Way more.

/Anna Tranberg

Works with research and innovation at the Swedish governmental agency for innovation systems

Federation of Young European Greens COP21 delegate

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