Dr Ellie Cannon answers questions on her new book, ‘Is Your Job Making You Ill?’, published on 4th January 2018.
Why did you decide to write this book?
After 10 years in general practice seeing the far-reaching prevalence of work-related ill health, I wanted to write the book to share the advice and experiences I have had with my patients: what has worked and why anyone can find themselves affected.
Work-related ill health had become a very common consultation for me with a whole range of people affected, from the highest earning CEOs to the those at the bottom of the office heap.
It is really a self-help manual for sufferers – exploring lifestyle advice to deal with stress so people can carry on working: this is the big USP of the book – I encourage people not to stop working but to improve their life, their lifestyle, even trivial aspects like their commute so they can carry on working.
What are the stats that work is making people ill?
The most recent Labour Force Survey results for 2016-17 have recently been published and this provides the data for the HSE figures on work stress and ill health. For this past year:
- In 2016/17 stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 40% of all work-related ill health cases
- 12.5 million working days lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety
- 526,000 Workers suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety
- 1,610 per 100,000 workers affected
- Per person that is 23.8 working days lost
What are your 3 top tips to survive and thrive at work?
- Do not see sick leave as the answer: we know that worklessness , even for a short time, is not good for health and doesn’t help. People often come to me wanting this, because they think it’s the answer but experience and studies shows it’s not. Far better to seek help for your health issues and improve your lifestyle in small manageable steps whilst continuing working.
- Invest in your relationships at work. Healthy interpersonal relationships are a vital part of resilience: your ability to thrive, survive and cope. We know that healthy relationships enable your resilience at work whether that is through the support or mentorship of a good manager or friendship with work colleagues. Any supportive relationship you invest in at work will improve your stress levels: take the opportunities to connect.
- Make your journey to work as good as it can be: Rather than having it as a period of time where you’re rushing and the panic building up, there is no reason for it not to be me-time, recuperation and time out. If you get your journey right, you can actually be in the position to relish your journey to work. Switch the journey from being a hassle-filled part of the day to a time for you to treat yourself and indulge in something that will be relaxing. Whether you are walking, driving or on public transport what can you do that will offer relaxation and stress reduction on a regular basis? Can you escape into a novel, an audio book, podcasts or a meditation app? It could be the perfect opportunity to exercise: the optimal stress relief!