Mexicans, the most stressed in the world

Work stress causes gastrointestinal damage, sleep disturbances, headaches, fears, behavioral reactions, and harassment at work. By having a real rest our attention processes are optimized. Due to the pandemic, the figure of the "always available collaborator" arose.

Mexicans, the most stressed in the world
In the world, Mexicans are the most stressed workers. Photo by Elisa Ventur / Unsplash

Mexico is one of the nations with the fewest vacation days, on average: 14 days off, including benefits and official days off according to the calendar. This is a short period, especially if we reduce the time that employees continue to attend to work-related matters instead of clearing their minds, warned Erika Villavicencio Ayub, a researcher at the Faculty of Psychology (FP) of the UNAM.

The cultural approach to labor issues in Mexico and the way we are educated to commit ourselves to work cause employees to feel guilty for leaving the office on time, or "disconnecting" in their rest or vacation time, she added.

"These types of factors have been positioning the work culture leading us to have to demonstrate with actions that our work interests us, such as overloading activities, having the desk full of papers, or staying longer than the established schedules. This does not necessarily provide the best results in organizations, but it does trigger psychosocial risk factors," she stressed.

Since 2017, figures from the World Health Organization indicate that Mexicans are the most stressed people in the world because of their work. Mexico has the first place in work stress, above nations such as China and the United States, the two largest economies on the planet.

According to data from the OCC World Job Center in Mexico, in 2019 chronic stress in workplaces affected more than 40 percent of its members; in 2021 it increased to 63 percent.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the "always available collaborator", which has increased mental disorders such as work-related stress that causes gastrointestinal discomfort, sleep disturbances, headaches, behavioral reactions, and/or fears, but also increased experiences of harassment at work.

It also generated burnout, which some people express by pretending to be extremely busy to project the image of someone successful. As a result, organizations perceive low-quality results, increased workplace accidents, or poor customer service.

The urgency or immediacy provided by new technologies has affected people, especially by preventing them from completely disconnecting from their work areas to attend to other areas of their personal lives. Therefore, it is necessary to move towards a balance of our activities through the organization of our time.

A study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies showed that because it takes time to relax after a stressful period of work and acclimatize to vacation, it takes eight more days of vacation to fully perceive the benefits of rest.

A vacation period in which full rest is achieved can be more than three days if people take time away from work. During this time it is possible to plan activities that produce well-being and pleasure, that help to forget the daily routine of work; she also suggested being physically active to have good physical health in general.

By having a real rest our attention processes are optimized when we return to develop an activity that requires concentration, otherwise, we get blocked and the delivery of good results is complicated. It is a matter of meeting the deadlines and deliverables that are requested of us at work, but doing so in an orchestrated manner, and with this, there is not only prompt delivery of results or reduction of conflicts, but we also produce a better work environment.

By seeking a balance between work and personal life, we have the opportunity to enjoy our vacations so that when we return we can improve our performance.