Boom Time For Therapists As Stress Soars Among Young City Workers

Work patterns changed beyond recognition in a decade, occupational stress the norm, few benefit from technology’s ease: can Britain ever take it easy again?

With the pressure of few shopping days till Christmas, financial worries and frantic lifestyles of expectation, social-media and the ‘now’, all ages feel under stress. In-Deed, an online conveyancing company published a November 2011 survey saying that selling or buying a house ages people by two years. They didn’t find how much stress people suffer who can’t sell their homes.

How much is healthy, creative stress and how much is destructive? More of the latter has far-reaching consequences for our legislation, legal / educational / welfare / employment / transport systems. In short, for our whole way of life.

Most employed accept some occupational stress. When a social worker’s stress is classified as ‘industrial injury’, there’s a view that pressure on caring professions may be greater than others. Or that it wasn’t recognised before.

The Prime Minister or cabinet colleagues taking a break causes criticism, as if they have abandoned their macho-credentials by having a holiday. Others think they are better at their jobs if they take regular rests. Will Britain be better for a seasonal respite from politics?

Clearly, the 24-hour world doesn’t slow, issues don’t stop piling, cries for government ‘to do something’ don’t diminish. But all things in perspective is the way to better government at home and abroad.

Pay Not Necessarily the Issue

There was widespread amazement (early November 2011) that Lloyds Banking Group chief executive Antonio Horta-Osario was taking time off, suffering ‘extreme fatigue’. People thought an £8 million salary package and only eight months into the job would mitigate his stress.

When incoming chief of Ofsted, the government’s education watchdog, Sir Michael Wilshaw, announced that teachers should be allowed sabbaticals to ‘return to the classroom refreshed’, many people outside education assumed that 13 weeks annual holiday, reasonable salary and pension would be refreshment enough.

Eyebrows were raised when Robin Henry wrote in the Sunday Times (Nov 2011) that stress was ‘soaring among young City workers’. Medics expect to diagnose burnout in midlife, now ‘twentysomethings, the cream, of the crop in top-paid jobs’ find stress levels ‘wrecking their lives’.

Salary aside, stress is a problematic issue of our times. Anhedonia is the condition that prevents, according to Henry, ‘sufferers deriving any pleasure from their lives’. Insomnia, drug abuse, anxiety and depression are increasing.

Robert Colvile highlighted the growing problem of British stress in the Daily Telegraph (November 2011), asking ‘how much more can we take?’ He showed that more than half state-sector teachers take an annual average 9 days sick: ‘they can’t all be faking it’. It was a problem he felt can’t be ‘brushed under the carpet’.

The Climate

Colvile and others cited the ‘excuse’ of the economic climate. Banking isn’t the only sector suffering uncertainties, cutbacks, media hostility and stressed staff. The Eurozone crisis, the general global economic outlook, shortage of resources, price pressures and constant demands from a data/social media/instant culture affect everybody.

Psychology Today defines stress as: ‘reaction to a stimulus that disturbs our physical or mental equilibrium’. They say it’s an omnipresent part of life. A stressful event can trigger the ‘fight-or-flight’ response, causing hormones like adrenalin and cortisol to surge through the body. ‘A little bit of stress is exciting—it keeps us active and alert. But chronic stress can have detrimental effects on health’.

Individual and family financial stress is also increasing, further affecting health. Worries about rising winter energy bills, paying mortgages/rent and job/pension insecurities increase drinking, smoking, overeating and encourage unhealthy ‘coping’ activities.

With less money, people cut corners on personal care, healthy food and quality personal/family time and may borrow beyond their means. Anxiety and sleep loss exacerbates poor cognitive abilities and immune functioning, so stress is part of a truly vicious circle. This in turn leads to more public money needed for symptom treatment.

Policy Issues

Therefore, stress is not only an economic or behavioural indicator, it’s political. More people are depressed during the darker days of winter, (Seasonal Affected Disorder), and the mood of the nation is not only an opinion poll influencing elections, but a pointer for government priorities.

The quantity of assessing/testing children and teenagers (school and national tests, exams and regular target-driven monitoring) sets some off with stress and anxiety. For most, the joys of learning for learning sake without justification by assessment are a historical quirk.

Searching for work in a shrinking economy where employers demand the sort of experience young people neither have nor can acquire without a job is also stressful. The classification of thousands of young people into ‘NEETS’ (not in education, employment or training) is damning and glib, if technically accurate.

When business leaders and politicians show signs of stress-influenced behaviour and extreme emotional and physical fatigue, what can be done? Film of haggard, drained leaders emerging punch-drunk from marathon summits to solve impossible problems, do nobody any favours. Indeed, the world is suffering ‘summit fatigue’ now.

If stress is part of life and a fast-moving, constantly changing world is where we live, there’s surely a limit to antidotes politicos can convincingly offer?

Stress Relievers

The internet is awash with sites offering methods/potions as the panacea for stress. BootsMD offer tips including: maintain a positive attitude, accept events beyond anybody’s control, be assertive instead of aggressive, express feelings/opinions/beliefs rather than become angry or defensive.

They urge people to exercise regularly, try meditation/yoga/tai-chi, eat healthily, mange time effectively, set limits, make time for interests and social support and seek mental health treatment as needed.

And of course, to book a Breakthrough Retreat!


Daily Telegraph, Robert Colvile, The stress of life takes its toll. 2 November 2011. Web 3 Nov 2011.

Sunday Times, Robin Henry, Boom time for therapists as stress soars. 6 November 2011.

BootswebMD. August 2009. Web 3 November 2011.

Stress Management Society. Web 4 November 2011.

Psychology Today. Web 7 November 2011.

Television news reports on teacher stress, April 2010. Web 7 November 2011.

Main Article By: Suite101. Stress Could Be the Next Key Factor in British Politics.

Christmas. Bring it on!

Handling Christmas with confidence and style. Christmas is the most stressful time of the year. Always hated it? Dread it because loved ones are no longer around to share it with you? Trying to recapture the magic of Christmas? All the good things can be gift wrapped just for you in time for Christmas.

We at Breakthrough Retreat take this crisis on board. We aim with one of our suggested residential group or 1 to 1 Retreats to devise a Christmas survival package just for you and your circumstances so you can go away actually looking forward to the festive season with a Christmas hamper of psychological tools.

Please do check out our website for more information.

Indian Summer

Sometimes we are given a second chance or given something good that we are not expecting or feel we do not deserve to spend time learning how to take advantage of unexpected bounty. We all get opportunities in life, learn how to recognise them and use them to transform your life.

indian summer at breakthrough retreats

A residential retreat may be the key to designing an exquisite life plan that you can use to then transform your life. Can you afford not to discover your true life path? Capture the best of what’s gone before and move forward to the life you are meant to have.

Charting Your Course

Are you just flotsam and jetsam?  Have the confidence to map out your life so you are going in the direction you want to go in.

charting shoreline

Explore why it is that you are deflected and do not achieve your goals.  Find out how to be the master of your fate.

Summer Wine

We are due to schedule a new Group Retreat. Over the next few weeks we will be blogging a series of questions, poses and motivational thoughts to inspire you to think about joining us. Enjoy!

Do you have a project that you want to come to fruition?  Will it be a vintage year for you?  Have you started something important in your life but got stuck?  Need to find out how to bring your project to maturity?  We can help you recapture your motivation and make it happen!

Summer Wine

Always starting something but never finishing it? Learn to focus, think big, and build a bigger picture. Visualise what you are really capable of and know that you will achieve it. Let go of those old patterns of behaviour and step forward with courage and commitment.

Call us at 01462 735726

Summer Solstice 2011 at Breakthrough Retreats

There have been strange things happening at Breakthrough HQ this week, and now we know why! We have felt great surges of energy, but at the same time Maureen has been feeling a little under the weather : ( We can of course put this down to today (Tuesday 21st June 2011) being the longest day or Summer Solstice.

We were up early this morning as it got light (Just before 5) and have been enjoying every minute of this cloudy day so far. Maureen has had a client this morning, with whom she has been able to share her gift of light with, so the day has got off to a productive start.

We found this great Summer Solstice definition from (2011).

Sol + stice derives from a combination of Latin words meaning “sun” + “to stand still.” As the days lengthen, the sun rises higher and higher until it seems to stand still in the sky.

As a major celestial event, the Summer Solstice results in the longest day and the shortest night of the year. The Northern Hemisphere celebrates in June, but the people on the Southern half of the earth have their longest summer day in December.

This time of year is great for getting rid of old stuff and turning to the new – Hmmm… a Summer Solstice Retreat for Breakthrough Retreats next year perhaps? What fun! – We could channel some earth energy work, perform Reiki, visualisations and Meditate.

Summer Solstice is a time for reflection, and this quote taken from here – Leads us to this…

But just at this moment of greatest light, we begin to face death, for now the days begin to shorten and the darkness grows.  Solstice literally means “sun stand still”, for at the solstices the sun seems to stop on its course before it reverses itself.

This would explain why Maureen has been feeling a little under the weather then!

Here is a great YouTube video for determining how to measure the tilt of the Earth at 1pm today.


Alternative Therepy; Dancing Yourself to Happiness; This Morning Report

Breakthrough Retreats take a look at ITV This Morning’s May 2011 feature on alternative therapies with Jo Wood to help us all de-stress:

Dance Yourself to Happiness ITV This Morning

We all strive to find ways to wind down and de-stress so model and entrepreneur Jo Woods, who lives a totally organic lifestyle, is here to introduce three alternative therapies which can help to relax, and banish the blues.

We take a look at Drum Therapy with expert Mark Hunter, Dance Therapy with Chris Linnares and Laughter therapy with Leela Bunce to see how effective they can be at lifting your spirits!

You can see ITV’s This Morning’s Video Report here.

We at Breakthrough Retreats think that this is a great idea – Shimmying your way to happiness! – It certainly puts a spring in Maureen’s step to have a little boogie around her kitchen early in the morning!

Breakthrough Retreats offer an insight into some of these therapies at our exclusive Retreats in great location.

Photo courtesy of ITV This Morning

Get Back Your Zest For Life!

Are you carrying a little extra weight around the middle?  Maybe you’ve got more than just a little weight problem – maybe it’s a rather large one and you need to get rid of the fat for health reasons.  Rest assured that you’re not alone!


Obesity in the UK is at an all-time high.  In the US, one of out of every three American’s is obese – a number that has doubled in just ten years.  This epidemic is growing out of control in other countries as well as fast food franchises open in China, Japan, Germany, and other industrialised nations.

When you are overweight, it’s a serious issue.  Carrying extra weight can make you more susceptible to heart problems, diabetes, stroke, and various types of cancer.  It can also affect your body image as well thus causing problems with your self-esteem.

You deserve to be healthier and take off some of that weight that is making you unhealthy.  But what if you’re like me and love food so you hate the idea of having to eat rice cakes and brussel sprouts or starving yourself just to help the weight come off.

We have good news for you!  You don’t have to starve yourself to lose weight!

Many people associate weight loss with being hungry all the time. They’re afraid to start a weight loss plan because they want to avoid the frustrations of hunger.

And yes, a lot of times for many people they think it’s better to be overweight than to starve. I’m no exception. I really like to eat, so there’s no way I would be constantly hungry for the sake being thin. What kind of life is it if you’re always feeling hungry?

Our natural instinct tells us to eat when we are hungry. Hunger is a signal telling the body that it needs to eat. It is also a signal to the body that it is in danger, that it needs food now. Our self-preservation instinct makes us scarf down everything in sight in response to feelings of starvation.

Our body doesn’t care that we live in the modern world where food is plentiful. It acts the same as it would if we were living in a wild, having to hunt for our food. And it is not wise to go against the instinct that is designed to protect us from starvation death.

So, get ready for a surprise: you do not have to be hungry in order to lose weight. On the contrary, eating regular meals and keeping yourself full is what will actually help you stick to your healthy eating plan and reach your goals. Keeping your hunger in check will help you avoid overeating. It will also prevent you from feeling miserable, frustrated and out of control.

Diet and weight loss is big business these days.  It seems you’re always seeing and hearing ads for weight loss products that promise amazing results.  Some of them have their own meal plans, some are just small little pills that purport to burn fat, and others ask you to cut certain foods out of your diet in order to adjust the body’s metabolism.

The downside to these companies and diet plans is that they can often be expensive.  The pills you take for weight loss can contain dangerous chemicals or have a large amount of caffeine that make you jittery and feel out of control.  The positives are that they are easy to follow and provide you with support when you have questions or just need a positive uplift on the way to your goal weight.

If you want to join these programs, that’s wonderful!  But know that everything they offer you can be done all on your own.

Over the coming months on this blog, we’ll be giving you all kinds of tips and tricks toward successful weight loss.  We’ll examine some common weight loss myths and even give you some great recipes to try while you are on this journey.

It won’t be easy and you’ll have to maintain your willpower to be successful, but losing weight without starving yourself is a goal YOU CAN achieve!


You can achieve your Zest for Life!

Maureen x


p.s. This is also an excert from my new e-book, due to be released soon…