Modern Stress: 6 In 10 Millennials ‘Never’ Relax Because Of Constant Urge To Check Phone


  • Survey shows nine in ten adults regularly check phone — even when there aren’t any new messages to read.
  • One in ten respondents admit they struggle to go just 10 minutes without looking at device.
  • Nearly half of adults wish smartphones were never invented!

LONDON — It seems most people refuse to go anywhere these days without their smartphone. Just like a wallet or set of house keys, the average person’s pockets just feel empty if their smartphone isn’t by their side at all times. There’s no arguing that smartphones have made it easier than ever to stay connected, but is there a cost to all of that convenience and instant communication? According to a new survey of 2,000 British adults, the answer is yes. Surveyed millennials (ages 18-34) reported only relaxing for just seven hours over an entire week — mainly because they are constantly checking their phones.

In fact, on a daily basis, millennials get less than one hour completely to themselves. Furthermore, six in 10 respondents admitted that they “never” truly relax because they are always checking their phones for new emails, texts, tweets, etc.

So what exactly does “constantly” mean? In all, 10% of respondents say they struggle to go 10 minutes without checking their phone, and nine in 10 regularly check their phone even when they know there are no new messages to read.

Older generations may be inclined to believe that smartphone addiction is only a problem among millennials, but even older respondents reported only relaxing for about 90 minutes per day.

“Relaxing is hugely important, but it’s something we often relegate to the back burner of our lives. Thanks to mobile phones and everything they allow us to do, it means that often when we are ‘relaxing’, we are still ‘switched-on’,” comments a spokesperson for Treatwell, the hair and beauty booking app that commissioned the survey, in a statement. “Neglecting our relaxation time can have a really detrimental effect on us, but it can happen quite slowly, so you don’t realize it’s happening.”

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All of that time spent on smartphones seems to be leaving a major void in people’s lives; many respondents said they can’t relax even if they have no work to do, and a third said they are usually “at a loss” of what to do with themselves besides stare at their phone when they have nothing else going on.

The majority of respondents (62%) said they find modern life stressful, and 46% went so far as to say they wish smartphones had never been invented.

As far as activities that can actually help them unwind, one in five listed taking their dog for a walk, and 14% said they put their phones away out of sight. However, those strategies pale in comparison to the most popular way to relax among respondents: watching TV (59%). Yes, that’s right, the majority of respondents just move on from one small screen to a larger one. Besides TV, reading a book (54%) was a popular response, followed by going for a walk (52%).

Among female respondents, 52% said they would love to be treated to a spa day in order to truly relax. Additionally, more than half of respondents with children admitted that their lives were much less stressful before having kids.

Unfortunately, three in 10 respondents said they have made more of an effort recently to relax more only for it to “not stick” and fall back into feeling stressed on a constant basis.

From a relationship dynamic perspective, another three in 10 respondents said they don’t believe their romantic partner puts in enough effort to give them some extra time to relax.

The weather seems to play a role in stress levels as well, with winter being considered twice as stressful as summer. Ultimately, however, most respondents listed their jobs as one of the biggest obstacles impeding their relaxation.

The sound of the ocean helps 52% of respondents relax, while 30% enjoy the sound of rain, and 28% instantly relax upon hearing a waterfall.

The survey was conducted by OnePoll.

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