A staggering 95% of UK mums are highly stressed and only manage a mere 23 minutes of 'Me time' during each day. This compares to dads who, conversely, enjoy a whopping 4½ hours during the average weekday, a new study by casual games website PopCap.com reveals. Even worse, research indicates that mums waste these 23 minutes with activities that could actually increase their stress levels.
The study reveals a stark contrast between the ways in which mums and dads choose to wind down. Dads while away 4½ hours with activities such as going to the gym, enjoying a leisurely hour-long lunchbreak, reading the newspaper on the loo, watching TV and engaging in hobbies such as playing football, golf and fishing. However mums use their stolen 23 minutes to sit down with a cuppa (52%), smoke a cigarette (19%), eat a snack (18%) or gulp down a glass of wine (7%). According to the study these types of breaks are actually counter-productive as they don't allow mums' minds to rest from their worries - the most common, incidentally, being money troubles (66%).
PopCap worked with the Stress Management Society on the study, which revealed that nearly a third of mums are left wanting more time for themselves in a bid to take control, reduce their stress levels and lead a more balanced life (60%). However, it's not just the lack of down time that impacts stress levels - it's also what you do with the time you have. The study recommends that mums adopt one of these top stress-busting activities:
1. Get Physical: when we feel angry, pressured or worried, adrenaline is released into the body. Exercise helps to reduce this and produces 'good mood' substances in the brain.
2. Have a cyber-break: trial a 5 minute 'cyber-break' by logging onto your PC. Playing a casual game helps lower stress levels by reducing blood pressure, slowing breathing and heart rate. Tests<1> prove that just five minutes a day on www.popcap.com has considerable stress reducing benefits.
3. Stretch your body - and mind: yoga not only tones the body and boosts the immune system but also works to calm the mind by unlocking inner happiness, lifting your mood and leaving you feeling light and energised.
Cathy Orr, European PR Director at PopCap, said:
"The disparity in down time between mums and dads is staggering. Even if mums can't change their quantity of 'Me time', they can still positively affect the quality of the time they have available. Arecent study in association with The Stress Management Society showed that playing casual games on sites like www.popcap.com for as little as 5 minutes a day has stress relieving benefits. If time-poor mums replace their cuppa with a quick PopCap session, it will help relax, recharge and refocus their minds to face the rest of the day."
Both mums and dads are invited to log onto www.popcapstresstest.com to assess their individual stress levels and receive bespoke tips and tricks on how to maximise their 'Me time' according to their individual lifestyle.
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
1The Stress Management Society conducted the research, testing the stress levels of consumers playing PopCap's Bejeweled 2, Bookworm Adventures, Chuzzle and Peggle in September 2007.
Celebrity Case Study - Natasha Hamilton
Popstar (ex Atomic Kitten), Natasha Hamilton, mother to two young boys, is available for interview. As a busy working mum trying to balance children, home life, career as well as planning a November wedding, Natasha struggles to find 23 minutes of time for herself a day.
PopCap Games ( www.popcap.com) is the leading multi-platform provider of "casual games" - fun, easy-to-learn, captivating computer games that appeal to everyone from age 6 to 106. Based in Seattle, Washington, PopCap was founded in 2000 and has a worldwide staff of over 120 people in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Vancouver, B.C. and Dublin, Ireland. Its games have been downloaded more than 350 million times by consumers worldwide, and its flagship title, Bejeweled®, has sold more than 10 million units across all platforms. Constantly acclaimed by consumers and critics, PopCap's games are played on the Web, desktop computers, myriad mobile devices (cell phones, smartphones, PDAs, Pocket PCs, iPod and more), popular game consoles (such as Xbox), and in-flight entertainment systems. PopCap is the only casual games developer with leading market share across all major sales channels, including Web portals, retail stores, mobile operators and developers, and game device manufacturers.
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