A recent research study by the online games company PopCap (the relevance of which will become apparent in a moment), in association with The Stress Management Society, suggests that British mums get, on average, just 23 minutes of “me time” each day, whereas dads enjoy around four-and-a-half hours of leisure time daily.
I’m sure this isn’t true across the board, but the study suggests that dads get plenty of time to enjoy such stress-busting activities as going to the gym, taking a leisurely lunch hour (they obviously never worked in the offices I did), watching TV, hobbies such as football or golf, or just reading the newspaper whilst going to the loo.
Mums, on the other hand, use the sub-half-hour break to grab a cuppa or a quick swig of wine, smoke a cigarette, or eat a snack. The study suggests that this type of break can actual be counterproductive, because the amount of time and actual activity doesn’t allow for mum to unwind from the daily stress.
PopCap would like to suggest that, as well as physical exercise which can reduce stress levels, pressure, and anger, and activities such as yoga which can stretch both mind and body, a five-minute “cyber-break” with one of their online games can help lower stress levels, by reducing blood pressure, and slowing the breathing and heart rate.
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. A recent 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.”
Don’t underestimate the power of a cuppa, though.