A recent newspaper article reported the results of a survey into life in Australia in 2019:
Drivers in Australia who use their car to get to work are averaging a commute of 66 minutes per day.
Another interesting fact is that men are spending longer on commutes than women.
Of particular interest is that this is resulting in a high level of stress for working dads, especially dads with two kids.
If their commute time is more than two hours per day they are more likely to be less satisfied with their jobs and their pay, along with a decrease in flexibility to balance their work and life.
The survey was conducted by HILDA (Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia) and it also reports:
The cost of childcare has risen about 145 per cent in real terms, from $62 in 2002/03 to $153 in 2016/17
The majority of parents have experienced some sort of difficulty over the last 12 months when using or thinking about using child care.
All age groups have had a substantial increase in depression and anxiety diagnoses.
All of this adds up to significant levels of stress and pressure, especially on dads with kids.
Women are also under significant amounts of stress and in some cases, more so.
But as this month is Father's Day, I want to concentrate my thoughts on men and consider a few ways that may assist them in managing stress.
Please note, I am not naïve enough to think that one column will be the cure all you require for managing stress. If this is a significant issue for you and you are having difficulty coping, then I encourage you to talk with your doctor or seek good help through an organization like Life Line.
What I can do is share with you some things that help me to deal with stress.
Talk things over with a trusted friend. Hopefully this will be your wife, but you may feel the need to share your struggles with another man who has "been there and done that." I have been greatly helped over the years by having a few good mates around me who have listened to my struggles, encouraged me and prayed for me.
If you're not struggling and you think a mate might be, then don't be afraid to ask him how he is going.
Talk things over with God. (Really, this should be at the top of the list!)
Spending time regularly praying and reading the Bible each day brings great peace to my mind and heart and helps me to look at life from God's perspective. Jesus is the one who encourages us to bring our concerns to our Father in Heaven and to trust Him to deal with them.
Maybe you don't believe in God or go for "that religious stuff!" But what have you got to lose? Give prayer (and God) a try – I think you might be surprised!
Listen to some good music. I like thoughtful, prayerful praise songs that remind me of God's love for me and His power to heal and give peace. Perhaps an uplifting piece of classical music is more to your liking.
Whatever the case, open yourself up to the gift of music. It has been scientifically documented that music has the power to heal, bring peace and to alter the patterns of our brains in ways that are beneficial for us.
Carve out some time for yourself where you can spend it in silence and reflection.
Read a good book that brings encouragement and fosters your personal growth. In the busyness of our lives, we all need time out.
Practice the discipline of a regular day off when you can refresh and reconnect with yourself and your family.
I encourage you to commit to positive change and may your Father's Day be as stress free as possible!•