Binge-watching has become such a staple in American culture that you might be considered a different species if you don’t sit around and watch hours upon hours of television.
Whether it’s Netflix or Hulu, HBO Go or Amazon Prime, nearly 70% of Americans admitted to being binge-watchers, according to a recent survey. And while it might be looked at a way to unwind after the work-day slog, new research indicates that binge-watching after work can create increased stress levels, anxiety, and depression.
The study, conducted by researchers from SimplyHired, surveyed over 1,000 current employees to examine how they relax after work and cope with the demands of the workplace.
A staggering 80% of respondents said they unwind by tuning into TV. While binge-watching can enable opportunities to connect with other employees about what happens next on HBO’s “Succession,” it has its negative side effects, according to researchers.
“Despite the feel-good effects binge-watchers experience, they’re more likely to have higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, ultimately taking them further from their goal of relaxing. In the end, it’s all about moderation,” the researchers said in their study.
Forty-three percent of all adults suffered from health effects from stress, according to WebMD. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration declared stress a hazard of the workplace with it playing a role in ailments like headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, and many others. It can also cause depression and anxiety.
No escape from work
More than 50% of respondents said they relax less than needed after a day’s work — and that’s having consequences on sleep.
Respondents overwhelming agreed they have difficulty falling asleep due to work thoughts. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said they work more hours instead of sleeping while nearly a quarter (23%) said they’ve even woke up in the middle of the night due to work thoughts.
Fourteen percent said they were unable to sleep entirely due to work thoughts and another 13% said they’ve lost sleep due to responding to work communications such as emails.
How workers relax after the 9-5
There was a time when Americans would pop open a bottle of red, but those days have since been replaced by watching TV.
Eighty percent of respondents said they watch TV to relax after the long workday. It was the most popular response amongst respondents, with 52% saying they like to read as a mechanism to cool down after work, while 48% try to tune out the noise with some music.
Forty-two percent said they scroll through social media to catch up on what they missed, while 41% said they exercise and talk to a significant other after work.
Volunteering was the least popular response, with talking to a roommate, coloring, and playing cards recorded as other responses.
Ironically, volunteering, talking to a roommate, and playing cards were found to be activities of respondents with the highest job satisfaction, while those who turned to alcohol, video games and venting reported the lowest satisfaction.
How the stressed destress
People with the highest average job stress were most likely to vent about their workday, according to the survey, followed by volunteering and using recreational drugs.
While venting about work might seem like a way to blow off steam, it has a negative impact on your psyche and ability to do work the next day, according to other studies.
The survey assigned all respondents a job stress score based on their responses. The data was scaled and distributed to percentiles.