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Younger workers at risk of getting ‘stressick’

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read

Experts have revealed that younger workers are currently more susceptible to stress, creating serious health issues.

According to Renovatio founder Dr Vincent, Gen Z and Millennial employees have a higher risk of developing “stressick” than their older counterparts.

Stressick is a term applied to illnesses that are caused by stress, Dr Vincent explained, noting that Millennials and Gen Z are most at risk.


“Seventy-seven per cent of people regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress,” Dr Vincent said.

“Stress can make you sick. Severe stress can cause chronic illnesses. Australia’s Millennials and Gen Zs are at risk of developing serious illnesses if they don’t manage their health properly.

“Unfortunately, younger people tend to think they are bulletproof. They don’t understand the impact stress can have on their health.”

A significant contributor to this issue is the current economic climate, said Dr Vincent. Many are struggling to keep up with rising inflation, impacting financial wellbeing.

“With interest rates soaring and the cost of living going through the roof, many people are now under significant financial stress. Many of these people fall into the Millennial and Gen Z generation category. There are around 6.5 million Millennials and 4.6 million Gen Zs in Australia. Together, they make up nearly 40 per cent of the population,” Dr Vincent said.

“This is also the group that is being hardest hit by the economic downturn. Millennials and Gen Z are going through their first real prolonged recession. Many have their first mortgage, kids, cars, credit cards and other family household expenses.

“Every time interest rates go up, they are being squeezed. A lot of people are also having to take on side gigs in order to supplement their wages to make ends meet.”

Dr Vincent urged younger workers to prioritise their health and go for a check-up with their doctor if stress is having an effect on their wellbeing.

“Younger people are also not known to regularly check their blood pressure or undertake regular doctor visits. If you are under constant stress, you can experience physical symptoms such as chest pain, headaches, tummy issues, irritable bowel, trouble sleeping and irritability,” he said.

“You can also experience breathing issues and high blood pressure. Adrenaline increases your heart rate and breathing delivering the energy and oxygen it needs to respond quickly to danger. Cortisol increases glucose in the bloodstream and lowers nonessential functions like digestion. When these levels constantly fluctuate at a high rate due to stress, the risk of developing serious health issues such as heart attack, hypertension or stroke increases.”

Dr Vincent continued: “The immune system is also impacted. Stress can impair communication between the immune system and the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis, which normally helps the body maintain a state of relative stability.

“When this balance is disrupted, this can cause serious health issues such as chronic fatigue, diabetes, obesity and depression. When the immune system is compromised, the body is more vulnerable to illness, and becomes very sick when it is impacted by viruses or other bugs.

“My concern is that Millennials and Gen Zs are facing a very dangerous situation where they are at risk of stressick — and becoming very ill. Stress affects everyone differently, and some people are able to cope better and recover from stress quickly. Others are not.”

To help stressed workers deal with stressick, Dr Vincent provided some tips for maximising wellbeing and reducing stress:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Improve your diet
  • Set goals and say no
  • Be kind to yourself and reach out
  • Quality sleep and mental support
  • See your doctor
Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.