The stresses of modern day life were discussed by Dean Kenneth Hall, guest speaker at Enniskillen Rotary Club’s New Year meeting at the Killyhevlin Hotel this week.
Reflecting on the number of tragic suicides in our community, Dean Hall drew attention to Rotary’s chosen charity, Action Mental Health. How appropriate, he said, given the stressful world we live in. “More often than not, we don’t know how to manage it. Work, family and regular daily commitments cause plenty of stress on their own and the stress can be exacerbated by perceived crisis situations that emerge from time to time.
“With the growing pressures of modern technology, few of us ever ‘switch off’. Everywhere you look, someone is on a mobile device, some checking their work emails. The problem that we face is that we are constantly connected. Just because we physically leave the workplace this doesn’t mean we leave our workload, demand and pressure behind nor does it mean that we divert our mind from work.
“We don’t give ourselves time to disconnect from the world, and this is making us feel stressed and overwhelmed...We are losing touch with reality and even meeting up less in person. The majority of conversations in the modern day happen over email, instant messaging and over the phone. It is easier to just send a quick message than go and physically meet up with someone,” he told the gathering.
He told the story of being at a coffee shop in Stanstead airport last week and of the 17 tables occupied, only two groups were doing something different -- actually holding a conversation with one another. The rest were on phones, ipads and laptop computers. 
“Stress is an issue facing many individuals we work with. Time and time again, we see people feeling overwhelmed because of the pressures that they face as part of modern life,” he said. 
The computer enables us to do more work in less time, he reflected. “But do we get off work early? No. We simply do more work. There is something within us that compels us to fill up every moment of our time.”
He expressed his three hopes for 2018. “The New Year can be a difficult period for a lot of people with shortages of finances, food and maybe many other difficulties. It is well known that a lot of people go through depression in and around this time of the year so a personal hope for me in 2018 would be that the Child that was born at Bethlehem would bring hope in an uncertain world to all who call upon Him and acknowledge Him as their trusted friend. 
“A hope for the local community would be for people to set aside difference, have tolerance and respect for one another and live in peace, love and harmony as a community united together!
“My hope for the world globally is that all people of responsibility would not incite hatred or hurtful words but show love and care for all people regardless of difference -- the love which Christ proclaimed!” 
Members and guests of the Rotary Club were welcomed by President, Mr. Henry Robinson and Secretary, Mr. Roy McMullen at the first meeting of the year.