Almost a million stress-related sick days have been taken here since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, new research has found.

In total 8% of those who participated in the survey had taken a sick day since March, with almost half saying they had taken more sick leave than last year. 

The highest incidence of sick leave due to stress was found to be among 18 to 24-year-olds with 22% taking time off.

On average, the amount of certified sick days arising from stress or anxiety across the population since the pandemic arrived is nine days.

The survey was commissioned by Aviva Life and Pensions and carried out by iReach Insights among 1,000 adults in late September. 

84% of self-employed women classed themselves as very stressed, while 49% of 25-34-year-olds record also classed themselves as highly stressed. 

More women admitted to suffering from anxiety and stress than men.

Despite the increased pressures on people, the move to remote working has not been a trigger of stress and anxiety though.

A third of those surveyed said they had adapted well to working from home, with a fifth reporting that it had impacted positively on their work life balance.

Just 10% said working from home had impacted negatively on them.

But the move to remote working has led to longer working days, with 16% saying they now work longer.

A quarter though say they miss the daily interaction with colleagues in the workplace.

Overall anxiety levels have almost doubled since March, with 42% of people now admitting to suffering from anxiety, compared to 24% pre-Covid and 40% saying they are experiencing stress, up from 25% since the outbreak of Covid-19.

The biggest increase in stress was seen among men aged 30+ with children.

Exercise, mindfulness and talking with family and friends are among the ways people say they are coping with the additional stress burden.

According to Aviva, mental health has overtaken cancer as one of the main reasons for a protection claim.