Work Stress: Canadians Taxed By Their Jobs, Families, Stats Can Study Reports

The Huffington Post Canada     First Posted: 10/17/11 11:11 PM ET   Updated: 10/18/11 09:29 AM ET

Most people feel stress at some point during the day. Your relationship could be taking a wrong turn, your kids aren’t doing well in school or your boss gives you a hard time at work. The possibilities are endless. Last year, about 27 per cent of working adults described their lives on most days to be “quite a bit” or “extremely” stressful, according to new study results by Statistics Canada.

That’s roughly 3.7 million Canadians feeling stressed out, and stress levels have been on the rise. In 2009, the number of Canadians who reported stress increased by 30 per cent compared to the year before, according to the CBC.

Where is all this stress coming from? The Stats Can study cited several sources, including not having enough time and financial concerns, but the big culprit causing trouble for working adults is work.

About 62 per cent of the highly stressed reported feeling taxed by their jobs, according to the study. These workers were generally well educated, had household incomes of $100, 000 or more a year in white-collar occupations, and a majority of them were male.

Women however, made up two-thirds of the highly-stressed workers who identified their families as the main source of stress, and had different demographics compared to the work stressed; they were more likely to have children at home, to have less than postsecondary education and to be immigrants who had settled in Canada within the 30 years before the survey.

The study alludes to some uncomfortable socio-economic differences between men and women in Canada, but on a global scale, Canadian women are still better off than women in other countries, at least stress-wise. This year, Canada ranked 12th in a survey that ranked the world’s most stressed women, according to the Globe and Mail, which reported on the Women Of Tomorrow study conducted by Nielsen at the end of June.

Canada tied with Japan and Australia, with all three countries reporting at least 52 per cent of women being stressed.

“Women across the globe are achieving higher levels of education, joining the work force in greater numbers and contributing more to the household income,” Susan Whiting, vice chair of Nielsen, said in a release. "But at the same time, this level of empowerment results in added stress."

That stress can be a destructive cycle, according to Dr. Michelle Callahan, psychologist and blogger for The Huffington Post.

“The stress at work causes stress at home, and then the stress of neglecting home affects the person's work performance and further increases their stress at work,” she writes.

There are ways to deal with work stress and not let it interfere with your family life. Check out Dr. Callahan’s seven tips for managing the work-life stress cycle.

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  • Leave Some Stressful Issues At Work

    You can't rehash every annoyance or major problem with your partner every day or all you will do is sound like you're constantly complaining. Be selective about which story you want to share and which experiences you will keep to yourself.

  • Start The Evening With Quiet Time

    Everyone should have a chance to get in the door and unwind from their own stress at work before being hit with a laundry list of their partner's issues. So don't walk in the door complaining. Come in, change clothes, decompress and use that time to calm down and consider what things should be shared and which ones should not.

  • Limit Stress Talk

    Limit the amount of time you discuss what's stressing you. You have so little time to spend with your partner after work so don't spend it all complaining about problems. Sometimes we have rolling conversations about stressful things throughout the night. You bring it up as soon as you get home, then again during dinner, then after dinner, and then again in bed. Have the conversation once and avoid revisiting it unless absolutely necessary.

  • Balance The Negative With Positive

    Spend as much time talking about non-stressful things or being affectionate as you spend stressing out. You want to leave your partner with a positive feeling about you, instead of with a knot in their stomach.

  • Listen As Much As You Talk

    If you want your partner to listen to you when you're sharing your concerns, then be sure to listen to your partner when they're sharing theirs. Things will go better if you make eye contact and nod or comment to show agreement or react to what they're sharing. Listening while staring at the TV or reading your mobile device will make your partner feel ignored.

  • Share With A Friend

    Our significant others tend to be our best friends, and so we want to tell them everything that we go through both personally and professionally. Sometimes we don't realize when that is becoming overwhelming or just too much info in too little time. If you have a good friend, sometimes you can decide to share with that person and not bring your every concern home to your partner.

  • Disconnect Electronically

    So many of us are glued to our phones and computers but at some point we need to disconnect for the night and relax, especially when you need time for yourself and to spend time with your spouse and kids. You can't keep taking calls and reading emails through dinner, in the bathroom, in the bed and in the middle of a bedtime story. Choose a cutoff time to put your phone to bed and/or limit the amount of time you spend on the phone/computer so that you have time to take care of home. I know everyone needs to do what it takes to keep their jobs, but at the same time you won't be successful at work if you're falling apart from stress and your home life is crumbling around you. When you get home from work, try to manage your time and communications about work in a balanced way so that you can use your time at home to relax and recharge, not just rehash the day and keep the stress going.