Paying off a mortgage and raising children is stressful for most people, and yet, the most stressed out group in Canada isn't dealing with any of those problems at all.
According to Sun Life Financial's annual Canadian Health Index, 90 per cent of young Canadians aged 18 to 24 are the most stressed out population in today's economy. The survey found that young people are finding a hard time coping with their finances, personal relationships, work life and health issues.
Alysa Nicole Baker will tell you she's the poster child for these findings. The 24-year-old part-time student and full-time mother says her biggest stress factor is money.
"I'm always concerned about my budget and having enough money to support myself and my children," she says.
To deal with stress, Baker says she tries to stay proactive by taking hot showers or drinking green tea, but she also sees a social worker from time to time to help find coping mechanisms if it all becomes excessive.
"I do worry about finding a job too, because it seems like the job market right now isn't producing enough well-paying jobs for people to support themselves," she adds.
But not all Millennials are feeling the pressure. Kristina Driedger, a 24 year old from Vancouver says when she graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in political science in 2010, she began working for a non-profit right away. Even though it wasn't in her preferred field, she took the job to gain experience.
Driedger, who now works at public relations firm Peak Communicators says young people may not be taking that risk. "I am one of the lucky ones in the sense that I found a job immediately after graduating. I think the problem with the Millennial generation is that many feel a sense of entitlement and are unwilling to start at the bottom and work their way up," she tells The Huffington Post Canada.
It could be entitlement or it could just be underemployment. The Sun Life survey found that underemployment is the highest among young Canadians, with 39 per cent of people feeling under-utilized with their skill set and abilities. These workers may suffer “erosion or loss of skills, knowledge and abilities, diminished current and life-long income, job dissatisfaction and emotional distress which may lead to deteriorating health,” according to a study by the Certified General Association of Canada.
But even Driedger feels some type of stress. Living in Vancouver, she says the cost of living has caused her stress and it continues to be a burden to even think about owning her own place.
The Canadian Health Index also found that work-life stress was higher for young Canadians (46 per cent) compared to the national average (26 per cent.) While dealing with this stress, young people are also more likely than all other age groups to provide non-financial support for their family members.
But this doesn't mean anyone over 24 wasn't stressed out either — the survey revealed that 80 per cent of adults between 25 and 44 also experienced levels of excessive stress.
Making your life stress free starts with leaving stress at the front door. Here are psychologist Dr. Michelle Callahan's seven tips for managing the work-life stress cycle:
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.
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.
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