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: