You're certainly in good company.
Stress levels in Canada have sky-rocketed since the start of the recession, with 36 percent of Canadians reporting an increase in stress and 28 percent reporting a drop in employment income, according to an annual survey conducted by Desjardin Financial Security. The top three sources of stress, according to survey respondents, were money (30 percent), work (25 percent), and family responsibilities (10 percent).
In 2008, 28% of Canadians between the ages of 35 and 54 reported that most days were extremely or quite a bit stressful. (This is the age range when family and career responsibilities peak, according to Statistics Canada.) Women were more likely than men to report that most days were quite a bit or extremely stressful.
Juggling work and family can be stressful. Families with children may face a particular set of challenges related to work–life balance when one or both parents are working long hours. Families with children are less likely to have both parents working consistently standard schedules (14%) than families without children (21%). Concern about how school-aged kids are faring during the hours after school has become so severe that it's earned its own acronym in recent years: parents' after school stress (PASS). A 2006 study concluded that parental after school stress affects the psychological health of a large number of employed parents of school-aged children.
Are we having fun yet?Parenting is stressful for dads. A 2006 survey conducted by the American Psychological Association found that 43 percent of fathers feel overwhelmed by the demands they are shouldering at work and at home. Parenting is also stressful for moms -- and not for the reasons media stereotypes would have you believe. (It's not about the carpools.) A 2006 American Psychological Association survey found that stress is higher for the parent who makes the health care decisions for other family members, including children, and women disproportionately serve that role for their families (73 percent versus 40 percent of men). This also explains why stress levels soar even higher for mothers (and fathers) of children who have special needs. Being a kid is stressful, too. What stresses kids out may be different from what stresses us out, but they need to know that we care about what's going on in their lives and that we'll help them with their problems, large or small. Having that kind of caring connection to at least one adult means everything to a child; and determines to what extent that child thrives in the world.
- Canadian Mental Health Association Stress Test: Just how stressed are you? Find out by completing this online quiz.
- Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of British Columbia: Tips on coping with stress.
- MayoClinic.com: Relaxation techniques: Learn ways to reduce your stress
- Health is Cool: Back to School Stress brochure: Available for Download (pdf).