What Does Stress Really Cost?

What Does Stress & Burnout Really Cost Us?Stack of Bills

It has been estimated that stress related absenteeism costs the Canadian economy $33 Billion annually in lost productivity. That is $1100 for every man, woman and child in the country. And that does not include the cost to the medical system, just the direct loss to business! But does that reflect the real personal costs?


Have You Ever Heard “Don’t bother Daddy  [Mommy] because he [she] isn’t feeling well”?

I burned out twice in my career as a college teacher and that is why I now coach people around  balance. For me personally the highest cost when burned out was hearing my wife say,

“Don’t bother Daddy because he isn’t feeling well”

The personal feelings of hopelessness, loss of confidence and all the other things that are associated with burn out seem so secondary to that statement. We need to control our stress for the sake of those around us as well. I mentioned this before in my blog on second hand stress.

Can You Help?

While I normally coach people who are experiencing life-balance issues themselves, I had a client who came to me to help her deal with her partner’s burn out. For her it was the helplessness of knowing what he need to do but not being able to help. When you are in the depths of burn out you do know what you need, you just don’t know how and someone telling you what to do only exasperates the situation. The best you can do is listen patently and with understanding.

“I can’t help him”

indicates the frustration of your loved ones around you in their feeling of helplessness. This is not something you can measure in dollars.

How Do You Feed Your Stress?


Most of eat very poorly when we are stressed. We eat fast foods so we don’t have to take time off from our project to eat properly. Many of us (personally guilty as charged) eat more as a response to stress. Increased stress reduces the number of quality nutrition choices we make. Another hidden cost to us personally and to the systems that support us.

Fruit, nuts, greens and fish help alleviate stress.

Do Your Children Pay for the Stress of Your Success?


How often do children get left longer with their childcare providers as a result of the demands of your career? Do you sometimes wonder if when you make that call someone is going to call Children’s Aid and report neglect? Just kidding but family time is a common victim of job stress. Another hidden cost to stress.

The biggest cost of all is our loss of happiness, joy and health. And the loss is preventable or at least can be mitigated to better levels. What are you going to do about it personally? Remember taking care of yourself is selfless not selfish. Please post this as a challenge to the rest of us.

It is important that you get life work balance now to reduce your stress before you burnout.

Tell us in the comments how you are going to reduce your stress.

Bill is a life coach in Ottawa working with life work balance.