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Men's Health Care

How to Work Towards a Better Work-life Balance

Dr. S. Larry Goldenberg

Professor – Department of Urologic Sciences, UBC

It may seem alarmist to say men are working themselves into an early grave, but the consequences of high stress and lack of sleep can be quite serious, including a higher risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression and other mental illnesses, low testosterone and obesity. So, with Canadian men spending half their waking hours at work, indications are that their work routines may be negatively impacting their health. 

A survey of men in the workplace released during this Men’s Health Week by the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation (CMHF) reveals that 60% of Canadian men are consistently working more than 40 hours per week, 81% find their work to be somewhat or very stressful and 60% believe that this affects their ability to have a proper night’s sleep.

The consequences of high stress and lack of sleep can be quite serious.

Work-life imbalance

The CMHF study also found that 60% of men will go to work when they are unwell or sick, 46% often work extended hours and 30% work while on vacation to complete work tasks. These additional hours not only add to their stress, but the decrease in recreational or down-time also prevents men from having the opportunities to relax and de-stress.

Small changes = big impact

In this survey, CMHF has identified a number of behaviours that can be modified during the workday to improve the health status of busy, hard-working men. Among these tips are increasing the standing to sitting ratio, ‘walking meetings,’ drinking more water and less sugary drinks and coffee, and packing healthy snacks to eat throughout the day.

CMHF’s website DontChangeMuch. ca was developed to support men and their families in their efforts to live healthier lives. Many small, incremental and sustainable health behaviour changes will lead to short and long-term health improvements.

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