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Letter: Roots of burnout may lie in Canadian societal values

Editor: As an immigrant who has lived in Canada for the past seven years, I would like to point out that it appears to my “immigrant eye” that burn out is a problem that might also stem from the values of Canadian society itself.
Mom stress burnout

Editor: 

Re. How burned out are Sunshine Coast teachers?

As an immigrant who has lived in Canada for the past seven years, I would like to point out that it appears to my “immigrant eye” that burnout is a problem that might also stem from the values of Canadian society itself. It appears to me that a fixation with work/ being productive and always being busy are values that come from the early settler mindset but that still rule the lifestyle of Canadians at the expense of family life, leisure and mental health. 

Always being busy is also a trauma response, as research has shown. 

Canada, as an already wealthy society, is in the position of examining these detrimental tendencies and discussing innovations like a four-day work week, for example. Four-day work week trials have been developed in the past few years in Nordic countries (same salary for less time), showing an overwhelming success, in which workers reported “having more time to spend with their families, do hobbies and complete household chores” while being just as productive because they had more energy. They also reported less stress and burnout. 

Developing a strong, rich culture with healthy family lives and strong mental health is something that requires leisure and free time. It is not solved with more Zooms about health and wellness. Therefore, I would like to humbly suggest Canada should emulate the four-day work week trials of the Nordic countries if they truly want to prevent burnout with real solutions.  

Burnout comes at a cost for society, in access to services, financially and in mental health. 

Canada is already open to innovations and working towards necessary societal changes such as reconciliation, decolonization and trauma-informed approaches. Hence, it needs to be pointed out that one of the areas that needs to be decolonized is a work ethic and idea of success that pertain to the pioneer era and are not compatible with health. 

Mariel Yglesias, West Sechelt

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