Helping newcomers strengthen work-life balance in support of a healthier, more satisfying life in Canada

It’s a fact. New Canadians, on average, work more hours than their Canadian-born counterparts. This can have an impact on your wellbeing, family life and work-life balance.

A Newcomer's Journey,Newcomer Health and Wellness,Settlement and Life in Canada

June 16, 2022

Estimated reading time: 2.5 minutes

In summary:

  • Canadians, and in particular, new Canadians are feeling increasingly overloaded and experiencing increased mental and physical health challenges.
  • Improved work-life balance could help you manage your life’s various, and sometimes competing priorities.
  • Strategies to enhance your work-life balance range from improved self-care to establishing firm boundaries between your work and personal life.

It’s a fact. New Canadians, on average, work more hours than their Canadian-born counterparts. This can have an impact on your wellbeing, family life and work-life balance. Relatedly, the amount of time an individual spends at work is directly connected to your levels of physical and mental wellness.

Immigrants and refugees often come to Canada, in a healthier state compared to the Canadian population, a phenomenon referred to as the “Healthy Immigrant Effect”. However, as newcomers spend more time living and working in Canada, their health advantage dissipates. This has been linked to the stress of adjusting to living and working conditions in a new country.

In terms of immigrant mental health, more than a quarter of Canadian newcomers have reported poor or worsening mental health while one-fifth report increasing job or income-related stress. More than one-third of Canadians feel burnt out or overloaded due to their various work and personal responsibilities. These statistics underscore the importance of helping newcomers achieve greater work-life balance.

Looking for newcomer-specific tips and resources to help support your mental health and wellness? We’ve got a blog post for that. Click here to read more.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) offers tips for strengthening your practice of work-life balance. We’ve collected some of these success strategies, along with helpful tools and resources, to empower immigrants and refugees to improve their health, satisfaction and wellbeing at work, and away from it.

Create boundaries between work and your personal life 

As much as possible, take steps to separate your time devoted to work and other aspects of your life. This can mean going out for a walk when you arrive home from work to help distance yourself from your workday. You can also reduce how often you check work emails after work hours and build self-care time into your daily routine.

Maintain your self-care

It sounds like common sense but a quarter of Canadian adults don’t get enough sleep while a striking 80 per cent have increased risk factors negatively affecting their health due to lack of physical activity or unhealthy eating. A healthy diet, exercise, proper sleep hygiene and social connections are critical to maintaining your self-care. While improvements in all of these areas are difficult to execute at once, incremental steps in one of these areas will prove more achievable, like committing to a consistent bedtime every night, or taking brisk walks, daily, at your lunch-hour. 

Prioritize your responsibilities

This involves problem-solving, being flexible and accepting the need to re-prioritize what’s important to you when your life or work gets stressful or busy. This looks different for each person and can sometimes mean focusing on work, health, personal or professional priorities with different levels of time, focus and intensity, then adjusting accordingly relative to your changing priorities.

Are you an internationally-trained health care professional looking to improve your workplace wellness? We’ve put together tips to help you strengthen your self-care. Find the blog post here.

Tools, resources and mental health supports to help you achieve greater work-life balance:

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