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Across the country, Canadians are reporting feeling more time-crunched — constantly pulled between responsibilities in the home and the workforce. But addressing this problem is not just a matter of going to the spa or taking a couple of days off to hang with the kids.

Work-life balance is a public-health crisis and a major drain on our economy. Stress is having a direct impact on our health, causing everything from heart disease and memory loss to infertility and obesity. It's a vital issue for businesses, facing escalating absenteeism and growing challenges with retention and recruitment. It's affecting our home lives as well, wearing on marriages and affecting the kids. But still, there is resistance to reeling ourselves in.

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During a week long series, The Globe and Mail explored what we can do to slow down. And, more importantly, what happens if we don't.

We looked at several questions, including:

  • What effect does stress have on the human body?

  • How much does work-life balance cost our economy?

  • Do we need to change our definition of "work"?

  • Does the answer lie with men and paternity leave?

Most-viewed, most-discussed stories

  1. Harder worker? No life? Just act more like the Germans Notoriously productive and efficient, Germans spend many fewer hours in the workplace than do North Americans. And that's partly because they understand that the workplace is meant for actual work. More...

  2. Why Sweden pays dads cash to stay home with the kids What's guaranteed to revolutionize work-life balance for working moms? Help from their partners. More...

  3. Stress: public-health enemy No. 1? Across the country, people are experiencing increasing levels of stress. Experts say our health will suffer - and cost our health-care system billions of dollars each year. More...

Top scored Catalyst comment

To fully tackle this issue of overly stressed lives, there needs to be a societal shift in attitudes toward busy-ness. Too many people use their over-scheduled lives as bragging rights. Daleon

Top scored Reader comment

The Germans get about six weeks annual leave plus public holidays. Kind of beats two to three weeks annual leave for the average Canadian. Tosser

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Expert panel debate: Most viewed video

The stigma of leaving work on time Featuring Robert Herjavec, author and CEO of the Herjavec Group, leadership expert and author Robin Sharma and Globe and Mail reporters Siri Agrell and Jacquie McNish. More...

Most viewed interactive

How stress affects the human body Learn about the impact of stress on our bodies, from hypertension to sexual dysfunction - even changes on the cellular level. View...

Most active live chat

Is stress a national health-care crisis? Featuring Bruce McEwen, a neuroscientist at New York's Rockefeller University, and Globe reporter Siri Agrell. More...

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Most active poll and results

Should men get paid to take paternity leave?

Of 7,494 votes cast:

  • 73% Yes

  • 27% No


Work-life balance is not purely a private matter. There is a public interest in combatting weariness that harms people's health and happiness. The Globe and Mail

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