Canadians more stressed in 2022 due to COVID-19, financial pressure: survey

Canadians are reporting more stress and anxiety now than they did at the onset of the pandemic, according to a new survey.

Financial pressures and COVID-19-related concerns topped the list of things people across the country are worried about as the country faces rising cases and renewed restrictions.

A survey released by Bromwich + Smith Tuesday found that 48 percent of Canadians say the uncertainty they are facing in the first days of 2022 is weighing more heavily on them than during the initial lockdowns in March of 2020.

“When we did our survey, we asked Canadians, ‘What are the things that are keeping you up at night?'” explains Taz Rajan, spokesperson for the insolvency firm that commissioned the survey.

The number one stressor, reported by 82 per cent of those surveyed, was inflation and an increase in the cost of living.

“It’s been in the news so much, and it’s really starting to weigh on Canadians’ minds,” she said.

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The next two concerns were physical and mental health, at 70 per cent, and COVID-19 restrictIons at 66 per cent.

“Of course with COVID continuing on this long, there’s that worry of burnout, there’s sleep deprivation, just this idea of the new normal that nobody’s really happy about,” Rajan said.

“It is that uncertainty. And it’s not just the uncertainty of the restrictions, but then how do those restrictions and that uncertainty, how does it play out in my financial life? How does it play out in my relationships? It’s impacting every aspect of our lives.”

Six of the top eight stressors were financial and included things like job security managing debt, saving money, and paying rent. The rate of people with these worries is troubling, says Rajan, but it also shows how widespread these fears are.

“You’re not the only one going through it so there should be no shame or stigma or embarrassment if you are one of the people that’s feeling this angst at the moment,” she says.

Rajan says while people have no real control over what COVID-19 restrictions will be or when they will end, they can take some small steps to address financial strain. Looking at ways to cut monthly bills for things like streaming services, takeout or cell phones is one suggestion she has. The other is to reach out to creditors or otherwise talk about the financial issues you are facing.

“I know from firsthand experience, having struggled with finances myself, it seems so scary, that phone feels like it weighs 500 pounds. But I am telling you, when you pick up the phone, you talk to your creditors or you have that conversation even with your family — it is going to feel literally like the weight has been lifted off of your shoulders.”

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