Attention entrepreneurs: this summer, give your Blackberry a vacation! - Desjardins Financial Security's National Health Survey advises entrepreneurs to take better care of their mental health

    TORONTO, June 17 /CNW Telbec/ - As the longest day of the year
approaches, Desjardins Financial Security's National Health Survey results
show that more entrepreneurs should turn off their blackberries and make
relaxation a priority this summer for the sake of their physical and mental
    Entrepreneurs who participated in the survey were asked to rate their
current level of financial security, mental and physical health, and their
stress level compared to the previous year. Close to 92 per cent said they
were financially sound and 77 per cent were in very good physical and mental
health. However, when asked to comment on their stress level, 31 per cent said
their stress had increased.
    For Barb Sawyers, a single mom of two who has run a communication
business for more than 15 years, juggling family and client demands are the
key sources of her daily stress. "July and December used to be slow months,
but not any more. In an electronically-connected, 24/7 world, there are no
breaks," Sawyers said.
    Her experience is not surprising given that 78 per cent of participating
entrepreneurs said that they had gone to work sick or exhausted in the past.
They had done so on average seven times in the last year, most often to meet
business deadlines and out of a sense of personal duty.
    "While it's understandable that entrepreneurs naturally feel responsible
for their businesses, families and in some cases for their employees, it often
has a toll on their physical and mental health," said Steven J. Stein,
clinical psychologist and CEO of Multi-Health Systems. "As a business owner
myself, I understand how easy it is to make work my primary focus. But it's
important that while on vacation, everyone should turn off their Blackberries
and enjoy themselves!"

    Perceived link between stress and illnesses like depression

    The perception of increased stress can also be related to future
illnesses. When asked whether they felt that their lives would be touched by
mental illnesses like depression, anxiety and burn out, the entrepreneurs
whose stress level had decreased or had remained constant in the last year
said no. However, among those entrepreneurs with increased stress, 42 per cent
thought they might suffer from a major depression, 37 per cent from anxiety
and 65 per cent from a burn out.
    "It's critical to the success of my business that I build in mini-breaks
and longer vacations," said Sawyers. "Not only does it relieve stress and
provides family time, but it also clears the clutter out of my head, so I am
much better at coming up with great ideas when I return. It's win/win/win, for
me, my children and my clients."
    Respondents seemed however willing to make significant compromises in
order to improve their work-life balance. For example, when asked, 65 per cent
of entrepreneurs would accept less pay for working fewer hours and 72 per cent
would be willing to decline extra responsibility to maintain a viable
work/life balance.
    "Like all workers, entrepreneurs need to take control of their personal
lives to remain in good physical and mental health. They also need to create
healthy working conditions that promote a good work-life balance," said
Marie-Josée Labelle, MBA, Marketing Communication, Director of AssurFinance
for Individuals at Desjardins Financial Security. "Setting aside vacation time
on their agendas to get it away from it all, including their Blackberries, is
a must. Entrepreneurs deserve this kind of escape as much as anyone else does.
It's the only way to cope with the special demands of their professional

    About the Survey

    SOM Surveys, Opinion Polls and Marketing conducted the survey on behalf
of Desjardins Financial Security between February 7 and March 10, 2008. In
total, 1,594 interviews were conducted with a representative sample of
Canadian adults. The sampling plan provides proportional estimates with a
maximum margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 per cent at a 95 per cent
confidence level (19 times out of 20). The data was statistically weighted to
accurately reflect the composition of Canadians by region, gender and age
based on Statistics Canada's 2006 Census information.

    About Desjardins Financial Security

    Desjardins Financial Security, a subsidiary of Desjardins Group, the
largest integrated cooperative financial group in Canada, specializes in
providing life insurance, health insurance and retirement savings products and
services to individuals and groups. Every day, over five million Canadians
rely on Desjardins Financial Security to ensure their financial security. The
company employs over 3,900 people and administers more than $22 billion in
assets from offices in several cities across the country, including Vancouver,
Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal, Québec, Lévis, Halifax and
St. John's. For more information, visit our website at

For further information:

For further information: Sarah Twomey, Communications Advisor, (416)
926-2700, 1-877-906-5551, ext. 2015, Cell: (647) 402-2563,; Virtual newsroom

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