NEW YORK – Striving to attain that perfect life, work balance? You're not alone, but if you live in Chicago you're more unlikely to find it with residents of the Windy City the most stressed in the United States.
A survey by Harris Interactive found Chicago is the most stressed city in the nation, followed by Houston, Boston, Los Angeles and San Diego, while Miami is the least stressed, along with Dallas/Fort Worth, Las Vegas, Cincinnati and Minneapolis.
"It is (due) to a combination of different things. There wasn't one thing that made Chicago stand out but they were the ones who had the least attainment of life balance," Harris Interactive spokeswoman Regina Corso told Reuters.
"In other cities, some by leaps and bounds, their residents have managed to attain some level (of life balance)."
Washington D.C., despite its concentration of politicians and high-powered wheeler-dealers, came 12th in the poll of 25 cities, ahead of New York at No. 17 but lower than Denver, San Francisco, Tampa or Seattle on the stress scale.
"I expected to see a different order," admitted Corso. "But maybe people in Chicago are trying to do too much."
She attributed Miami's low stress levels to its proximity to the sea, warm weather and laid back attitude.
Nearly three quarters of Americans questioned in the Life Balance Barometer Survey commissioned by Princess Cruises said they have not discovered how to juggle work and personal priorities, but 53 percent believe they could achieve it in the next five years.
Financial pressure was the leading cause of stress among the 1,539 people questioned in the online poll, with getting fit and losing weight coming a close second, followed by failing to complete the to-do list and concerns about unemployment.
Although more than half of Americans said they want to get fit, only 17 percent used exercise to relieve stress.
The most popular methods to calm down at the end of the day were changing clothes, laying down, kissing a spouse or partner, playing with a pet and reading a book or magazine.
If given the choice to select a free service for a month, people were more likely to opt for a fitness trainer rather than a home organizer, masseuse or personal chef.
Many people said they thought retiring, changing jobs, being at their job longer or getting more help with their work would improve their life balance.
Twenty percent of Americans, mostly women, said their spouse or partner contributed most to their stress level. Men were more likely to cite their boss, not their wife.
"I think they knew better. Their wives would find out somehow," said Corso.