Work is quite stressful.
You have to deal with all manner of issues, ranging from bosses who won’t cut you any slack to the stresses of commuting, to a salary that seems to stretch itself too thin across all your different wants and needs, to not being able to stay fit.
That said, it’s not an entirely insoluble problem. A good first step is being aware, and knowing how to make things significantly easier for yourself. This will lead to a healthier and happier life. It’s important that you take these steps, considering that you probably spend more time at your place of work than you spend anywhere else.
So how do you know that your work is influencing your health in adverse ways?
Here are 5 interesting ways to tell.
1. You are working overtime all the time
One of the most surprising things about the time we live in, with all of its advances in technology, is that it’s actually very hard to get a job that you will leave on time every single day.
Most of us find ourselves working late, or having to get in early, just to complete the list of tasks we have to complete. Many employees around the world now easily find themselves working for the extra time that amounts to about a full day on top of the amount of time they have to work, according to their contracts.
The risks to your health of working beyond your normal hours are many and include alcoholism, depression, stroke, and heart diseases. There is also some evidence that working longer hours can lead to diminished productivity and lower cognitive ability over time, which is exactly the opposite of what working longer hours is supposed to achieve.
Most of the research suggests that you should work no more than 55 hours per week. This may sound like good news until you notice that it still amounts to11 hours of work every day. The main point to remember here is that long work hours can put unimaginable amounts of stress on both your body and mind. They also take time away from you to do any of the other things that are important to you, such as spending time with your family.
If you feel like the work hours on your contract aren’t nearly enough to finish your tasks, consider talking to your boss about reducing your workload or delegating your tasks elsewhere. If it’s writing work, in particular, it can be delegated to a college paper writing service. If that doesn’t sound like a very good idea, you should start looking for a better job as soon as you can.
2. You are seated most hours of the day
A sedentary lifestyle is an unhealthy lifestyle. This is something we know so intimately that we teach it to our children at school. And yet out jobs encourage us to have a sedentary lifestyle all the time!
Sitting for extended periods can lead to a variety of health risks, such as cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, muscle and joint issues, and even depression. In fact, a significant amount of workdays are lost due to illnesses related to work. It’s also not even about the type of furniture you use at the office. Getting a lush and comfortable gaming chair does not significantly reduce the health risks you experience from sitting a lot. What solves that problem is sitting in the proper posture.
When you sit with your knees below the level of your hip, you force your pelvis to tilt forward, which in turn causes the spine to grow in length. The shoulders, and the muscles that supply them with power, relax. In the process, you experience a lot less fatigue, the tension in the neck and shoulders, eye strain, and headaches.
Make sure your company has regular desk assessments to determine how to reduce the health risks associated with the work environment. You may need to get a standing desk or take breaks on a regular basis, taking a walk and stretching during your work breaks. Generally speaking, you want to sit with your back inclined at an angle of 135 degrees. This will place the least amount of pressure on your spine. That means you should lean forward on your desk as little as possible.
3. You almost never get the opportunity to sit down
On the other extreme of sitting for long hours, a day is sitting for too few hours in a day. Jobs that require you to be on your feet for most of the day come with their own set problems, and they are quite common around the world. Think of jobs in food services, healthcare, pubs, bars, and retail. Such jobs rarely give their employees the opportunity to sit down.
Being on your feet for most of the day can lead to various issues, such as joint damage, poor circulation and swelling in the legs and feet, varicose veins, and cardiovascular problems. This is also one of the most common causes of plantar fasciitis, which leads to heel pain.
If you find yourself standing for most of the day, it is a good idea to get yourself some good footwear. The work things you can wear are work boots and high heels, as they cause untold pain to the lower limbs. Instead, get comfortable shoes with good support for the arches, as well as compression socks. You should also take every opportunity you can to stretch.
4. Your commute is very long
This is, unfortunately, one of the most unavoidable parts of most people’s careers. It’s not always possible or cheap to live close to work so we can walk there, and we often find ourselves having to sit through long commutes, which can have lots of bad effects on our health.
When you commute for an hour and a half or more a day, you can expect to experience more anxiety and stress as compared to people who commute for shorter periods or don’t commute at all. It can also be related to the exact mode of transport you’re using. Using the bus is going to make you a lot less happy than riding a bike or driving your own car.
Considering how difficult it is to find a job closer to home, this isn’t always an option. A good place to start is to simply make better use of your commute time. Consider cycling to work, or carrying a bottle of water, or carrying a book.
Things are changing, however, with the rise of remote work. As more and more companies have had to adapt to the new normal brought about by the pandemic, they have begun to allow employees to telecommute, working from the comfort of their homes rather than taking the long trip to work. Hopefully, this will become the new normal, allowing people to spend more time at home with their loved ones, even as they earn a living.
5. You’re constantly thinking about work
Work can find ways to extend its long hands, right to your bed when you go to sleep. Most adults need about 8 hours of sleep to remain healthy, though the exact amount varies from one individual to the next. However, high levels of stress can disrupt your sleep patterns, and that disruption can extend to your mental and even physical health.
When you don’t get enough sleep, you risk having heart disease, infections, obesity, and possibly cancer. You can also be clumsier, more forgetful, and more impulsive.
Stress from work can also bring issues to your digestive system, make you irritable, and cascade into other areas of your life. A good way to fight it is to write down the thoughts that worry you and make a list of things you will do about them the next day.
You should also practice mindfulness and control your thoughts, especially just before your bedtime, to increase your chances of getting a good night. It’s a good idea to stay away from a phone or computer and give your mind and body the opportunity to wind down and let go of the stress and tension from the day.
While work is good for the soul, everything should be done in moderation. Hopefully, by taking note of the ways in which work can affect your health, you will be better able to watch the things you do and adopt healthier work habits.
Jessica Chapman is a writer and editor from Chicago. She also works part-time for Assignment Help UK. She is into sports and analytics and enjoys traveling. Find her on Facebook.