You may not realize it, but your job can be a health risk. The demands of the current labor market can cause health problems if you are not aware of the dangers. Little things that seem innocuous can in fact cut your life short.
Read on to find out how you may unwittingly be playing a role in reducing your life span and/or decreasing your quality of life over the long term.
Sitting all day
Our bodies were made to move, and sitting all day works against our physiology. It makes us more likely to gain weight, and it keeps us from being in optimal health. When you add the easy availability of junk food (via snack machines and treats that other co-workers bring in) to a very sedentary job, you dramatically increase the risk of lifestyle diseases such as heart attacks and diabetes. Prolonged sitting has been linked to an increased mortality rate. The remedy for this health risk is to move at least a couple of minutes every hour on the hour while you are at work. This small act can help you avoid the diseases associated with a sedentary lifestyle.
Working overtime is a given in some fields. But crossing the line from working overtime on occasion to overworking all the time can be dangerous. Taken to the absolute extreme, karoshi (death by overwork) can result from overwork. This phenomenon happens so much in Japan that they coined the word karoshi to describe it. An American example of how this can happen is Tim Russert, a well-known news reporter for MSNBC who died in 2008. According to a doctor quoted in the Boston Herald, Russert’s high stress job put him at risk for the heart attack that killed him. So if you are required to work overtime at your job, do what you can to keep it to a minimum. No job is worth your life.
When you don’t take the time to get out of the office and eat a proper lunch, you are much more likely to eat something quick that is very unhealthy. That can easily lead to being overweight or obese. And if you work at a desk job, it means that you are seated at your desk for the entire day without even taking time to get up from your desk to get lunch. Try to make getting away from your desk for lunch part of your regular schedule. You will be more productive, and your health can improve by doing so.
Checking email after work
When you repeatedly check your email after work, it means that your mind never gets a break. You never really have down time, which is critical for your body to recharge so that you will be refreshed. And not disconnecting from work can lead to burnout and health issues such as gastrointestinal and cardiovascular problems. Avoid the temptation to constantly check email when you are not at work unless there is a critical email that you are expecting. Give your mind the relaxation that it clearly needs.
Swallowing Your Opinions
Withholding your opinion, especially about something that is a strongly held value, can be detrimental to your health if it is something that you do on an ongoing basis. There is a strong mind-body connection, and if you are suppressing something, that suppression can be at a cost to your health. A healthy workplace is one where you are not punished for expressing an opinion that is constructive. If you fear reprisal for speaking your mind when it is appropriate, the negative emotion of fear can wreak havoc with your health. The best solution is to look for a healthy work environment where constructive feedback is welcome.