While having a paying job can offer a stable cash flow, allow you to positively contribute to society, experience the world in new ways, and, not to mention, get much-needed insurance benefits, it can also be causing you to be unhealthy. We’ve rounded up five ways that your employment might be making you unhealthy, and some tips to help you work and feel your best.
- Stress: Workplace stress can be caused by the people with whom you work, the mounting tasks on your infinite to-do list, the juggling of work and personal time, the fear of job loss in unsteady economic times, and the list goes on. While stress can sometimes be positive–the very reason why looming deadlines motivate people to finish projects–more often stress is negative. If you work full-time, negative stress can become chronic, and chronic stress is bad for the body, leading to fatigue, irritability, aches and pains, and even disease. Work Well: Take a break. Give you mind some time away from issues that feel heavier than you can bear. Leave your desk or work area, even if it’s just to grab a drink of water or stand by the window and take the outdoors in. If you can, grab a bit of brief exercise. Run some stairs, walk around the building, or just do some light desk stretches. Even a 10-minute break can help to lower stress levels, leaving you in a better shape.
- Sitting: According to the American Heart Association, “Sedentary jobs have increased 83 percent since 1950; physically active jobs now make up only about 25 percent of our workforce.” All that sitting means people are less active, and thus gaining weight at alarming rates. Work Well: Just 30 minutes of movement each day can have a positive impact on your health and fat loss goals. Don’t have a full 30 minutes to spare? Break it up into chunks. Self-power your commute, add a lunch exercise sessions, or put your meetings on the move by having walking group sessions. Or better yet, get exercise in all day by switching to a standing or walking workstation, or by replacing your chair with an exercise ball.
- Germs: Any shared environment is an opportunity to pick up the latest cold or flu bug. Work Well: If you work in the science or medical industry, wearing a HAZMAT suit or face mask might be perfectly acceptable. However, in corporate cubicle land, it’s probably not professional work attire. Fight the sharing of diseases by keeping your hands and workspace clean. Avoid touching your face, such as when on the phone or leaning your head on your hand during a boring meeting. If you do get sick, stay home–and encourage others to do the same.
- Treats: Even though co-workers may mean well, the box of morning donuts and afternoon plate of cookies is doing your fat loss goals no favors. Work Well: Keep healthy snacks on hand so that you can curb any cravings that creep up without having to indulge in tempting treats. If possible, move the treats out of sight so that they aren’t a constant “eat me” reminder.
- Boredom: Not every job is as challenging as you’d like. While being bored on occasion can be annoying, too much of it and you can start to worthless…a negative behavior, for sure. Work Well: Ask your boss for new tasks to make the 40 hours go by with a little more ease. If extra projects aren’t available, take an online training course at your desk to get your brain power going. If you don’t think you’ll lose your day job, read up on the news, start a new book, or even complete a crossword puzzle. When you leave for work, look for hobbies and workouts that challenge you in ways you never imagined, such as joining CrossFit, or training for a triathlon.
Unless you win the lottery, working will be a part of your life for years to come. Make it a healthier place, so that you have time to enjoy vacations each year, and retirement when it comes!
How do you de-stress when work gets you down? Share in the comments.