Health

Looking After Your Health When You Work for Long Hours

Many people think that clocking long hours shows a good work ethic and a sign of commitment. In the current competitive job market, employers expect their employees to put in additional time. However, despite the praises you may receive from your boss, long working hours have adverse effects. For starters, your productivity will take a nosedive, and your social life will suffer. You will also be jeopardizing your health and well-being. Read on to find out the risks that long working hours pose to your health.

Increased Stress

When you work for long hours, you are sacrificing your social life to do your job. Most people go to the gym after leaving the office or go for yoga. Exercises and meditation are stress relievers. Therefore, if you give up your workouts to complete a task, you will be depressed at the end of the day. Studies have found that chronic stress is a risk factor for hypertension, so it’s crucial to balance your work with your social life to avoid stress and anxiety. That means you should spend the after-hours relaxing with your family or doing some physical activity that will reduce stress.

Lack of Sleep and Fatigue

Working overtime eats up on your sleeping time, and can cause fatigue. After a hectic day, you need at least seven hours of sleep to recharge your body. However, sleeping for less than seven hours exposes you to numerous illnesses like diabetes and myocardial disease. Scientific studies have linked sleep deprivation to a higher risk of hypertension as well as an increase in the number of work injuries and mistakes. Some of the signs of fatigue include poor concentration, irritability, and weariness. While these symptoms affect your productivity, your primary concern should be your susceptibility to illness. Therefore, you should consider taking a break from work before you are overwhelmed with fatigue.

Musculoskeletal Damage

Working in the same sitting or standing position for extended periods often causes stiffness of the neck, lower back pain, and repetitive strain injuries. This is due to the development of musculoskeletal disorders, which damages your joints, ligaments, muscles, and nerves. To avoid these problems, you should give your body sufficient time to recover after work. While frequent breaks, stretching, and increasing movement throughout the day may work, after a short period, your muscles may still buckle under pressure. If you want a lasting solution, you should get adequate rest after a workday, and your body will be as good as new the following morning.

High Blood Pressure

If you increase the number of working hours, you are at risk of suffering from high blood pressure. Long working hours increase stress levels, which often elevates your blood pressure. Besides, if you work overtime, chances are you will miss your workout sessions and skip on meals. A balanced diet and exercise keep your blood pressure in check. Therefore, failing to pay attention to them and focusing on work will increase your blood pressure levels significantly. However, if your blood pressure reading are consistently elevated then your doctor may need to prescribe medication to combat the condition.

Obesity

Studies indicate that hectic work schedules are one of the risk factors of obesity. When your focus is on work, you tend to ignore other aspects of your life, like eating healthily, exercising, and yoga. Most of the time, you eat unhealthy take-outs because you cannot find time to prepare a home-cooked meal. However, after some time, junk food will increase your body weight, eventually leading to obesity. If you find that you are cutting back on your exercise time or meditation to work, you should not be surprised if you start gaining weight.

Risk of a Heart Attack

Long working hours cause stress, anxiety, hypertension, and obesity, which are all significant risk factors associated with a heart attack. Therefore, if you want to avoid cardiovascular diseases, you need to cut back on your overtime. If you keep the job schedule up to 40 hours every week, you can maintain a clean bill of health.

While working overtime is admirable, you should not do it at the expense of your health. It would help if you had adequate rest and active social life to function properly. If you balance your work and social life, your health will improve significantly.

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