Work is typically something that we see as mandatory. After all, it’s how we get paid and make a living, so we can’t exactly ignore it. However, when we’re given the opportunity we might occasionally decide to work extra hours, take overtime or even work on the weekends just for a bit of extra cash. While it can be a rather innocent and frankly productive thing to do, it can quickly become a problem if you’re being irresponsible with your hours.
Some people can stomach working 60 or more hours a week, but these types are few and far between. You need to be incredibly dedicated to your craft in order to truly fall in love with your work, but there are still times when you need to take a step back and realize that you’re taking it far too seriously and putting your health at risk as a result. Before you work yourself to the bone, here are a couple of health concerns that you should never ignore.
Are you turning to something in order to fuel your work?
Whether it’s an unhealthy addiction to coffee in order to stay up at late hours or alcohol to relax your body at night when you come home, it’s incredibly important that you realize when you’ve developed a dependency on something that should otherwise not be used on a regular basis. Working 50 or more hours a week can easily cause you to start abusing substances even if they’re safe in small doses. Excessive consumption of alcohol or even caffeine can lead to adverse health problems and you absolutely need to stop if it reaches this point.
Is your working environment dangerous and affecting your well-being?
There are some jobs that are inherently dangerous. For example, if you’re working in a construction area then there are all kinds of health hazards such as exposure to chemicals, dust, fatigue or even accidents involving machinery and supplies. In the past, people had to hire a lawyer for victims of mesothelioma because they exposed themselves to asbestos on a regular basis. It was once thought to be a relatively harmless material, but we slowly discovered that it was a leading cause of cancer. While we are far more careful nowadays of harmful substances in the workplace, you can still expose yourself to dangers if your working environment is inherently dangerous. You should always take precautions and make sure you’re working with a well-rested mind and alert to your surroundings.
Are you finding it hard to concentrate now that you’re working overtime?
Let’s not forget that mental fatigue is a concern as well. The more you use your brain, the more tired it gets. There’s’ something known as decision fatigue and it describes how humans find it more difficult to make smart decisions the longer the day goes on. Not only is this less productive than doing work on a well-rested mind, but it can easily cause you to make poor decisions and end up making no progress with your work. Let your mind rest or else you’ll suffer from further mental complications like stress and depression.
Are you sitting down for far too long and neglecting exercise?
While you don’t need to play sports to consider yourself as having done exercise, sitting down for long periods and neglecting to stretch and adversely affect your health. We’ve all heard the stories of how standing desks are superior and it’s, quite frankly, not true at all. Standing and sitting need to be balanced, but more importantly, your heart needs a bit of work every day in order to keep it healthy and in working condition. If you’re sitting down or staying in the same position for long hours each day, then get yourself moving and remember to stretch your legs, arms and work out for a few minutes just to keep your heart rate healthy.
Some final words
As long as you look out for these health concerns you should be absolutely fine. It’s no problem if you overwork yourself now and then especially if you have a passion for what you do or really want to help out your boss. Just remember that not everyone is suited to these kinds of schedules and you’d be wise to treat yourself to a break now and then. If you find that your health is declining as a result of overworking yourself, then it’s your body telling you to stop and give it a break. Watch for these concerns, work in moderation and always put your health before anything else.