Five reasons why working too much is bad for your health

You’re not as important as you think you are, some would say. Attachment to one’s occupation, volunteer opportunities, or entrepreneurial endeavors may seem like a noble deed — a pursuit of a purpose or fulfilling a great need in society, or just being a “hard worker”, a helper, a giver; but when it comes to a point where you are working extended hours, not taking time to care for yourself including having time to prepare food or spend time with loved ones, or just your self it may just be time for some self reflection on a bigger scale — or even corrective action to avoid the long term health effects of a not so sustainable lifestyle you may be attempting to lead.

You’re not as important as you think you are, some would say.

Attachment to one’s occupation, volunteer opportunities, or entrepreneurial endeavors may seem like a noble deed — a pursuit of a purpose or fulfilling a great need in society, or just being a “hard worker”, a helper, a giver; but when it comes to a point where you are working extended hours, not taking time to care for yourself including having time to prepare food or spend time with loved ones, or just your self it may just be time for some self reflection on a bigger scale — or even corrective action to avoid the long term health effects of a not so sustainable lifestyle you may be attempting to lead.

Working too many hours can put you in the category of more than doubling the risk of depression, according to a study in the journal PLoS ONE.

But avoiding depression is just one reason to pull on the working reigns.

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study in 2009 showing risks of dementia and/or mental decline for people who push the 8-hour work day into middle age.

Sitting all day at a desk or in front of a computer all day can lead to higher risks of chronic diseases such as diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease according to a study from the University of Missouri.

Risk of incurring cardiovascular issues jumps almost 60% for people who work over 10 hours per day according to a 2010 study done by the European Society of Cardiology. And the stress can lead to anxiety, and loss of touch with who you really are.

Dr. Barbara Killinger, Ph.D. clinical psychologist specializing in workaholism looks at the inner dynamics of workaholism as somewhat a state of self-absorbed narcissism.

As much purpose driven as it may seem it can be very ego driven – looking for a feeling of self worth.

Workoholics are at serious risk to suffer from debilitating depression as mentioned above and severe panic attacks and Dr. Killinger says it is typically derived from fear: fear of failure, boredom, laziness, or even more important – fear of self-discovery. Self-discovery in a sense of opening up to the other side of oneself: self-doubt.

They don’t want to be vulnerable and become acquainted with their sabotaging shadow side of their character so look towards perfectionism according to Dr. Killinger.

To balance all the work in your life, it’s important you take “Non-negotiable Self Time” — time to prepare food and eat properly while avoiding stimulants and sugar, exercising and spending some time in nature and adding in some meditation or yoga.

A meaningful life is never the end result.

Practicing your non-negotiable self time can help your life flow much more smoothly and allow you to enjoy the journey —and ultimately get more accomplished in all areas.

Sources:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-workaholics/201204/the-workaholic-breakdown-syndrome-six-fears

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/28/overtime-work-hurts-health_n_1237941.html

Kristin Fraser, BSc, is a holistic nutritionist and local freelance writer. Her column appears every second Thursday. She can be reached at kristin@somethingtochewon.ca.

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