If you have a career that you love, the chances are that your work takes up the majority of your waking hours. Each week, on average, we spend 105 hours a week awake, and the other 63 hours a week asleep. Of the 105 hours spent a week, at least 45 hours are spent at work, often more, which means that you spend the vast majority of your time working.
Of course, part of having a successful career is spending a large amount of time at your workplace putting in the hours. However, did you ever stop and consider what the impact of your career may be on your health? Believe it or not, certain work habits or behaviors could be taking their toll on your health, and yet, you may not even realize it.
Wondering what these may be? Here are a few ways that your work and workplace may negatively impact your health.
Working over time
The US is known for its workaholic tendencies. On average, the majority of professionals will put in an extra 10 hours of work per week, sometimes more. Numerous studies have shown that US workers take less vacation time, put in more hours and retire later in life than workers from other countries. While doing a lot of work may aid your career, overdoing it won’t help your health.
A research study from the Kansas State University showed that professionals who work more than 50 hours a week are more likely to suffer from physical and mental health problems as a result. It was noted that workers doing an excess of 50 hours a week were more likely to skip meals and have an increased likelihood of developing anxiety or depression.
Not moving enough
Today, the vast majority of professionals work in an office environment; this means limited movement throughout the day. Whether your job requires you to sit or stand, if you are not moving, this will have an impact on your health. Leading a sedentary lifestyle is linked to health problems, such as diabetes caused by being overweight or obese. This type of job can also cause physical pain, such as pain linked to arthritis or osteoporosis, two conditions more common in office workers.
Hunching over a desk, staring at a computer screen, for hours on end is not good for your health. Working on a computer, sat all hunched over can have a big impact on your muscular and skeletal health, as well as on the health of your eyes. There is a common misconception that standing desks are the answer to working in an office. However, studies have shown that this may not be the case. One study found that people who spend their workday stood up tend to suffer from increased fatigue, cramp and backache, and are no healthier than people who sit at a desk all day.
Being exposed to danger
Certain roles come with an increased risk of damaging your health; these are the roles that expose you to dangerous pieces of machinery or substances that can cause serious health problems.
One such material is asbestos, a form of insulating material used in many older buildings. This material has the potential to lead to a range of serious or even fatal health conditions if inhaled. Anyone working in construction is at risk of being exposed to asbestos and breathing in the dangerous fibers it releases. Asbestos can cause a range of cancers when inhaled, these include lung cancer and malignant peritoneal mesothelioma, both of which can be notoriously difficult to cure. Mesothelioma is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in the US which is linked to asbestos, affecting 3000 people in the US alone each year. Asbestos is a deadly substance and one that far too many workers are being exposed to, even though the dangers surrounding it are known.
Anxiety caused by stress
If you are someone who endeavors to keep on top of your emails, along with all the other tasks that your job throws at you, you may cause yourself to become anxious. It’s especially true if you check your inbox regularly and always reply to emails immediately. A study from the University of British Columbia has shown that there is a correlation between psychological stress and anxiety and how often your inbox is checked.
Could your inbox really be causing anxiety? The fact is that anxiety is on the rise in the US, with more people suffering from this deliberating mental health condition than ever before. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorders have become the most common mental health condition in the US, affecting 40 million adults or 18.1 percent of the population. More people are working in office-based roles where inbox checking is a part of daily life, along with a range of other tasks that can cause high levels of stress. So it is no wonder that the nation’s anxiety levels have risen as a result.
Not taking regular breaks
By law, employers must offer breaks, including a lunch break, throughout the day. However, no law says you must take advantage of these breaks. On average one-quarter of all workers don’t take the breaks that they are entitled to because they feel guilty for taking time off and don’t want to leave their desks or fall behind with their work. However, the issue is by not taking breaks; employees are becoming increasingly stressed out.
A recent study has shown that 60 percent of workers agreed that more breaks would improve their happiness, while 37 percent said that regular breaks would improve their health. It is no secret that failing to take regular breaks can have a significant impact on your health.
When it comes to your health, your job could potentially be having a negative impact on it. Whether the effect is visible currently or will be seen later in life, it doesn’t matter. What is essential is that you are aware of how and why your job may be bad for your health, and what you can do to prevent physical and mental health problems occurring as a result.