Work Relationships

4 ways your job can impact your health

Written by Michael Hoon

It’s one thing to dislike your job, but it’s another if it’s making you sick. If you’ve been feeling physically and mentally worn down lately and can’t seem to shake it, maybe it’s time to take a hard look at your work life to see if it’s the cause of your health issues. Of course you have to go to work, but recognizing where problems exist and making even small changes can start to put you on the road to wellness.

Are you sedentary all day?

According to a study done by the American Heart Association (AHA), even if you fit exercise into your life, sitting all day every day can negate the health benefits you’ve gained. The solution? Move even more—as much as you can. Make sure to get up and walk around every hour or so. Walk to the kitchen for water once an hour. Take an office lap every other hour. Get up and get your blood flowing whenever possible.

Does your commute stress you out?

If you’re spending a ton of time getting to and from work, it’s likely taking a toll on your life attitude. One study done in the United Kingdom earlier this year found people with long commutes are more likely to suffer from depression and work-related stress. If your commute is longer than 10 miles by car or 30 minutes by bus or subway, then it might be negatively impacting your life. You can’t help where your office is located, but do everything you can to make the travel time as restful and enjoyable as possible: try downloading a fun podcast or listening to music that will start your day off right.

Are you way overworked?

If all your waking hours are spent thinking about work or being at work, you’re likely neglecting all other aspects of your life. In fact, according to a recent study, if you work more than 39 hours a week, your mental and physical health will start to decline. Even if you’re on your couch in pajamas, if you’re logged in and constantly monitoring your work emails then you’re not getting proper rest. Dedicated time to focus on yourself, your friends, and your family is crucial to maintaining balance—at some point, you need to be able to shut things off and not be at work.

Are you surrounded by germs? (You are.)

Did you know that your keyboard, mouse, mousepad, and even I.D. badge are all germ factories? Scary but true: your keyboard in 20,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat. And then there are all the hands you shake and doorknobs or faucets you turn in the course of a day. You’re in an enclosed space with tens or hundreds of people every day—start carrying around that hand sanitizer. And if your office is open plan? It might encourage more collaboration, but it also encourages sharing whatever bug is going around. You might find you’re getting sick more and more often, just by coming to work. Take your vitamins, keep your space clean, and get fresh air when you can throughout the day.

Notice a theme here? If you take moments out of your day to make sure you are taking care of yourself, your overall health will start to improve.

About the author

Michael Hoon