10 Ways Your Job Could Literally Be Killing You
What’s your most important asset? Your home? Your car? Your job?
What would all of these mean without your health?
According to the American Institute of Stress, work-related stress causes 120,000 deaths a year. It also results in $190 billion in healthcare costs each year.
Stress at work, like in many other life situations, is bound to happen. But if you constantly feel fatigued, irritable and/or depressed due to your job, your work could be a slow, silent killer.
We spend around 40 hours or more each week (around at least 2,000 hours a year) at work. That’s a huge portion of your time. If you care about your health, it’s also worth considering finding a job that supports your livelihood – literally.
Here are 10 signs it might benefit your health to look for a new job or change how things are going at your current one.
1. You’re Using Substances to Cope with Work Stress
If you find yourself grabbing a beer (or five) or a glass of wine (or a bottle) each night to unwind from work, an alcohol habit can have negative health effects. Long-term alcohol use may lead to heart disease, liver disease or various types of cancer.
Similarly, drug use can lead to a brain disorder and addiction, heart or lung disease, cancer, heart attack, stroke, psychosis, overdose or hepatitis.
2. You’ve Become Angry with People You Care About
When you don’t enjoy what you do, you may take out those emotions on the ones you love. That can damage both your relationships and your health. Chronic anger is linked with obesity, increased heart attack risk, stroke and higher blood pressure.
3. You Rarely Have Time Off
In today’s constantly-connected society, some employers demand their employees be available 24/7 to respond to emails or text messages. Some employees find it hard to ask for time off because of how demanding the job is. Others take vacations but use most of their “off time” actually working.
A lack of time off to unplug and recharge can pose health risks. A study published in the “European Heart Journal” found that people who worked 3 or more hours longer than a normal workday had a 60% higher risk of heart-related problems, including death due to heart disease.
Another study, published in “The Lancet,” found longer working hours are associated with type 2 diabetes.
4. You Have Poor-Quality Sleep
If you find it difficult to fall asleep, or you toss and turn at night due to work stress, that could have long-term health effects. People who consistently fail to get enough sleep are at an increased risk of chronic disease, according to Harvard Medical School. These risks include diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, all which may lead to a shortened life expectancy.
5. You’re Overeating Because Food Offers Comfort from Work
One way some people cope with an unsatisfying job is to find comfort in food. When overeating leads to being overweight or obese, that increases risk for serious health issues.
According to the CDC, being overweight or obese increases risk for all causes of death. It can also increase risk for hypertension, type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancer and heart disease.
6. You’re Sick More Often Than You Were Before the Job
If you find yourself catching a cold more often, that might be due to a compromised immune system due to stress. As “Psychology Today” reports, the brain and the immune system are constantly communicating. When you’re mentally stressed, that also places a burden on the body’s ability to ward off physical threats.
That can lead to more frequent sickness, which can lead to more serious issues like heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.
7. You’ve Started to Feel Aches & Pains
Stress and pain often go hand-in-hand. They share physiological overlaps that can create a negative cycle where one reinforces the other.
If your body is more often in pain since you started your job, you’re likely experiencing increased stress. A systematic review published in “PLOS One” found people with chronic pain are at an increased risk of death, particularly from cancer.
8. You’re Experiencing Signs of Depression
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It’s normal to feel sad every once in a while. Long-term, depressive episodes take form in signs like these, with symptoms occurring most of the day, nearly every day.
- Feelings of sadness, hopelessness or emptiness
- Angry outbursts
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities like hobbies or sex
- Sleep disturbances
- Lack of energy and tiredness
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
Depression can also manifest in physical symptoms, like headaches and back pain. A study published in “Prevention Science” found depression is associated with elevated morbidity and mortality. Depression is also associated with physical impairments of a similar magnitude as those found in chronic diseases, like cancer and diabetes.
9. You’ve Stopped Exercising
If work has made it too busy to exercise, or you’re too stressed to work out, that can negatively impact your health. Besides possibly leading to weight gain that can lead to being overweight or obese and all the health issues associated with it, a lack of exercise is also linked to increase risk of:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
No matter how demanding a job is, to protect against risk factors like these, it’s important to schedule fitness activities.
10. You Have No Time for Self-Care
Self-care is a key way to manage stress. Self-care is simply any activity that’s done deliberately to manage physical, mental and emotional health. It could take the form of exercising, meditating or taking a bath.
When you don’t make a conscious effort to manage your health, stress can pile up and lead to physical ailments. Taking time out to soothe yourself with healthy activities can improve your emotional health, as it triggers a relaxation response.
Is Your Job Taking a Toll on Your Health?
If you’ve noticed a decline in your health since you started your current job, it may be due to work stress. Lack of a work-life balance can lead to burnout and poor job performance, which isn’t good for employers or self-employed business owners, either.
Maybe it’s time for something new, or time to strategize how to create harmony between your job and your personal life. For a free career coaching consultation, contact us online or call 623-738-4470.