Chances are, if you’re reading this and live in the United States, you’re working too much. Even more so, you probably aren’t happy with your job. Yet, you still work long hours. You might even call yourself a workaholic.
We all know that in order to get ahead in life, you need to work hard. The problem is that we work TOO hard. As a society, the United States works more hours per year than any other country on the planet. And we’re number four in GDP per hour. But when you break it down to a per capita per hour basis, we just don’t get that much out of each person per hour. The reason we’re so high on the charts for productivity relates directly to how many hours we work.
Now, working hard isn’t the worst thing in the world. We love the athlete that works hard and eventually becomes a starter, an all star, all pro simply through hard work. It’s a huge part of the American dream. But, alas, we’re not athletes. Many of us are office workers who sit for eight to ten hours out of the day. Worse, we’re stressed. We have deadlines to meet, sales to close and customers to appease. All that stress, all that sitting around, that’s what’s killing us.
You see, it’s not really the work itself that does us in. It’s how we manage it and make it work for us. It’s pretty well known that stress can influence the onset of coronary heart disease. It’s also well known that sitting around all day makes you fat. But stress and burnout as a cause of disease and sickness is even worse than you think. A study in Psychosomatic Medicine showed that burnout and stress increased the likelihood of getting coronary heart disease by more than 40%. Even worse, if you were in the top 20%, aka the person that just can’t get out of bed in the morning to get to work, struggles throughout the day and needs a break after being there for only 20 minutes, well, you have a 79% increase in the likelihood of coronary heart disease.
Yikes. A 79% increase is no joke. It’s horrible. This is literally something that could kill you. So how do we deal with this? What sort of preventative measures can be taken?
First off, stop letting people get to you. Yes it’s your job and you might not yet have eff you money but still, don’t let it get to you. When you leave the office, leave work there! Don’t bring it home if it’s bumming you out. I know that’s tough for a lot of people but it’s the truth. You absolutely need to do it.
Secondly, you need to work out and eat better. Let’s face it, just trying to roll with the punches and not let things get to you can only get so far. You need to actually take care of your body if you want to enjoy your early retirement some day. Just going on walks every day can help. Eating more fruits and vegetables and less processed cheese could also help. I know it’s delicious but it’s just not worth it.
If you’re so stressed that you read this post and the article above and just nodded the entire time, well, you need a vacation and a serious life change. I know that normally this sit is about personal finance but this is an important topic to me as well. Making and keeping money is only worth it if you’re healthy enough to enjoy it. If you’re burned out by your job, maybe you need a new job or a new industry to work in. Maybe you just need more rest. Ultimately, you need to do what’s right for you and take better care of yourself. So relax, don’t let the little things get to you, and go for a run! Your brain could use it.
Image courtesy of windsordi