Are you feeling overworked and underpaid? Tired, run-down, and short on energy? Short on time for things that really matter to you? You are not alone. Millions of people who comprise the workforce in America are working hard, working a lot of overtime, and the overall health condition is suffering greatly for it. The culture of corporate life justifies its actions for increasing profits by impeding upon the health and well-being of their employees. The environment in the workplace is typically one of a nine-hour plus day with one hour for lunch and even shorter a.m. and p.m. breaks. Jobs are more and more demanding and people feel as though they can never get enough done for managers who are pressured by higher-ups to produce endless amounts of projects in shorter and shorter amounts of time. This is how human health is adversely affected by these working conditions:
- People rush into the office each day, having received in many cases, scarcely enough sleep or food, and are expected to be there anywhere from 6 to 9 a.m. and perform uninterrupted until lunchtime, at which they receive just one hour to procure and eat a nourishing meal. After lunch they must return and work until 5 p.m. or later in order to complete only some of their daily tasks. When the work day is over, people are tired and don’t feel like exercising or cooking a healthy meal. What often results is eating out at fast-food establishments or preparing processed foods at home that provide not only little to no nutritional value but actually increase risks of developing serious diseases and conditions such as heart-disease, high blood pressure, Diabetes, stroke, and cancer.
- During a typical workday, convenience is the name of the game. If something isn’t quick or convenient, it won’t even be considered. The result is consumption of fast-food, microwaved foods, vending machine foods, and portable junk-foods and snacks bought from grocery stores. These processed foods, as well as being devoid of nutritional value, are packaged and sold in plastic containers which harm the environment when disposed of (not to mention all the leaching of plastic into the food being eaten). People tend to bring snacks and drinks to the office that are sugar-laden and full of caffeine and chemicals in order to alleviate boredom as well as provide a “lift” just to get them through the day. Again, these substances provide no real fuel for the body and later on cause a drop in mood, energy, and overall feeling of well-being.
- No time is provided for napping or relaxation during the nine-plus hour workday. Studies show that a 15 to 25 minute nap during the afternoon improves productivity as well as condition of health. Visit About.com for more information on these studies about the important role sleep plays in our health and productivity.
- Employees are seldom provided time for physical exercise or stress relief. People who are confined to small spaces or redundant tasks for long periods of time and do not receive some type of unrestricted physical movement are more likely to develop health problems such as Diabetes – which can lead to other issues. People who are crammed into cubicles or other workspaces unfit for long periods of habitation become cramped, agitated, mentally taxed, generally fatigued, and can eventually contract some virus or bacteria due to the fact that their bodies’ immune systems are compromised due to these conditions. The World Health Organization reports that sedentary lifestyles are a major leading cause of underlying death in developed and developing countries.
- Workplace tension and conflict have a sizable impact on health. It is true that spending long periods of time in the same location with others will inevitably develop personality clashes and differences. In many cases, people cannot escape or find resolve for such problems and have no choice but to remain in a hostile environment in order to put food on the table and pay bills. Some turn to substance abuse as a method of combating depression, anger, frustration, and difficulties sleeping. Those who imbibe regularly by alcohol or drug abuse as a way to unwind, relax, or escape the reality of a bleak existence that is the everyday workplace are putting their health in jeopardy.
It takes time, effort, and money to manage health wisely and efficiently to keep yourself in optimal condition. If a person is constantly overworked, under stress, consistently missing out on exercise, sleep, and nutritious meals, health will suffer.
Here are a few tips for resolving health and mental issues in relation to the workplace:
1. If possible, ride your bike or walk to work.
2. Seek out relaxation activities such as acupuncture, hypnosis, meditation, and massage, and strengthening activities such as yoga, pilates, or martial arts. Get regular moderate exercise that compliments your interests and lifestyle.
3. Avoid unhealthy foods and beverages (anything processed or containing unnatural ingredients) and eat organic, whole, raw foods as much as possible. Cut out sodas, juice, and drinks containing caffeine, candy, desserts, and other sweets. Include foods like raw cheeses, raw nuts, sprouted grain products, and fruits and vegetables for snacks. Bring your lunch to work and take a walk on your breaks. Get up from your desk frequently to move around. Be sure to stay well-hydrated with a good type of purified water.
4. Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep at night. Do not go to bed later than 10:30 p.m.
5. Don’t overload your personal life with activities and events that are stressful and prevent you from relaxation and/or adequate sleep.
For more information about how to deal with workplace issues related to health and the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle, visit the following web sites: