Is your job damaging your health?

Author: Emma Gilbert

At least 2-3 times per day we are hearing from patients how stressed and tired they feel as a result of their job. No matter what industry you work in or how much you enjoy your job we believe your health should not suffer as a result of your work. If any of these apply to you then your job may be damaging your health:

  • You feel your workload is large enough for more than one person
  • You often arrive early or stay late just to get things done
  • You eat your lunch while working
  • You seldom take breaks
  • You consistently miss opportunities to enjoy hobbies or exercise due to work
  • You would describe your work as stressful (due to workload, targets, deadlines or office politics)

Why does it matter?

If any of the above statements apply to you then it’s highly likely that you are sacrificing some of your health and well-being for work. You may think this is a necessity of the job you do, however when you don’t realise how much your job is taking from your health, you cannot do anything to salvage it.

Living in a “fight or flight” stressed state is bad for your health. It reduces your sleep and energy which in turn shuts down your healing response and leads to issues like back and muscle aches, repetitive strain injuries and headaches but also digestive and other health issues such as heart disease and diabetes. This often goes hand in hand with anxiety or depression which is a huge issue in the UK with 45% of all work related illness being linked to depression in 2016.

Here in clinic we can see that an inability to make significant changes to restore a work-life balance is the main factor stopping our patients from getting the health they want and deserve.

Cycle of health

Something we teach here at Radcliffe Chiropractic Clinic is the 5 pillars of health which allows you to see how health is lost and gained and how each element is related to the other.

Health is gained through adequate sleep (resting and repairing all of your body), good mental health, nutrition and hydration, regular exercise and a healthy nervous system.

When you are stressed and overloaded at work you cannot sleep or repair so you develop more aches and pains, you don’t have time to take exercise (or be more likely to injure yourself when you do), your posture deteriorates from spending too long at a desk or driving and you never actually stop to digest your food properly and perhaps don’t even have time to prepare healthy snacks or fetch drinks.

Can you see how quickly a an unhealthy office culture can start to affect all parts of your life and your health?

You can read more about how Chiropractic Care can help you achieve a healthy, healing state in your nervous system which is key part of this cycle here.

It’s all to easy to loose your health when you don’t take responsibility for protecting it

How can I protect my health at work?

The sad truth is that no body is going to come to you and say “you look overloaded, let’s take some that work from you.” In fact the only way you can improve this situation is to take responsibility for your own health and happiness and take action. There are many way you can do this but it starts with first recognising fully just how much work is contributing to your lack of good health and making a list of all the ways it contributes alongside all things you would like to do differently.

Taking action will probably require speaking to your manager and some of the conversations may be quite challenging. Easy things you can do however are:

  • Get a workplace assessment to make sure your posture is good at work
  • Taking the lunch break you are entitled to and leaving the office to walk and eat (don’t be afraid, research shows this will make you much more productive)
  • Making space in your diary to exercises at least 1-2x per week and prioritising this over work
  • Trying some mindfulness and relaxation techniques to get you through your week more easily (read our blog on mindfulness here)

Remember you are not along in this situation, in fact you are in the majority not the minority! However unless you speak out the work culture here in the UK will not change and the health of our country is what will be sacrificed.

If someone you care about is in this position and work and would like help and support in breaking their cycle of ill health, please get them to give us a call on 0115 933 4544 to book a consultation now.