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10 Signs You’re Sacrificing Your Health For Your Work And It’s Not Worth It

10 Signs You’re Sacrificing Your Health For Your Work And It’s Not Worth It

“Americans work harder and longer and more stressful hours than anyone in the world today. Of course, we all inevitably work too hard, then we get burned out and have to spend the whole weekend in our pajamas, eating cereal straight out of the box and staring at the TV in a mild coma (which is the opposite of working, yes, but not exactly the same thing as pleasure). Americans don’t really know how to do NOTHING. This is the cause of that great sad American stereotype — the overstressed executive who goes on vacation but who cannot relax.” – Elizabeth Gilbert; Eat Pray Love

Work and Health

Everybody has to work. In doing so we are supporting ourselves, our families, our need for purpose and if we are lucky, fulfilment. Yet statistics show that there is a dangerous inability to not only know when to switch off from work, but to understand how we might be affecting our health by working too much and not living a balanced life. Here are some signs you might be working too much:

1. Health problems

Ailments regarding health can range from the largely unobserved world of mental health problems, to other physical issues such as obesity. You find yourself eating too much or eating too few meals. Joints have become as so stiff that you can’t even afford to do vigorous exercise.

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2. Cognitive problems

You may be dealing with poor memory. Things people said just minutes ago to you are always forgotten.

3. Poor interpersonal relationships

Your relationships with family and friends have become a bit distant. You have little time to spend with them. When you finally go out with them or have a meal with them, your anxious mind cannot stop thinking about work-related stuff. Such stress puts a barrier between you and your loved ones.

4. Have to bring unfinished work home

You are unable to differentiate between work time and leisure time as your workload increases. You cannot stop thinking about your work even if you’re on vacation.

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5. Always feel tired

You may have difficulty waking up in the morning, have an over-reliance on coffee, or find it hard to concentrate. You feel like you’re at least 10 years older in just one year.

6. Dominated by negative thoughts

Your thought process has become agitated and stressed. Small things can irritate you though you don’t want to be like that.

7. Lower level of satisfaction

You may find it harder to feel satisfied in the things that you used to. Those things lack their colors and you sometimes doubt the meaning of your whole life.

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8. Easily frustrated

You are easily irritated and feel frustrated with many things.

9. Poor performance at work

Your professionalism and expertise may be slipping from its best level. You still try hard but the performance is not the same anymore, as your body cannot sustain such exceeding workload.

10. Weaker self-control

You may find yourself giving in to things easier because you feel deflated or over-run.

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Beware of the bias social proof

Working overtime seems to have become common business for many workers today. Unfortunately it is now the norm to get a phone call saying that your friend or loved one has been “held back” at the office. There are a few reasons for this, and pressures play a decent part in it. You may feel guilty about leaving when there is still work to be done, or when others have left work that needs doing. You may feel guilty that others are staying behind when you are ready to leave. This susceptibility is called ‘Social Proof’.

To avoid this, we should always be aware of our rights, and what we want and are entitled to. If what you have signed up for is to work until a certain point, work until that time and make it a point to leave then. Practice this. This is the job you were hired to do and you are doing it. If you are required to do more it should be agreed upon before hand, and not after. You are doing nothing wrong.

Try ‘different instead of ‘harder’

When you push yourself too hard, you stop enjoying yourself. And while we don’t always love work, we shouldn’t loathe it. Instead of pushing yourself harder, try a different tact. Try different ways to work with your time rather than spending so much time at the workplace. Have specific goals in mind. Instead of saying “I will stay at work until this is done” perhaps say “I will get the hardest parts of this done now, then when I come back to it in the morning, it will be a breeze to finish”. That way you can finish at a reasonable time, and be able to enjoy your free time with less stress.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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