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WARNING: Professionals Can Suffer from Career-Related Conditions

WARNING: Professionals Can Suffer from Career-Related Conditions

Usually we think of having a job as being good for us, but sometimes the career-related conditions of professionals can be harmful to their health. Occupational diseases can range from stress and anxiety to carpal tunnel syndrome or eye strain from using a computer too much.

Common Career-Related Conditions

The first disease recognized as being caused by a person’s job was when the link between chimney sweeps and squamous cell carcinoma of the scrotum was discovered in 1775 by Sir Percivall Pott. Luckily, professionals these days don’t usually have to worry about such dire health issues (though lung diseases are still possible among people who work with asbestos or in mines, for example).

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However, there are still health issues that can be caused at least in part by your job, depending on how demanding it is and what is physically required of you.

Carpal tunnel syndrome, for instance, is a condition of the hands and wrists that can come about from too much repetitive motion, whether that’s using a computer, operating a machine or performing another repetitive task through the day. Warning signs include numbness, tingling or burning in the thumb and fingers, and possibly also pain and loss of strength in the hand. Though diagnosis and treatment of the condition is unclear, loss of function is possible if the pain is untreated.

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Another common problem for computer workers is sometimes called computer vision syndrome, which is a temporary condition caused by focusing on a computer screen for too long. It can cause headaches, blurred vision, neck pain, eye strain, dry eyes, difficulty focusing and other problems.

And while it can’t be pinned down to one work-related condition, more and more workers these days complain of on-the-job stress interfering with their health and happiness. Studies have shown that as many as 40 percent of workers say their jobs are very stressful, and a quarter of all workers say their job is the number one cause of stress in their lives.

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Stress can come about for all sorts of reasons, ranging from a heavy workload to uncertain expectations, lack of decision-making ability to poor communication, lack of job security and mobility to dangerous environmental conditions or high-pressure environments.

Likewise stress can manifest in all sorts of health conditions, including:

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  • trouble sleeping
  • headaches
  • upset stomach
  • shorter temper, and
  • difficulty concentrating.

Feeling stressed at work can make you less productive and focused and can also lead to serious health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, back problems and neurological problems like depression. It’s possible that people who are stressed out at work have more workplace injuries, and they may even be more likely to commit suicide and have more cancer, ulcers and impaired immune function.

How to Deal with Career-Related Conditions

Of course, which work-related condition you have will determine what you can do about it. Dealing with computer vision syndrome, for example, can be as simple as taking regular breaks away from the computer and using eye drops when you feel dryness. Special glasses for use at the computer can also be helpful.

Carpal tunnel is difficult to diagnose and treat, and there are a lot of strain issues that are not specifically carpal tunnel syndrome. Taking breaks away from repetitive tasks when possible is helpful, as well as using ergonomic equipment when possible. Braces can help keep the wrist straight, and sometimes surgery is necessary to correct serious problems.

When it comes to on-the-job stress, if you feel it is affecting you in a dangerous way, you need to do everything you can to limit stress and relax when you can. Whether that means talking to your boss about a more flexible work schedule or different responsibilities, or taking a vacation and learning relaxation techniques, getting a grip on stress is one of the best things you can do for your health and well-being.

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Sarah White

Freelance Writer, Editor, Professional Crafter

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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