How your job makes you sick becomes visible when you confuse working hard with overworking to the detriment of your physical health and relationships.
While it’s true that you need a job to help pay the bills, it’s equally true that a stressful job, day in and day out, will make you sick. The research found that work-related stress can be as harmful as smoking. Also, workers with the most demanding jobs, and who lack support from coworkers and supervisors, suffer from stress more than workers who are content with their jobs. Furthermore, workers suffered physical effects such as anxiety, headaches, insomnia, rapid heart rate, and digestive issues. Other subtle signs of stress are sweating, low self-esteem, loss of sex drive, and frequent illnesses.
Instant Signs Of Job Sickness
Now, let’s set aside research and just think about how your job makes you sick. After a very stressful highly demanding day at work, instantly your face feels hot, your hair is dry, and so is your skin. You may go to the loo several times, and your energy is zapped. Imagine having this experience 5 days a week. What happens then is that your immune system starts to rebel. And you fall prey to a bout of flu, malaria, pneumonia, typhoid, or general unwellness.
Agreed stress can make you physically sick because stress hormones cause the growth of certain bacteria. But how do you avoid this negative condition at work? Experts say the best way is not to get worked up on the job. Then again is that possible? Yes, it is possible, but with a new twist to an old problem. Hence experts now recommend that employees reduce workload, increase control, seek social support, and develop healthy responses. Lastly, if you take measures to help yourself relax, the risk of contracting an infection will reduce. The five strategies to prevent you from falling sick on the job are explained further below:
How your job makes you sick also manifests in today’s digital world where it’s easy to feel pressure to be available 24 hours a day. So reduce your workload by establishing some work-life boundaries for yourself. This might mean making a rule not to check email from home in the evening. Or resist answering the phone during dinner. Although people differ when it comes to how much they blend their work and home life. However, creating some clear boundaries between these realms can reduce the potential for work-life conflict and the job sickness that goes with it.
Increase Control Over Workplace
Take time to recharge. In order to avoid the negative effects of chronic stress and burnout, you need to increase control over the workplace setting. This means avoiding being overwhelmed by the work environment. And most importantly to replenish and return to your pre-stress level of functioning. It’s a recovery process that requires “switching off” from work-related activities. That’s why it’s critical that you disconnect from time to time, in a way that fits your needs and preferences.
Seek More Social Support
Don’t hesitate to get some support. Accepting help from trusted friends and family members can improve your ability to manage stress. Your employer may also have stress management resources, including online information, available counselling, and referral to mental health professionals if needed. However, if you continue to feel overwhelmed by work stress, you may want to talk to a psychologist, who can help you manage stress better and change unhealthy behaviour.
Develop Healthy Responses
Make smart healthy stress-busting choices. So rather than fight stress with fast food or alcohol, make healthy choices when you feel the tension rise. For instance, exercise is a great stress-buster. Yoga can be an excellent choice, though any form of physical activity is beneficial. Also, make time for hobbies and favourite activities. Whether it’s reading a novel, going to concerts, or playing games with your family, set aside time for the things that bring you pleasure. Getting enough good-quality sleep is also important for effective stress management. Therefore, build healthy sleep habits by limiting your caffeine intake late in the day. And reduce stimulating activities, such as computer and television use, at night.
As regards your food choices, these can have a huge impact on how you feel during the work day. Eating small, frequent, and healthy meals, for example, can help your body maintain an even level of blood sugar. This maintains your energy and focus and prevents mood swings. Low blood sugar, on the other hand, can make you feel anxious and irritable while eating too much can make you lethargic.
Learn how to relax more. Techniques such as meditation and deep breathing exercises can help melt away stress. Start by taking a few minutes each day to focus on a simple activity like breathing, walking, or enjoying a meal. The skill of being able to focus purposefully on a single activity without distraction will get stronger with practice. Then you’ll find that you can apply it to many different aspects of your life.
As a final point, remember not to let your vacation days go to waste. You don’t have to fly across the world either. A work-free trip a few hours out of town can still help you reset.
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