It is important to ask this question from time to time: How is my work affecting my health? Is it making me sick, and what can I do?
This article is for those of us who cannot stop working and about finding a balance between work and health.
Not everyone has the luxury to change or leave their jobs right away. Others love what they do too much to change, but their health gets compromised. So, if your work is causing you stress, have bills to pay and mouths to feed, what can you do?
All you need to do is make a bit of time for exercise, that’s all. If you haven’t started yet, start right away. If you have, keep on going.
Exercising has this powerful value to it in terms of time and effect. A one-hour session of moderate to high intensity can positively effect your mind and body for the following 24 to 48 hours. In other words, the magic does not just happen while you work out — it continues to improve your health for a day or two as your body recovers. I call this a “smart investing.”
I will explain later, but first let’s talk about being sick.
You and I have been sick, injured or ill before. Perhaps it was discouraging. Maybe it made us think of our vulnerability. Whatever the case, I don’t know about you, but I did not enjoy being in pain.
I asked myself this:
Could I personally enjoy a breathtaking view of a white sandy beach adorned with lush palm trees, and take pleasure in a warm breeze if I suffer from chronic headaches?
Would I have fun driving a brand new luxury car if my joints were constantly aching?
Then I ask this question: If I can prevent some illnesses by changing my lifestyle, would I?
How important is money and how is it relevant to our health? Well, it depends.
Since most people in affluent countries are living longer, having extra finances is necessary to support a longer life — especially if age-related diseases need to be dealt with financially.
But how hard should I work for money?
I mean, does it make sense for me to work extra hard to gain extra materials and suffer extra stress along the way? It seems like a trap if I sacrificed my health to overwork, only to sacrifice the money I gained to get my health back. That’s a waste of money, and if I don’t find a solution to my stressful job, I could fall upon an illness money cannot correct.
Now, the question is, do I get sick from too much stress? If so, do most of my stresses come from work? Does money worry me?
Here are some statistics that could put things into perspective.
Stress is the number one reason behind most health related problems in North America, largely because stress makes people do bad things, which can often lead to more serious diseases.
A 2015 report by the American Psychological Association stated that money concerns ranked number one in causing stress in Americans. The other four stresses were work, family and health concerns.
In this survey, the most commonly reported symptoms of stress, caused by money worries, were: irritable feelings and anger; nervousness and anxiousness; and feeling fatigued, overwhelmed, and depressed.
So, instead of fixing these initial feelings right away, many people use them as excuses to use other unhealthy habits and behaviors to numb them— like eating sugary foods, smoking, or drinking lots of alcohol. Stress also causes sleep deprivation, prolonged inactivity and sometimes, abuse of drugs.
So, what is a person to do when torn between work and health?
“ I don’t have time to exercise ” — Most people
In my 15 years of martial arts instructing, I have come to learn the most popular excuse as to why people are not exercising.
From college students blaming studying, parents putting their children’s activities ahead of theirs, to workaholics the underlying common excuse behind all the reasons is lack of time.
Lack of time is the classic excuse for not wanting to do something.
People do not want to exercise because exercise requires energy, time and effort. Please read this thorough and detailed article I put together on how a sedentary person can become active.
The fact is we do have time to exercise. Another fact is that if we add will-power, magic will happen.
Let’s take a look.
There are 168 hours in a week. If we work 60 hours a week, this leaves us 108 hours left. If we sleep 8 hours a day, this leaves us 52 of waking hours. If we exercise 3 to 4 hours a week, we still have 49 to 48 hours to freely do what we please.
Do you know what percentage of your time 3 to 4 hours a week is? It is 1 to 2 percent!
Fortunately, those 3 to 4 hours of exercise positively affects the rest of your week by nurturing your mind and body. Think of investing and compounding interest. Investing 1 to 2 percent of your energy affects 100 percent of your entire week.
So, this leads me to say that I think exercise can help balance the tension between work and health. Without making drastic work changes, an additional three days of exercising each week for the rest of one’s life can result in lifesaving benefits.
“Every generation needs a new revolution.”
— Thomas Jefferson
Revolutionize Aging is about looking hard at the well-being of our families and communities. It is questioning the health epidemics of our society and looking for answers and solutions. Changing one’s lifestyle is a personal revolution. If you want to change, you must rebel against old bad habits.
Thank you for reading.