How To Treat The Consequences Of Long Working Hours
The job market today is extremely competitive. The good old 9-5 jobs seem to be slowly disappearing, as staying in the office longer than usual is somehow expected of you. In fact, staying several hours overtime a couple of times a week is definitely something to be admired and an example that needs to be followed. And even though working longer hours can be very beneficial and motivating to some, it certainly has certain disadvantages, especially for your health. So, what are the consequences of long working hours and how to treat them properly?
What does “long working hours” mean?
It’s very important to note that the definition of “long working hours” is definitely a subject that’s open for debate. According to some, the definition of long working hours is working for more than 48 hours a week. Sometimes this is equally distributed throughout the working week, while at other times, employees are expected to stay several hours longer during the day, or even work during the weekend. The times have certainly changed, as this phenomenon was very rare in the past.
The first disadvantages of working longer hours can definitely be seen in the physical health of the individual. In most cases, this means spending more time in your office, staring at the computer. Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have published a study in “Annals of Internal medicine” in September of 2017, where they shared their findings that employees who were sedentary for more than 13 hours a day are twice more likely to die prematurely than those who were more active. So how to fix this and what can you do?
Since sitting in the office behind a computer screen is something that most of the employees do during their working day, this can have great effects on the back of the employee. This is why it’s very important to get acquainted with the overall problems and know what you can expect. The effects of long working hours on your back, your neck and your spine can be even more dangerous than actual injuries.
It can cause the compression of the discs in your spine, premature degeneration, and chronic pain. When you sit for a long time, you are more likely to let your posture slide. Slouching can cause the spinal ligaments to stretch, and it can strain your spinal discs. Most of these conditions are possible to fix by correcting the sitting posture or using more comfortable chairs. However, if, for example, a slipped disc isn’t getting better on its own or you develop significant neck pain that can be connected to a disc herniation, sometimes surgery is the only thing that can fix the problem.
In cases like these, it’s crucial to get all the necessary information. Many trusted and successful neurosurgeons such as the experienced Timothy Steel are having online journals and websites where you will be able to get acquainted with the overall process of the surgeries and the results.
Another great way to try and prevent or treat the consequences of the idle, long working hours is staying active as much as possible. If you are expected to stay longer in your office and work on the computer, make sure that you do something active while you’re not at work. The first option is to go on foot to work, especially if it’s within walking distance. Walking 45 minutes or even an hour to work might sound like a long time, but it’s going to do wonders for your body and your muscles if the nature of your job is an idle one.
Moreover, make short breaks during your working day. Get up every 20 minutes and walk a bit around the office (which is a great time to go to the toilet or do a few yoga stretches). This is a great way to move your muscles a little bit so that you improve your blood flow.
Apart from affecting physical health, working longer hours can certainly take a toll on your mental health as well. According to research published in PLoS ONE in January of 2012, people who regularly work more than 11 hours a day (which means 55 hours a week) are twice more likely to fall into a major depression, compared to employees who typically work circa eight hours a day (or 48 hours a week). Not only that but staying longer at work means being away from your family, friends and significant other, which can definitely result in problems with close relationships.
This is why it’s very important to work on yourself and your mental health. Taking up yoga or any other relaxing activity might help you get the peace that you want. Apart from that, indulge in activities that relax you, and do so with the people you love and thus spend more time with them. Many people make the mistake of taking their work home with them once they finish the workday, which is a huge mistake. Leave your job in your office, and forget about your responsibilities once you get out of the office.
Working longer hours is never an activity that we happily indulge in, but we do live in this day and age, and we have to do everything to keep our job, excel at certain skills and build our careers. This is the price to pay, but make sure that you do whatever you can to preserve your health.
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