Some people work themselves to exhaustion because they need to sustain themselves, and yet others do it to get ahead in the proverbial rat race. It is well known that overworking not only tires the body, it pushes your physical and mental strength beyond limits, leading you to a breaking point when all you thought you were doing was work your way to success and riches.
Regardless of whether you’re an entrepreneur or a professional working for someone else, overworking is bad for you and those around you. It affects your health, your relationships and your sense of happiness, and in the long run, overwork does not deliver the benefits you expected from it. Here are six ways slogging your way through life could be jeopardizing your physical and mental well-being.
You are no longer as productive as you were when you started
Working long hours may be satisfying, even thrilling, in the beginning, but as you go along the path of packing in more and more work into your day, your productivity is bound to drop. When you work yourself to the point of mental—if not physical—exhaustion, you’re no longer able to ideate and execute as efficiently as you would if you maintained a healthy balance between work and life.
As you and those around you begin to realize that you’re no longer as productive as you used to be, problems start to set in. Indeed, they are right when they say there is a difference between hard work and smart work—both get you results but the latter gives you time and space to live your life beyond the workplace. So take a hard look at your working style and see if you can make some clever changes to live a more fulfilling life.
You’ve started looking for shortcuts to happiness and relaxation
Alcohol, gaming, spending more and more time scrolling through social media feed—this is how most people tend to unwind when they drain themselves of the energy to do anything meaningful with their free time.
Guzzling beer at the end of a tiring day, binging on Netflix and scrolling through Facebook is perhaps all you can manage after a day’s work, when you could be out taking a stroll, meeting a friend, working out at the gym, or simply reading a book.
If you see yourself looking for unhealthy way to relax your body and mind, it’s time to reevaluate your working life and the value it’s bringing to your life.
You feel fatigued through the day
Sleep is such a gift for the human body—it rejuvenates and relaxes the body at the cellular level and helps to keep us sane and functional. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body tries to make up for the lost restful time, which makes you feel sleepy and lethargic during the day.
You can caffeine your way out of it—but only for so long. The human body is designed to heal itself, and when we abuse our body systems, it has ways to stop us in our tracks by making us fall sick. When this happens, some people use the opportunity to look at their lifestyle from a different perspective and make changes that will preserve their health rather than destroy it.
You’ve been fighting bouts of ‘feeling low’
Working long hours at the office not only affects your physical health, it takes a toll on your mental well-being too, and before you realize it, you could be feeling low, unmotivated, uninspired or even depressed for reasons you can’t quite understand.
Sometimes, when we’re trying to please our bosses, we may not be able to see how our actions are impacting our behavior, thoughts and feelings. Because overwork stops to give us any joy after a point, mood swings and low phases start to set in, which, in fact, is a blessing in disguise if it makes you wonder what you’re doing wrong.
So, if you’ve been struggling to be in high spirits when all you really want to do is to take a long break from work, stop and ask yourself if the extra hours you’re putting in are really worth the trouble.
Your relationships are bearing the brunt
With less and less time to spare for the important people in your life, you could be creating a distance between you and your loved ones by choosing to spend your after hours at work rather than hanging out with family and friends.
Occasional overworking is fine, as you may need to dedicate extra time to complete an important project or finish pending tasks; it becomes a problem only when it becomes a routine, as that is when your loved ones start to feel neglected and frustration sets in, which is bound to affect you as well.
Not only this, exerting yourself also impacts your professional relationships, and you may find your well-meaning colleagues complaining that you’re not as approachable, friendly or calm as you once used to be. You may even grow intolerant of some peers for minor differences. To know how having a diverse set of people benefits your personal and work life, do read this insightful post at https://www.reticencemarketing.com/the-importance-and-impact-of-a-diverse-company-culture/.
You are overworking your way to a short life
A recent study by researchers at University College London highlighted the increased health risks for overworked individuals. The study followed over 600,000 workers and found a link between the number of hours they worked and an elevated risk of heart attack and stroke. The study found that those who worked long hours every week were at a significantly greater risk of stroke and heart attack.
It is a well-known fact that long-term stress affects our body in astonishing ways, and the more work you take on, the more exposed you are to workplace stress. So while you may be getting some tangible benefit out of overwork, what you’re doing over the long run is inadvertently working your way to a shorter life.