Health

Science Says You Should Listen To Your Body, Not Your Boss

A lot of people work overtime without even thinking twice about it. Whether it's for the money, the reputation, or just because you love your job, overtime is becoming more and more common in today's workplace.

Sure, the money is nice...but what will it cost you in the long run?

Jennifer Newman, a workplace psychologist, says working overtime can do more to your health than just make you tired.

"There's an increase in fatigue, which can lead to workplace injuries," says Dr. Newman. "Also, constantly working long hours increases the chances of being diagnosed with a chronic illness later in life. This includes heart and lung disease, cancer, diabetes and arthritis."

Of course, it will take more than a couple overtime shifts to cause these long-term illnesses. Once you start making 10-12 hour days routine, however, you increase your risk.

Now, obviously not everyone can choose their schedules and shift lengths. Nurses, for example, often have to work standard 12 hour shifts throughout their career. So what can they do to stay healthy?

"Try not to take overtime on top of your shifts, and doing back-to-back shifts can damage your health," says Dr. Newman. "The trouble comes when workers don't get time to recover from work. You'll see increases in depression and anxiety in over-worked employees."

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After all is said and done, some people still have to work 60 hours a week to make ends meet. There's no way to avoid it. But there are ways you can make it less stressful on your body.

"If you have to keep this kind of schedule, take your breaks during work when you get them. Make sleep a priority," says Dr. Newman. "Get black-out curtains and use a white noise machine to get some sleep between shifts. Eat healthy food — bring fruits, vegetables with you. Avoid fast food, pop or skipping eating altogether. Keep hydrated and steer clear of caffeine."

Home-life can also play a big roll. If you work a lot, make sure you're not also trying to be super-human at home. You only have one body...make sure you treat it right.

Do you work a lot of overtime? Let us know!

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