I know most people work well over 40hrs a week even if they don’t necessarily “have to” — we’ve become this culture of people wherein working 12-16hr days is seen as a badge of honor.
We joke about not having time for “life” and talk about how late we worked the previous night or how many hours we clocked in during vacation or over weekends like it’s something to be proud of and for other people to envy.
I used to think this was cool too. When I first began my career in corporate America I worked ridiculous hours. I rarely left the office much before 10/11pm and that was after arriving there around 7-7:30am.
I remember picking up Chinese food one evening on my way home from work and then falling asleep on the floor of my living room, too tired to even eat. Woke up the next morning with cold Chinese food sitting on the kitchen counter and a rug print on my face!
Those of us who used to or still do work these ridiculous hours are vaguely aware of the cost of living this way. We understand we are missing out on time spent with friends, family and significant others. We understand and accept the interrupted weekends and vacations because “one day it will all pay off…when I get X job or make Y amount of money or receive Z promotion.”
But does it? Does it ever pay off? And if it does, what does it REALLY cost us?
Well, according to a few studies, it’s costing us our health!
Check out this out:
“A study published in The Lancet last month analysed data from 25 studies that monitored health of over 600,000 people from the US, Europe, and Australia for up to 8.5 years found that people who worked 55 hours a week had a 33 percent greater risk of having a stroke than people who worked a 35 – 40 hour week, and a 13 percent increased risk of developing coronary heart disease, while a separate study found that working 49-hour weeks was associated with lower mental health, particularly in women.”
Maybe that doesn’t scare you but I think its pretty alarming because so many people work that many hours or more each week — for YEARS! It makes me wonder how much damage they’re doing to their brain, heart, mental and overall health.
My intention with this post is make you stop, think and reconsider your priorities and boundaries. Are there areas where you can carve out more time for yourself? Can you set boundaries with your employers like if you come in early, you leave early or if you stay late you come in late the next morning? Can you negotiate working from home once a week? Give it a try, your employer/manager may be more flexible than you think.
We all have a tendency to think about our health as this future thing we will worry about when we have time; in the interim we just hope and pray nothing bad happens to us because “we don’t have time to be sick!” I’m here to tell you, life doesn’t work that way!!
Health really is wealth! What good is it to have a fat bank account and be sick, tired, unable to enjoy it? I urge you to spend some time considering how much good health is worth to you and then being creative in coming up with some ways to honor that for yourself.
Share your ideas and comments with me below. If this post was interesting or inspiring to you and you feel it could be to others, please share! SHARING is CARING!
Photo credit: istockphoto