Most people will spend 30% of their life at work. That’s why it’s so important to think about the impact that your career is having on your wellbeing. There are a variety of ways that your career could impact your health. However, it’s also worth knowing that your employer has a duty of care. This means that they need to take care of you and ensure that your career is not negatively impacting your wellbeing. So, with that in mind let’s take a look at a few of the ways that your career can have an impact on your physical and mental health. We’ll also explore some of the steps that you may want to consider if this does become an issue in the future.
If you find yourself working long hours in a job that is very demanding then you may start to struggle with your mental health. You are only human and you will only be able to take so much before you hit breaking point. The problem with hitting breaking point is that you are more at risk of needing significant time off work. Certain professionals are more at risk of developing anxiety and depression in their careers, make sure you know if this is you. The last thing you want is to take time off to attend rehab for depression, but if that is what will help then it will be worth it in the long run. You will learn skills that will help you manage your depression better and not let the bigger things bother.
You might be in a job that requires you to spend a lot of time writing things down or typing on a keyboard. People might assume this is one of the easiest careers to be in, however, you are far more likely to develop conditions such as repetitive strain injury (RSI). When RSI hits you will know about it, it can affect your wrist, fingers, or shoulders. It happens when the muscles are being used over and over in the same motion. If you are in a job that requires a lot of writing or typing then it is essential you take regular breaks to relax the muscles being used.
You can buy gadgets and tools that will assist in the prevention and management of RSI, such as ergonomic keyboards. A lot of people will also use a splint on the affected wrist if they need to keep it immobile to recover.
Time For A Change
You may be fed up with getting up each morning and doing the same nine to five each day. This is completely normal and most people will feel like this at some point during their career. Something you should remember is that it is never too late to change career direction. You may be worried that you won’t be offered a new job due to age or other factors. However, if you don’t apply then you will never know. Something you may also want to do is retrain for a brand new career, this could mean going back to school for a bit to learn new skills.
Research jobs that you might be interested in, there may be something that you have always wanted to do. Alternatively, you could speak to a careers advisor if you feel you are stuck in a bit of a rut. They will take your list of skills and look at different careers and jobs that you may be great at.
Do be aware that a stagnant lifestyle can have a tremendous impact on your wellbeing. One research study found that staying still for long periods during that day could be more detrimental to your health than smoking a carton of cigarettes. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you are staying active, even if you have an inactive career where you stay still for long periods. This could include careers that leave you stuck behind the desk for nine hours of the day. It’s important to make sure that you are taking regular breaks. You could also try activities that will help get your body moving. This includes options like desk yoga. As the name suggests, this is yoga, that you can complete while you are at or around your desk.
Of course, you could find that your health is being impacted by a dangerous work environment. This should be an issue but it can be. To avoid this, an employer should appoint a health and safety officer to check for hazards and then correct them when they do arise. If you do suspect that there are dangerous issues around your business, then it’s important to report them and ensure that they are corrected immediately.
A job loss is always going to impact your health. It’s an issue that could again lead to you experiencing depression and it might also cause you to lead a far less healthier lifestyle. There’s no way to avoid job loss completely. However, you can prepare for it and in doing so ensure it doesn’t have a massive impact on your wellbeing. For instance, you might want to stay active on the job market. That way, if you are ever made redundant then you’ll always be aware of the opportunities that exist on the job market.
When you sit in an office with poor air quality you can find yourself becoming exhausted and drained throughout the day. This is due to poor oxygen circulation and is something that needs to be addressed and managed. If you work in your own office then it might be worth thinking about ensuring that you open windows regularly or place some air purifying greenery around the place. If you work in an office building with others then it might be worth speaking to your manager about how they can improve the air quality for everyone. Regular air duct maintenance and placing plants around can significantly improve things.
We’ve already touched on this with air quality and RSI but there are other office design elements that can impact your health. For instance, you might find that you are quite isolated when working in the office. This is never going to be good for you mentally because you won’t be getting the social contact you need through the day. This is also why a hybrid work model can be far better for you compared with a business model where you are constantly alone in your house.
What Can You Do?
As you can see, your career can impact your health in a massive variety of ways. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you know the steps that you should take if your health does start to suffer.
First, you may want to think about speaking to your employer. It’s possible that they aren’t aware of the situation and they could be willing or even eager to help you. A lot of employers aren’t just worried about the legal ramifications of not looking after their team. They really do care about who you are and what you need.
If you don’t feel as though this is the case, then it could be worth pursuing legal options instead. You always have the right to work in an environment that is safe and isn’t putting you or other team members in harm’s way.
Failing that, then you might want to think about exploring a new job, a new company, or even a new career path. It’s fair to say that some careers are far more dangerous than others and that is worth keeping in mind.