How could working too much affect my health?

Working too long or too hard can result in extremely high levels of stress, particularly if you don’t have enough going on in the rest of your life to counterbalance it. Short bursts of pressure every once in a while are good for keeping us challenged and on our toes at work, but chronic, continuous stress is a different matter entirely. Study after study has linked stress to all manner of health problems, including high blood pressure, infertility, indigestion, allergies, migraine, diabetes, ulcers, skin disorders and depression.

Letting work dominate your life also means you’re probably not getting very much exercise, if any. Exercise keeps your body healthy and helps you to deal with stress. It could also mean you’re not getting enough proper, undisturbed sleep which is essential to good health.

If you’re working too hard there’s also a good chance that you’re ignoring your diet. Grabbing something from the office canteen, downing endless cups of coffee to keep going and then heating up a ready meal at night because you haven’t the energy or time to make anything better is a fast track to poor health.

Then there are health problems related to the way you work. Whether you’re operating a drill or working at a computer screen, you need proper breaks to give your body a chance to recover from spending long periods in fixed positions. Overwork often means not taking enough breaks and spending too much time in the same position, and that can cause long-term physical problems including RSI, back injuries and eye strain.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.

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