As I have discovered even the seemingly easiest physical jobs can hurt your body. How your job affects your health depends on many factors. From my personal experience I have found myself with weight gain, poor posture, back pain, wrist pain, vision issues and exhaustion. Blogging and being a freelance writer doesn’t come without sacrifices or health side effects. Many jobs will cause similar or worse symptoms and it is your job to counter act those by making better choices.
How Your Job Affects Your Health
Sedentary jobs cause weight gain and poor muscle strength. One of the hardest things when you work at a desk is the fact that you aren’t moving around a lot during the day. I have been working from home for 5 years and have gained 50 pounds in that time. Being at my desk all day, I find myself often getting in a rut of working without taking a break. Having been in a not busy, but more active job prior to this, the lack of movement definitely changed my body.
- Take regular breaks. Your employer is required to give you 1-2 breaks plus a lunch each day depending on how many hours you work. Don’t let those slide. Take your breaks and walk around your office, building or business. If working from home, set alarms to get up at least once ever 2 hours to walk around your home, take a brief exercise break or simply to stretch.
- Make time for actual exercise. Create a routine and schedule that includes more than just walking to and from your car each day. Make time for at least 30 minutes of exercise 3-5 times a week. This can be joining a local gym, playing sports with your kids, or simply walking or doing an at home exercise routine.
Technical jobs cause headaches, vision and posture issues. Sitting at computer all day can really cause problems for your eyes, posture, and even your hands. Tech jobs, or jobs that involve working on a computer for hours a day can be just as tough on your body as a physically intense job.
- Wear appropriate eyewear. Make sure to have you eyes checked regularly and to use glasses or contact lenses as prescribed.
- Invest in ergonomic chair, mousepad, keyboard. All of these can help you considerably to be able to function well without added strain on your arms, hands or wrists.
- Find a larger screen. Sometimes dual monitors or larger screens can make a huge difference in how you are able to see your work which creates less strain.
- Take frequent breaks. Just like any job, make sure you are taking regular breaks to rest your eyes as well as stretch your legs.
Back and leg strain from physical labor jobs. Whether you are doing construction, working as a nurse, in retail or other physically demanding positions you may already see evidence of how your job affects your health. Lifting, walking, standing and moving items all day long can use many muscles and even joints.
- Lift with your legs not your back. This is repeated over and over again, but a someone who had to have back surgery this year due to a herniated disk, I realize the importance of taking care of your body. Hold items close to your chest when lifting, and allow your legs to support the bulk of the weight. If it feels too heavy, ask for help instead of being the hero trying to lift alone.
- Stretch regularly. Stretch your muscles not only before work, but throughout the day during breaks. Muscles that are loose and stretched will work better and be less likely to strain.
- Rest when strain happens. This one is hard, but you have to protect your body by allowing it to heal. When you have a minor or major injury, you need to seek medical attention and follow orders. If your doctor says you need a week off to heal, they know what they are talking about.
All jobs can cause exhaustion and stress. No matter what your job is, it is likely going to cause some exhaustion and stress at some point in your career. Learning how to cope with stress, stay organized and ask for help when needed is important. Some jobs become so stressful you simply can’t continue them. Other jobs simply have waves of stress that happen.
- Seek help from other employees or a counselor. If your job is causing severe stress, you may need to seek out an outside counselor to make sure you have the right coping mechanisms in place. For those situations you just need more help with, look for another employee to assist with the job.
- Get enough sleep. This is vital to your health on many levels. Make sure your body is allowed to recharge and heal after a long stressful day with enough sleep.
- Use your vacation time. Sometimes you just need to cash in that vacation time to take a break and recharge. Don’t push to avoid using it. Vacation time is there for a reason and should be used.
How your job affects your health varies depending on what job you have. Learning to care for your body and soul better is important not only for your immediate health, but for your long term health and success.
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