7 Work Things That Are Bad For Your Health

And how to deal.

1. A hellish commute

An article published in the Independent was going around last week, about the time taken to go to work having to be counted as work, meaning you get paid during your commute. Of course most people misread the article and forgot one tiny (yet very important detail): This only applies to people without a fixed office. (Of course it should.) But there's a reason why so many employees here in the Philippines, even those with a fixed office, wanted to get paid for their commute: It feels like work!

Your commute forces you to wake up before 5 in the morning, and gets you home at 7, 8, or 9 in the evening. That deprives you of sleep! Which can lead to serious health problems like heart disease. Lack of sleep also dumbs you down, makes you forgetful, increases your chances of causing accidents, among others.

If you take the train to work, your anxiety levels are much higher than those who travel in a private vehicle (because in Manila, the train can break down or derail any minute!). It's also bad for your lungs as you breathe in the smog when you wait in the middle of EDSA.

Every minute you spend commuting takes a toll on your anxiety levels, happiness, and general well-being.

2. Business trips

Frequent flying, as in 14 days or more a month, can lead to chronic jet lag (if you're traveling to countries in another time zone), which can lead to memory impairment.

It also exposes you to more radiation than what's considered healthy. According to research, radiation exposure is hundreds of times higher at high altitude than on the ground. That can then lead to increasing your risk of cancer, gene mutations, or radiation sickness (where you experience skin burns, hair loss, and reduced organ functions).

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Frequent business trips prevent you from having healthy meals. Airplane food is full of salt and sugar so they can still taste good at high altitudes, and all that salt and sugar won't do your body any good in the long run. And when you get to your destination, you'll be eating a lot since you'll be fed a lot by your hosts usually three times a day. Your calorie intake will be higher than it's supposed to be. And because you won't be able to exercise as much on business, you'll have a higher risk of obesity.

As if your physical health being compromised isn't enough, there's also your mental health to consider. You experience stress when preparing for a trip. You don't stop working or doing your office job when you're away. You don't get to offset or reduce your workload. You feel lonely when you're away from family and friends and when you're surrounded with people you don't get along with. Add those to the usual stresses of flying: weather delays, technical failures, safety.

3. Sitting all day

No matter how much you exercise, sitting all day is bad for you. It's still linked to becoming overweight and obese, and getting type 2 diabetes since it slows down your metabolism. It also increases the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

4. Tight deadlines to meet

A study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that meeting tight deadlines increases your risk of a heart attack within the next 24 hours by six. If you're in a competitive environment, your risk is doubled.

This research highlights the need for all employers to take workloads and working hours seriously.

5. Being laid off

This takes a toll on one's mental health. There's the overhanging feeling of guilt about deserving the layoff (even when it might not have been deserved in reality) and the constant worry about the economic consequences of having no work again.

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In the year after losing one's job, the mortality risk goes up by at least 44 percent, and poor health reporting increases by 80 percent.

6. Shift work or long hours

These can result in hypertension, committing more mistakes (because of lack of sleep), and getting into unhealthy habits like smoking and consuming way too much caffeine.

7. Work-family or work-life conflict

Research has found that mental health problems (like depression), physical health problems (like cardiovascular disease), and substance abuse arise from work-family or work-life conflict.

All these are daunting and depressing, especially because you have to work and some of these things can't be avoided. Be sure to find time for yourself. Make time to walk and workout. Talk to your employers about your work hours and your workload. Think about working from home. Ask yourself if all the stress is worth it.

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