There’s no doubt that times are tough. But if you’re tempted to try and show your value by working harder and longer, be sure to include a healthy dose of self care – otherwise success may come with an expensive price tag – your health.
“Many people feel like they have to push themselves to unhealthy levels in order to succeed. But high-pressure jobs and long hours take a real toll on your immediate and future health,” says George Griffing, M.D., professor of internal medicine at Saint Louis University. Here, according to Griffing are the seven worst habits to watch out for in these workaholic times.
1. Forgetting to relax: While some stress can be good because it keeps you alert and motivated, too much stress or chronic stress will take its toll on your body contributing to headaches, upset stomach, sleeping problems, muscle tension, weight gain/loss, high blood pressure and chest pains.
2. Eating on the go: A healthy, balanced meal of complex carbohydrates, protein, fruits and vegetables is exactly what you need to stay mentally sharp throughout the day. Beware of frozen meals, fast food and processed food; they can be high in sodium, calories and fat.
3. Putting off sleep for work: Even busy professionals need seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Skimping on sleep can cause irritability, difficulty concentrating, memory problems and poor judgment. It has also been linked to obesity.
4. Not making time for exercise: Humans were not designed to sit at desks for eight hours or more a day. Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise most days is very important to your immediate and future health. In addition to reducing the risk for nearly every major disease, exercise has been shown to help fight anxiety and depression.
5. Working even when sick: Everyone has heard, “Don’t come to work if you’re sick,” yet that’s exactly what many do. Whether you’re worried about jeopardizing your job in an unstable economy or just anxious about getting behind, there are three common sense reasons to stay home: Nobody wants your germs, you’ll be less productive and you need your rest to get better.
6. Drinking (too much): Research has shown that moderate alcohol consumption can reduce your risk for everything from heart disease to rheumatoid arthritis, with “moderate” being the key word. In general, men should have no more than two drinks per day (1.5 oz. of spirits, 5 oz. of wine or 12 oz. of beer) and women who are not pregnant should limit themselves to one drink per day.
7. Skipping annual medical checkups: In order to detect problems early, you need to know what’s going on in your body. Depending on your age, family history and lifestyle, consider a comprehensive medical checkup and special screenings every one to five years. Consult with your doctor for more information.
“Eventually, something’s going to give. If you keep burning the candle at both ends, the flame will burn out,” Griffing said. “But if you maintain a healthy balance, you will be happier and healthier overall.”
This post was originally published at Karen Leland’s Featured Small Business column on The Huffington Post.