“Sleep is for the weak!” “I can sleep when I die!” Have you heard these phrases before? We live in a society that glorifies overworking, and doesn’t put enough emphasis on self-care and your mental health. How many times have you called into work telling them you can’t come in because you need to relax? How many times have you taken extra shifts to get more money, or worked a double just to get in overtime and brag about how you aren’t even tired after a thirteen-hour-long day? We have a problem with overworking, and it could be destroying us.
Jaiden Animations has been kind enough to let us share this video with you, and I think it will really put things into perspective. It’s beautifully done, so watch this video and then I’m going to bring a little bit of science into the mix to explain why this way of living really isn’t good for you.
Overworking yourself is unfortunately over glorified. From early on in our lives we are taught that our accomplishments and how far we go are more important than anything else. In fifth grade, I stayed up several nights to complete a short story for my class, I stressed for days and completed a seven-page short story to present in front of my class. And you know what happened? I passed out from anxiety and stress while reading my work. Which was mortifying, but at least I got some free ice cream out of it.
My family, my teacher, and my peers praised me for being an overachiever, and I beamed from it. But what no one told me was this habit that I was forming was going to take a toll on my physical and mental health for the rest of my life until I broke it. Almost twenty years later, and I still have to remind myself that I matter more than my accomplishments. And this is something that you need to tell yourself on a regular basis as well.
Why You Need To Stop Overworking Yourself
Overworking And Your Brain
Studies have shown that when you overwork yourself in a job strained environment, it contributes to the brain aging process. This aging process can cause a decline in memory and thinking skills. In the study, those who worked more than 55 hours a week did worse on cognitive tests than those who worked 40 hours or fewer, and there was also a more significant decline in fluid intelligence in the people who were working more.
In the video, Jaiden explains how you might get caught in the idea that the more you work, the better the outcome. Sacrificing sleep, food, and self-care just to get projects out or meeting deadlines can actually make your work suffer. If you want your work to have quality, being in a healthy mindset is one of the best places to start.
Overworking And Your Heart
Studies have shown that a stressful work environment can lead to cardiovascular disease. When you are overworking yourself, you're not only making your work quality suffer, but your body is as well. This practice can also cause you to pick up unhealthy habits like overeating, eating junk food, and smoking cigarettes which can all lead to more heart health problems.
Overworking And Your Weight
Stress can cause you to stress eat, and there is no exception when it comes to overworking yourself. In a study looking at people who were overweight and their happiness with their jobs, it wasn’t about how much they worked but about the work strain. Some of the people could work sixty hours a week and be fine, while others needed to take time off. Job strain has also been linked to diabetes in both men and women, which may be because of the unhealthy habits and lack of self-care.
Overworking Looks Different For Everyone
Your colleague may be able to work sixty hours a week and still have good health, but that doesn’t mean that every individual can work those hours. Maybe they take the time they do have to practice self-care, perhaps their biology is just different. But everyone has an equation they must follow to keep balance in their life.
Overworking at your job can also be easier if the job strain isn’t as intense. If you work in a place that respects employees, focuses on their mental health, and has a positive work environment, you may find it easier to work those sixty hours a week. This doesn’t mean that working for a fantastic company is an excuse to overwork yourself, but you may find that you have a longer fuse. Unfortunately, that isn’t a lot of workplaces in America. If you’re like me and you work from home, working sixty hours a week can take a toll because of how challenging working from home can be to your physical and mental health.
What Causes Job Strain?
Job strain can come from a number of things. Everyone has had that boss that doesn’t appreciate them and only points out what employees do wrong without giving any praise. Some people on salary may find themselves working overtime because they feel their company needs it, getting no extra pay or acknowledgment for how hard they work. Workplaces can become toxic, making it difficult to even walk through the door without anxiety. But you can get job strain from working for good companies, or yourself, as well.
If you work for an amazing company who cares about you and other employees, you can still experience job strain. It is more than just the environment you are working in, but how you participate in it. Studies show that burnout is one of the most likely causes of job strain, and learning when you have it can help you use healthier working practices.
How To Know Your Burned Out
In the video, Jaiden beautifully explains how it is to work for yourself. Every moment you aren't productive at work (home) feels like a waste of time. You may feel like this even if you don’t work for yourself. When I used to work for a company, I would have anxiety on my breaks thinking about everything I could be doing while I ate and tried to relax. This type of mindset can cause you to burn out, and there are some hints your body gives you to tell you that you need to rethink the way you work.
Exhaustion is more than just wanting to sleep; it can be mental and emotional as well. If you find that you are feeling drained and tired all of the time, you need to take a break. Not just a ten-minute break away from your computer, though this will help, but a good long refreshing break at home where you treat yourself to sleep, self-care, and relaxation.
Lack Of Motivation
You can still feel the drive to work but lack motivation. You know in your head you need to get things done, but you lose the enthusiasm you once had to make your work top quality. If you find that you wake up already dreading work and find it to be a lot of effort to walk through those doors, you may be experiencing burnout.
Jaiden explains in her video how when you are burnt out; you start to snap at everyone around you. Your fuse becomes a lot shorter and not just with people around you, but with yourself as well. People feel negatively all of the time, but when you find that you are drowning in these emotions and you can’t get yourself out, you may be experiencing burnout.
Poor Job Performance
This goes along the lines of overworking causing cognitive issues. Like Jaiden explained in her video, people who have overworked themselves report that the quality of work wasn’t worth the effort that they put in. If you find that you are just pushing along, putting out anything you can at the sake of completion, you may be burned out.
Do you tell yourself you’ll eat when you’re finished working? Do you not have time to exercise, shop for the right foods, or build meaningful relationships because of your work? It doesn’t have to be this way. Your body and mind are so much more important than the work you put out. And when you are sacrificing your health, your work might not come out that great anyway. Stop neglecting yourself; you’re awesome! You deserve to treat yourself and give yourself some love.
What Can You Do?
So you’re reading all of this, watching the video, and you’re like, “Oh man, this is so me.” These health problems are probably not too attractive, so you may want to do something about it.
This is one of the easiest and yet hardest things you could do. If you’re anything like Jaiden or me, you might have anxiety from not working. All you can think about is work no matter what you’re doing. But you need to train your brain to take a break from work when your body is. Whether it is through meditation, bubble baths, or taking a walk, you need to relax and get your head out of work so when you go back in you are refreshed and ready to take on the world.
Are you sacrificing your sleep for work? STOP! Your sleep is so important; there are a bunch of health problems that can come from refusing to sleep. When sleeping, your body is repairing damage and freshening up your brain so that it can handle the next day’s obstacles. If you neglect sleep, you’re only going to make your work days harder.
You have the ability to say no. I promise you do. If you have a workload that is almost too much to handle, you don’t have to take on extra projects. These additional projects might make you look better to those around you, but this is because we as a society still glorify overworking like people deserve a medal anytime they go days without sleep. Know what you can handle and what you are capable of, and know when enough is enough.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!
Are you getting cluster headaches from stress? Are you gaining weight from unhealthy habits or smoking packs of cigarettes a day? Are you exhausted every day? Look for these red flags and know when your body is telling you that you need a break. And actually listen to it! Don’t just fight through these symptoms of overworking, because it can start to take a toll on your health.
So now you know the mental and physical consequences of overworking, so you should probably give yourself a break. If you find yourself in a work environment that doesn’t allow you to care for yourself, either propose changes in the workplace or find somewhere new. Your health is so important, and you shouldn’t throw it away for someone who just sees you as a peon to use to get them their paycheck.
Have you broken out of the cycle of burnout and overworking? We would love to hear any tips or tricks you have that keeps you fresh, healthy, and still employed. Leave your suggestions in the comment section below!