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Published on April 29, 2024

Long Work Hours: Preserving Health and Well-Being at Your Job 

 Working long hours is something many employees are familiar with, as it is a common occurrence in many office spaces. You are probably familiar with it as well, and when times get particularly busy at work, it can be tough to remember to look after yourself so that your body and mind don’t become exhausted. If you become seriously tired, your risk of becoming ill will also be considerably more elevated, and the recovery period will likely be trickier. That’s why it’s essential to take care of yourself every day and not neglect your health, especially during times when you’re under more strain than usual.

Healthy diet 

What you eat and drink during times when your workload is more intense will make all the difference. Having a healthy diet is a prerequisite for a healthy life, but it is all the more important to nourish your body during stressful times so that your body gets all the nutrients it requires. Adequate hydration is also crucial since being dehydrated will negatively impact your overall mood, memory, and general performance levels. Hydrogen water follows a pretty straightforward recipe, with the only added ingredient being extra hydrogen, but it has nonetheless become a very popular health product over the past few years. Its main benefit is the ability to act as an antioxidant and protect against cell damage.

Hydrogen water can also increase physical performance, by relieving muscular fatigue and improving endurance levels. Since it has antioxidant properties it can also decrease inflammatory responses and improve metabolic health. And while research doesn’t indicate that it could replace standard treatment schemes, it could act as an addition in order to sustain the body and its systems. 

Dehydration can also lead to headaches and muscle cramps and affect your immune system, metabolism, and bone health. Keep in mind that caffeinated beverages, such as energy drinks and coffee, can have a dehydrating effect, so it’s best to avoid them even if they seem helpful. But what about food? When you work a lot, you need to eat full meals that can support your body and mind, as well as supplant your energy demands with some snacking whenever you feel the need for it.

Look for wholesome ingredients that will provide you with plenty of nutrients, and avoid fast food. It seems filling but cannot provide you with the same level of satiety and has very little nutritional value, which is what your body needs. Some of the foods you can try are yogurt with fruit, granola, and nuts, apples with peanut or nut butter, eggs or egg and tuna sandwiches, fruit, cheese, beans, vegetables, dark chocolate, jerky, chicken or turkey wraps with avocado and other veggies of your choice, and soups or stews, just make sure that they contain hearty and healthful ingredients like stock, cauliflower, parsnips, lentils, beans, meats, ginger, miso and root vegetables. There are so many variations out there that you can try a different recipe daily.

Take breaks 

Working without taking a break can seem like a good idea since you’re more focused, and it might seem like nothing can break your concentration. It is more exhausting on the body and can cause you to start procrastinating after a while. Taking both short and longer breaks may also be the key to preventing burnout, as it allows you to take a step back and reduce your exposure to the workload for a while. Giving your brain a break is very much a necessity, and you’ll notice that you’ll be able to return to the tasks you have to finish with renewed forces afterward.

To keep your motivation consistent, keep the breaks short, but form a routine so that you’ll actually get to work when you return to your desk. What’s more, when you take a break, you should try to go outside and find a natural spot that allows you to rest both your mind and your eyes. If that’s not doable for you, there’s always the option of listening to nature sounds or just gazing outside the window and focusing on a spot far off in the distance so that your eyes can relax.

Plenty of sleep 

According to recent studies, approximately 1 in 3 adults in the United States are sleep-deprived, and the problem is becoming a chronic concern in the case of many. Roughly 40% report falling asleep at least once a month without meaning to, something that shows that the levels of exhaustion in the body have become severe. Moreover, an estimated 50 to 70 million Americans are dealing with chronic sleep complaints and disorders. The importance of rest is often disregarded nowadays, as most people have a lot of work to do and don’t see the harm in sleeping less if it means finishing all their tasks on time.

However, getting poor or insufficient sleep is linked to a higher incidence of both physical and mental health concerns, as well as injuries, lack of productivity, and the emergence of chronic health complaints. No matter how busy you get, you must always prioritize proper sleep since it is actually far more counterproductive to keep going on just a couple of hours of shuteye per night. Create a bedtime routine and don’t let anything interfere with it, and avoid screen time or caffeine before bed. Make sure that your bed and room are as comfortable as possible and that you don’t feel either hot or cold but cozy and relaxed.

Boundaries 

Although it may not seem like the best time for extra tasks, a period during which you’re dealing with a heavier workload might be the best time to set strong boundaries between work and personal life and find the balance between the two. You don’t want thoughts of work to consume your free time, but being unable to work properly because you’re busy planning your weekend getaway is just as detrimental. Having a schedule and focusing on the task at hand are the two pillars of setting boundaries, but they can be more challenging to achieve than it seems at first glance.

Create routines that will get you feeling more productive and ready for work in the morning and that let you relax and enjoy downtime in the evening. In the first case, you should try to avoid the snooze button, drink some water, make yourself some coffee or tea, enjoy your breakfast, and incorporate a little self-care such as putting on a face mask, reading a few pages from a book, or practicing mindfulness. Even five minutes you take for yourself will make a difference.

To wind down at the end of the day, you should focus chiefly on relaxing activities. Avoid intense exercise and focus on stretching instead. Take a warm bath, watch a film or an episode of your favorite show, put on some music, and read a little. As a general rule, if you find something calming and you know that it will allow you to decompress before bed, it should be part of your nighttime routine.

Staying productive can be a challenge since there are so many distractions around, but it is crucial when your schedule is packed. The habits you adopt throughout the rest of your day can make all the difference in handling a hefty workload.


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