Too Much Time at the Office Is Bad for Your Health

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overtimeDoesn't it sometimes feel like all you EVER do is work? You get up in the morning, get in a quick dose of work (responding to important emails and checking the news in your industry while you're still drinking your first cup of coffee), get the kids off to school, head in to work, work, eat lunch at your desk while you work, work some more, come home from work (maybe catching up on some work-related reading as you commute), eat dinner, put the kids to bed, then hop on your computer and work some more before finally, bleary-eyed and confused as to who you really are and what you really care about anymore, you hit the sack for a few (too few) hours of shuteye. Then your alarm goes off, letting you know it's time for you to get up and do it all over again.

Ugh. I'm getting depressed just thinking about it. And it turns out I'm not the only one.

A British study has found that people who work 11 hours a day or more (add it up – you might be surprised how many hours you're spending toiling away) may have more than double the odds of becoming depressed than people who don't work overtime, but rather keep their to a tidy seven- or eight-hour workday.

If you're anything like me, you didn't need a study to tell you that working too much can bum you out. Honestly, lately, it really does seem like I'm working practically 24/7 -- nights and weekends included -- taking all-too-short breaks here and there to catch a fleeting glimpse of my poor, neglected family. And yes, it HAS been getting me down. I'm stressed out. Irritable. Pretty much the definition of harried.

But what's a woman – a parent -- today to do? You've got to earn the pennies to buy the food to feed the mouths, and to keep a roof over the little ones' heads and clothes on their adorable backs and shoes on their fast-growing feet.

Still, maybe we need to at least try to stop working from time to time. To take a leisurely walk outside in the sunshine. Read the paper. Read to our kids. Just hang out. Maybe we don't have to work QUITE such long hours. Maybe we could try to take a few more breaks. And make those breaks just a little longer. And stop checking our email quite so reflexively.

Just thinking about looking away from my computer for a few minutes is starting to cheer me up. Excuse me -- won't you? – while I take a little break. Back soon! (Sadly ...)

Do you feel like working long hours is making you depressed?

 

Image via Tim Patterson/Flickr

 

stress, emotional health, mental health