While stress is an inherent part of working in a thriving business, it's important to distinguish between everyday stress and health-threatening stress. While some people thrive in a high-pressure environment, the stress will eventually take a toll on many of them, leading to an increase in short-term, and eventually long-term, illness. Here are seven signs you may have a job that's toxic to your health.
Sign #1: The Monday Blues
Do you dread Mondays and live for Fridays? Are you consistently having a "case of the Mondays" at the beginning of every week? Wishing your life away is bad enough, but if you can't enjoy your Sunday because you're stressing over Monday morning, it may eventually take a toll on your health. Examine your own mood carefully between Friday afternoon and Monday morning and note how your stress level rises and falls in relation to thoughts about work. If your job fills you with intense dread, it may be time to make a career change.
Sign #2: Unhealthy Habits
We're all guilty of working through lunch while on a deadline. Most of us have, at one time or another, even grabbed fast food on the way to a meeting. But if your daily workload has you existing solely on junk food, your health will suffer as a result. Try to find a way to stop each day for a healthy lunch and stop working in time for dinner.
Sign #3: Rush Hour Stress
Your workplace stress isn't limited to your workday. If you're rushing to and from the office each day feeling anxious and stressed, the effects of your job start well before and last long after your workday. Rush hour can get the best of anyone, but your pressure to get to work on time can compound your travel time, adding unnecessary emotional distress. Additionally, if you're driving home each day with a death grip on the wheel, you may find your reaction is just leftover energy from your high-paced workday.
Sign #4: Missed Medical Appointments
Who has time to go to the doctor? If you haven't had at least one medical visit in the past year, you may be neglecting your health in favor of maintaining a business, career or job. Set up one dental cleaning every six months and one visit to your general practitioner or ob/gyn to maintain good health. Follow your doctor's recommendations for screenings such as cholesterol checks, mammograms, colonoscopies, and eye exams.
Sign #5: Disrespectful Treatment
Don't assume that in order to earn a paycheck, you're required to endure disrespectful treatment. Consider politely requesting a different approach when receiving work assignments or getting feedback on work performed. If you're in a situation where you have no recourse for the way you're being treated, begin searching for a new environment as soon as possible.
Sign #6: Others Are Unhappy
What are the people like around you? Negativity tends to be contagious. If your co-workers are constantly complaining about the environment, the low morale will eventually contribute to a less-than-stellar workplace. Even if you're able to maintain a positive outlook, being surrounded by chronic complainers will take a toll on your well-being.
Sign #7: Everything Is an Emergency
One sure sign of an unhealthy environment is one in which emergencies are an everyday occurrence. In some industries, it's the nature of the work. In all too many others, however, these emergencies are simply a result of disorganized business leaders and coworkers. To some extent whether or not something is an "emergency" may depend on your mindset and attitude. Regardless, this type of demanding work is both unhealthy and frustrating and eventually leads to worker burnout.
If you're in a job that fits one of the above criteria, there are things you can do to manage your stress. If these attempts are unsuccessful, however, you may find the only way to move yourself to a healthier situation is to begin searching for a new job. The right career will be fulfilling and interesting without creating an overwhelming amount of stress.