It can be really difficult to strike the perfect balance between overworking yourself and feeling productive. Even if you're prone to working long, difficult hours, we all have breaking points.

When does working too hard begin to hurt you? And how?

The United States is one of the hardest-working nations in the world (with the exception of Japan, of course; in fact, the Japanese actually have a word for dying at your desk--karoshi). And the workaholic epidemic is only getting worse. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average American now works an entire month more each year than they did in 1976.

Read on to discover 5 ways working too hard might be hurting you. Then take a big step back from your workaholic ways and find some respite.

1. You'll get sick

For some people, this could mean a persistent cough or cold that simply won't go away. For others, it could be a lot worse--maybe long-term conditions like hypertension or heart disease. Leaving out time to exercise or take care of yourself ultimately results in your taking even more days off work--something that could only hurt you.

2. You'll become less creative

When we're burnt out, it's only natural that we'd have a reduced capacity to think of novel ideas. The lack of creativity can ultimately result in reduced innovation--maybe even hindering your problem-solving skills at work.

3. You might get less smart

Usually, when you're overworking, it means you're not doing everything as efficiently as it could be done. In a study at Yale University, the Yale Stress Center found through brain MRIs that subjects who'd lived through particularly stressful events had smaller brain volume than those who did not.

4. You'll have no balance

When we always prioritize work, we lose our ability to incorporate other parts of our lives that make us happy into our daily lives. Work less, and the other parts of your life will definitely improve--even without seeming like you're trying.

5. You'll be overwhelmed

It's much more common for those who are overworked to feel completely overwhelmed by seemingly small tasks, to the point of being unable to do normal, daily functions that everyone else appears to have access to.

Published on: Apr 20, 2017