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We’re all trying to get back into the groove of things, particularly when it comes to our professional lives. After a year of blurring the lines between work and home, it’s important that we find that work-life balance.

Technology has made it easy for us to communicate. Unfortunately, the ease at which we do it has affected our ability to sign off. You might get brownie points from your employer for your ability to respond to every email and text (even if it’s in the dead of the night). However, one has to wonder how this behavior is affecting your mental health.

Work Stress Is Killing Your Mental Health

The Conversation surveyed over 2200 academic and professional employees from over 40 universities between the months of June and November last year.

The survey found that 21% of respondents have supervisors who expected them to respond to work-related texts, calls, and emails after work. An additional 55% revealed that they sent digital communication about work in the evenings to colleagues, and another 30% said that they sent work-related digital communication to colleagues on the weekends, all while expecting a same-day response.

Of the respondents that had had supervisors expecting them to respond to work messages after work, they had 70.4% higher levels of psychological distress and 63.5%  higher levels of emotional exhaustion when compared to those whose supervisors did not ask the same from them. Additionally, 22.1% reported headaches, with 11.5% reported dealing with back pain.

Obviously, people working overtime as well as students are under a lot of stress. Students are constantly stressed because they have an excessive workload. Often they have to do their homework at night, sacrificing sleep. Therefore, in some cases, it is better to have an EssayPro, an essay writer service or alternatively pay someone to write my essay, thereby taking some of the load off and reducing the likelihood of stress.

Workplace culture

Photo by fauxels from Pexels

As mentioned, respondents also revealed that they felt that they had to respond to work messages from colleagues outside of work hours. The ones who did this reportedly had 75.9% higher levels of psychological distress and 65.9% higher levels of emotional exhaustion. They also dealt with 22.1% more physical health symptoms, when compared to those whose colleagues respected their out-of-work hours.

You are not your job

Yes, we live in a capitalist society, and unfortunately, we need money to survive. However, if you overextend yourself at work, then you’re likely not going to be around for long enough to see the fruits of your labor.

According to a May study from the World Health Organisation and International Labour Organisation, working 55 hours a week is linked to a 35% increased risk of stroke and a 17% increased risk of heart disease, when compared to working 35 to 40 hours a week. The study found that 745000 people died in 2016 from stroke and heart disease due to working long hours, and almost three-quarters of these people were middle-aged or older men. 

Chances are, we can’t survive without our phones. However, being in a constant state of immediate availability is doing nothing but ruining your health. There’s a reason why the term is work-life balance. It’s because there’s supposed to be a balance between the two. Being able to answer calls or respond to emails at home is not the win you think it is. The more time you spend working at home, the less time you have to exercise, spend time with family, and properly unwind from life’s stressors.

In a world where the likes of Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles are taking a step back from their record-breaking professional lives in order to care for their mental health, we only have one thing to ask: why can’t you do the same?

Setting work boundaries

Are you having trouble logging off? Have you noticed that you’re constantly at your employer’s and colleagues’ beck and call? If so, then it’s important to put your foot down and set the appropriate boundaries.

The best way to do this is to schedule a meeting with your employer and explain to them your concerns. Be polite, but be direct. Explain the importance of your mental health and that you need time to be able to detach from your work.

Once this has been done, you will also need to check in with yourself. Try to acknowledge that you can sometimes take in more work than you should. As such, reassess your priorities and make a deliberate effort to change any necessary behaviors and habits.

Want to know more?

It’s time to redefine how the world works. So, perhaps it’s time to make every employee’s dream come true by slowly transitioning to a four-day workweek? In fact, companies that adopt a four-day workweek will see benefits for both their company and their employees and even the environment.

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba is a journalist graduate and writer, specializing in health, beauty, and wellness. She also has a passion for poetry, equality, and natural hair. Identifiable by either her large afro or colorful locks, Pie aspires to provide the latest information on how one can adopt a healthy lifestyle and leave a more equitable society behind.

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