How Your Job Can Affect Your Long-Term Health

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How do you feel about your job? Do you like going to work every day? Work is an essential part of life for many because it pays the bills, puts food on the table and supports the lifestyle you want to live. A steady job has several benefits but can also have adverse effects.

Working at a place for a few months or 20 years can alter your physical and mental health. This article will outline the pros and cons of your job.

How Can a Job Benefit Your Health?

Working nine to five is a way to make a living. Nowadays, the way people perceive work has shifted dramatically. You could be in the office or working from home in the comfort of your living room. These three ways show how a job can benefit your physical and mental health.

1. Having a Purpose

Work doesn’t have to be your whole personality. In fact, that’s probably not good for your sanity. But a job gives you a sense of identity and a purpose in life. You have something to look forward to with every shift, as you’ll face exciting new challenges that will make you a better employee and advance your career.

Imagine you go to a dinner party or any setting where you’re meeting people for the first time. One of the first questions they’ll ask is what you do for a living. Your other interests and hobbies will come second, but your job is the first thing they’ll inquire about. You could temporarily work at a grocery store or be a 15-year veteran at your company. Either way, your job gives others a glimpse into who you are.

2. Accomplishing Goals

Another way your job can positively affect your health is by giving you goals to achieve. Humans thrive off direction and constantly having something to aim for is an excellent way to keep you motivated. Low-stress jobs can be fitting for some people, but others want a career that reasonably challenges them and improves their skills. Being the top salesperson or knocking a presentation out of the park makes you feel accomplished and boosts your self-esteem.

3. Getting Active

A job can present mental health benefits daily, like boosting your self-esteem and giving you a purpose. But it can also help your physical health. On your off days, are you as active as you are at work? You’re likely moving around when you’re on the job, whether in the office or on your commute.

If you want to be more active, try walking or biking instead of driving to work. Is there anything better than being outside when the sun is shining? Or, you could experiment with a standing desk while at work. Some people — especially those working at home — use a standing desk with a treadmill to get their steps in.

How Can a Job Harm Your Health?

Some people thoroughly enjoy going to work, whereas others find less joy. You’re barely getting by while your job uses your mind and never gives you credit. These three ways show how a job can negatively affect your long-term health.

1. Toxic Work Environment

You’ve probably encountered a toxic work environment at some point. You could be a teenager working in fast food or an adult in corporate America — all it takes is one person to ruin the experience.

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For many people, toxic work environments start at the top with their bosses. How supervisors treat their colleagues goes a long way. Employees who feel mistreated may consider looking elsewhere for their careers because they’re sick of higher-ups looking down on them.

Your workplace could also be toxic to your physical health. Offices or factories that don’t comply with safety standards leave their workers at risk for diseases. For example, say you work at a production plant. The building may expose you to chemicals that can lead to cancer, primarily if you work in the aluminum, leather or rubber industries.

2. Sitting Too Long

Sometimes, a job you like can still adversely affect your physical health. For example, you likely sit in a chair most of the day if you have a desk job. Sedentary jobs have become much more prominent since 1950, increasing by 83%. Physically demanding jobs now only account for 20% of all American jobs. Sitting for long periods can increase the risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

3. Feeling Unfulfilled

Jobs that you deem easy can fit your life needs. However, these positions can wear you out in the long run. They won’t harm you because they’re strenuous — actually, it’s the opposite. Sometimes, you can feel like you’re in a rut with a monotonous job. You may desire a position that gives you challenges and productive struggles to turn you into a better worker. At work, you should strive to feel engaged with what you do and find ways to keep climbing upward.

Caring for Yourself at Work

For most people, work is a necessary part of life. Waking up early or clocking in for the night shift might not be your first choice, but you have to roll with the punches sometimes. Wherever you work, be mindful of how your job affects your long-term health. Do you feel fulfilled at work? Does your employer positively affect your positive and mental health? These questions are essential to ask for your long-term sanity.

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