Are you overworking? Here are the 6 signs you should lookout for.

NewsMarch 24, 2022 10:17


Are you working too much at the expense of your health?

Remote working has blurred the line between work and home, and with the rise of omicron cases, uninfected employees would have to cover for their colleagues who tested positive for Covid-19. According to Channel News Asia, family doctors have also noted an increase in patients who reported burning out, such as poor sleep quality, fatigue, low mood, heightened irritability, and feeling emotionally drained. According to a paper published by World Health Organisation and the International Labour Organisation in 2021, 75 per cent of a million people globally die from heart diseases and stroke due to overworking (more than 55 hours per week). Even if employees could go on leave, it is only a temporary measure as the root cause of overworking is still not being addressed. Working excessively is akin to getting a car to run on limited petrol–the body is forced to perform at an unsustainable high level which stresses the body and results in a plethora of health issues.


Signs of overworking

  1. Poor sleep quality or having issues falling asleep: The lack of proper sleep (7 hours minimum per night) increases the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol levels or high BMI. It is advisable to set routines to separate work from home so that you can switch off and rest properly for the day. E.g. having separate devices for work and personal use.

  2. Unhealthy Drinking issues: Overworked Individuals may turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism. The research found that working more than 40 hours a week can make one more likely to turn to “risky amounts of alcohol”, equivalent to more than 14 drinks and 21 drinks for women and men per week. Avoid keeping alcohol at home, and if you must, sip it slowly with water, juice or soda to dilute it further.

  3. Heart and Brain issues: Stress hormones are detrimental to the heart and brain. Those rocking 55 hours or longer per week were 23 per cent more likely to develop coronary heart disease, with the risk of stroke increased by 33 per cent. Aerobic exercises elevate the heart rate to active endorphins and reduce cortisol levels. Even taking a walk around your neighbourhood could do a lot of good to your heart and brain.

  4. Compromised immune system: High cortisol levels can weaken your immune system and lower your ability to fight against infections. Take microbreaks with the 20/20/20 rule. E.g. For for every 20 mins of screen time, look at something 20 feet (6 m) away for 20 seconds.

  5. Irritable gastrointestinal system: It is important not to miss meals or have irregular mealtimes as these poor habits could worsen gastrointestinal conditions and lead to nausea, bloating and heartburn. Do schedule a time and place to eat.

  6. Tense muscles: Chronic stress from overworking leads to taut and tense muscles and aches in the shoulder, neck and back. Tension-type headaches may also develop as well. Check your posture while working and try to move around during the day instead of remaining in the same position throughout.


How many of the above symptoms are you experiencing? How can you manage work-life balance better to improve your health?