News

You don't have to sacrifice your life to make a living

BY FITZ-GEORGE
RATTARY

Sunday, December 16, 2018

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Your 40-hour workweek is tasking on your mind, emotions, and wellness. All major studies predict that 15 hours to 32 hours (four-day workweek) per week would increase work efficiency and accuracy, and individual's mental and physical health. Countries such as Germany work an average of 400 hours a year; less than we do in the Caribbean and the Americas, yet and they are more productive and healthier.

Sadly, we are stuck with a 40-hour-plus workweek, so how can we avoid all the mental, social and health issues which will very likely afflict us during our careers, and/or in our hard-earned retirement years?

THREAT

Stress, the killer:

INDICATORS

• Heart conditions

• Monday morning blues

• Weekends mean a lot to you

• Concentration issues

• Sleep problems, including insomnia

• Junk and comfort food eating

• Anger

• Relationship problems

• Depression

• Sexual difficulty

SOLUTIONS

Exercise: Increase your daily movement, exercise is proven to reduce the effects of stress. Even a well-designed eight minutes per day-four days per week workout is a great start.

Take up and maintain a hobby: Hobbies have been shown to negate stressors and add quality of life. They can be invaluable, and may even add to your exercise goals. Don't overthink it. Start off easy; there are many possibilities, such as a sport, game, reading, workouts, photography, art, collecting, listening to or playing music, learning a language, skeet, arrow or range shooting, darts, video games, driving, dancing, drama, yoga, local tourism, fishing, gardening, knitting, hiking, biking, e-biking, blogging, teaching a fitness class, meditating, board/card games, tinkering, mentoring, and starting a collection.

Take it day by day: We all have limited mental capacity, don't think of your tasks as a whole. Plan out the stages, then step back from the big picture and then take it one day at a time, day by day.

Literally throw the off switch: Know when to shut down, turn off your devices, put them on privacy, learn how to do this and have a cut-off point in your night.

Sleep: There is no substitute for sleep. If you believe you can perform fully with less than six hours of sleep per day you are deluding yourself. Even if you try to “catch up” on your hours, consistent daily sleep hours are a cornerstone of mental and physical wellness.

Be aware of your health: Simply put, be aware of what your body is telling you. If you don't feel quite right, check with your medical practitioner. If it's nothing, then great! If it is early detection it can be everything — better safe than sorry.

Positive self-talk: There is a part of your mind which feeds on stress and pushes it back on you. Be it through religion, relaxation and affirmation, or whatever your tool of choice consciously, actively and verbally reassure yourself of your strengths and your ability to handle everything.

THREAT

Exhaustion and/or overwork

INDICATORS

• Weekends mean a lot to you

• Sleep problems, including insomnia

• Weight gain

• Headaches all the time

• Checking phone or email in bed

SOLUTIONS

Exercise: Again, priceless, every bone in your body will fight this, but just do it, you will be rewarded with energy. Remember don't overdo it.

Literally throw the off switch: A regular bedtime helps to take advantage of your circadian rhythm.

Sleep: Avoid stimulants to attempt to get more hours out of your day, a bunch of vitamins, coffee, herbs and energy drinks cannot and will never truly be a substitute for a good night's sleep.

Manage all your time: There are tools and apps available to help you manage your eating time, exercise time, family time and more, so give them a try, don't just think about it.

Say yes to release and no to pressure: Say yes to healthy, social, active pleasant occasions and people. Avoid people and things which do not value your time and energies or help to strengthen you.

THREAT

Poor nutrition

INDICATORS

• Weight gain

• Co-Workers eating habits

• Stomach disorders (in time, some may even require surgery)

• Junk and comfort food eating

• Eating at your desk

• Alcohol/drug use

SOLUTIONS

Education: Educate yourself about what you put in your body and what it does for you. Don't just blindly and foolishly follow advertisements, signs, habits and people. This can be a matter of life and death, pleasure or pain, strength and mobility, or being crippled for life.

Planning: Take the time to plan, even prepare and package. This is a fool-proof path to a healthy life. If you can't for any reason identify healthy food sources in your environment, plan and prepare from home and work, and stick to those.

Awareness: be aware of what makes you want to eat and what it makes you feel for. Boredom, stress, anxiety, depression and frustration will drive you to processed, sugary, flowery, damaging foods. Stay away from dumb, very short-term responses to temporary problems which can easily result in lifelong damage and suffering.

THREAT

Poor work ergonomics and inactivity

INDICATORS

• Hours spent sitting

• Lack of sunlight adding to weight gain and depression

• Physical weakness

• Decreased muscle tone

• Nerve pains

• Knee pains

• Neck pains

• Back pains

• Carpal tunnel syndrome

SOLUTION

Proper alignment: Ensure that your workstation provides you with the proper spinal and neck alignment, for example, your lumbar region should be supported, and your monitor should be eye level. Do the research it is worth it.

Exercise, move and stretch: It is well accepted that sitting for more than 20-30 minutes at a time will negatively impact your health, so, as often as possible, stand up, stretch a little, rotate your neck and shoulders, walk to a window and look to a distance. There are apps to remind you to stand up throughout the workday.

Give yourself a fighting chance at a healthy life. After all, what are you really working for if not your life?

Adopt these solutions in your life, especially if you identify even one indicator. You do not have to see work and life as divisible elements that you have to be constantly balancing. Learn to incorporate your peace of mind and wellness into all of your life, wherever you are.

Fitz-George Rattray is the director of Intekai Academy, which is focused on helping people live a healthy lifestyle through nutrition and weight management. If you are interested in losing weight or living a healthier lifestyle, give them a call at 968-8238, or visit their website at intekaiacademy.org.

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