The Physical and Emotional Dangers of Working Too Hard

Image: Public Domain, Pixabay
Image: Public Domain, Pixabay

I may work from home, but I know the dangers of working too hard all too well. If you work too hard, and don’t take enough breaks, you can cause yourself physical and mental damage. Read this article and see why working too hard can be bad for your health.

I know very well what it’s like to work yourself too hard for too long. I’ve always been a workaholic, but now I’m taking steps to try to change that. I discovered, with the help of friends and family, that I was simply working myself into the ground and it was taking a toll on my health. I’m learning now how important it is to take breaks and take days off. All work and no play doesn’t just make you dull, it can actually make you quite sick.

No matter what job I’ve ever had, I always had a habit of doing more than what was expected of me. I guess it’s just the kind of person I am. Later in life when I was unable to have a regular job and started working from home, I kept up my workaholic tendencies. I would often put in 12 or 14 hour days, only stopping long enough to eat. It’s a good thing my husband kept an eye on me, because sometimes I didn’t even want to stop to eat. I think I actually worked longer and harder when I started working for myself than I ever did when I had an outside job. Probably because I didn’t have a boss to tell me I was doing too much or tell me it was time to go home.

As time went on, it seemed that my productivity was slipping and I just wasn’t getting enough done. Workaholic that I am, I figured I needed to do even more than I was already doing. I was tired, my brain wasn’t working the way i wanted it to, but I kept trying to do more. People kept telling me that I needed to take a break and give it a rest, but I couldn’t believe that I had time to do such a thing. Finally someone sat me down and explained what was really going on. I was working so hard that I was running myself into the ground. I may have been doing a lot of work, but my quality was suffering because I was so physically and mentally drained.

People started explaining to me that it was more important to work smart than to work hard. I could bust my hump all day and all night, but the work I would produce wouldn’t be worth the time I put into it. They said that if I worked fewer hours and took some time to rest and relax the quality of my work would drastically improve. At the time their idea seemed very counterproductive. However, they wouldn’t take no for an answer and they forced me to start taking breaks and working shorter hours.

My husband made me promise to stay away from the computer for two days. I thought I’d go crazy, it seemed like an eternity. He said I was to relax, watch TV, play games, and in general just not think about work. At first it was enough to drive me crazy. I kept thinking about all the things that needed to get done, and how they weren’t going to get done without me. I argued and fought for a while, but eventually I just gave in.

I spent the rest of that day and into the next day lounging, relaxing, and even sleeping in late. As my mind and body finally had time to relax, I started to realize the error of my workaholic ways. It was sort of like a light bulb going off, you know, the way it does in a cartoon. I suddenly started to see how sloppy my work had been, and how scattered my efforts were. I was trying to do so many things at once, that nothing really got the attention it deserved. My work was a mess, and I suddenly understood why I kept feeling like nothing was ever getting accomplished.

After that, I asked my husband to help me change my overworked ways. I asked him to help me make sure I took breaks, and no matter what it took, get me to stop working after I’d put in a reasonable amount of hours. After a few weeks, I was able to stop working on my own. Over time, I even learned to take entire days off and not do any work at all. The quality of my work and the amount I actually got accomplished started to rapidly increase.

As I’ve learned to take time off and work smarter rather than harder, I’ve noticed that not only did my work improve but my health did as well. Instead of working right up until bedtime, I was actually stopping several hours earlier. By doing this, I gave my mind time to shut down so it wasn’t running all night on thoughts of work. Since I was allowing my mind to wind down before bed I actually started sleeping better. The fact that I was sleeping better helped me to think more clearly the next day. Thinking more clearly helped me to find faster and more efficient ways to get things done. It also gave my mind time to wander and be creative.

As all of these things involving my mind and my sleep habits came together, I started to feel healthier all around. I didn’t feel nearly as stressed and wrung out anymore. I didn’t feel as drained and I wasn’t as snappy and crabby toward other people as I had been. I had been so stressed that I was actually losing my hair. Once I got used to working less and enjoying life more, it started to grow back.

I highly recommend that anyone, whether you’re working a regular job for working from home, remember to take some time off and enjoy your life. It’s not worth it to run yourself into the grave while the world just passes you by. Work smart, do your best, and remember that you need to take time to just relax. After all, what is all that working good for if you don’t take time to enjoy the fruits of your labor?


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