What Stress Can Really Do To You: The Ugly Truth About Work and Stress

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13.5 hours a day X 6 days a week = 81 hours a week

It’s Thursday night and it’s the first time – in six days – that I felt a sigh of relief. However, the feeling of relief doesn’t seem to last, there’s always that awkward sense of anticipation that – in just less than 24 hours – I’ll be dragging – literally dragging – myself to work again. It’s a busy life. Of bosses, tables, desks, coffees, teas, sky high pending items – sigh – the miserable sound of reprimand, warning letters, salary deductions, screaming bosses that scare everyone shitless. I’ve been working my butt since 7:30 in the morning – with no breaks, seriously – until who-knows-what-the-time all the managers will be out – 9:00 in the evening on the average, sometimes 10:00. Just to think about it, I work approximately 13 and a half to 14 hours a day – for six days a week.  Join me in this article as I rant and rave about work, time, stress, and what harm can it seriously do to you, your body, your psyche and your sanity.

13.5 hours a day X 6 days a week = 81 hours a week. Sheez, 81 hours a week is way, way more than the standard, as well as recommended, number of hours that an employee can work in a week. The standard number of hours per week, according to labor law in the country where I’m residing, is 48 hours a week. Now, that’ll give me a deficit of 33 hours in a week. Moreover, standard working hours has long been discussed, implemented, and practiced by the International Labour Organization. In the House of Work (Industry) Convention of 1919 (No. 1) it has been stated in the preamble that working hours should be a standard 8 hours a day or 48 hours a week.

“Having decided upon the adoption of certain proposals with regard to the ‘application of the principle of the 8 hours day or of the 48 hours week’, which is the first item in the agenda for the Washington meeting of the Conference.” – House of Work (Industry) Convention of 1919 (No. 1)

Going back, in my hell-place, er, workplace, I work an average of 13.5 hours a day, that’ll leave me with 10.5 hours for everything else in my life per day. Sleep is hardly a priority – with all the other matters in life. I also realized that work is not the entirety of life, there’s so much more, however there’s always that compelling feeling that we should be working for a miserable thing called money. Moreover, there’s also the feeling that you work your butt hard to make others richer – all the time compromising your right to be happy. Are you happy in the workplace? According to an article posted in Forbes, unhappy employees outnumber happy ones by two to one worldwide.

“87% of workers worldwide who, as Gallup puts it, ‘are emotionally disconnected from their workplace and less likely to be productive.’ In other words, work is more often a source of frustration than one of fulfillment for nearly 90% of the world’s workers.” – Forbes

Now, will unhappiness make you sick? Sick and tired, of course. However, the body has a normal response system for stress: the fight or flight response. Mild anxiety is normal to get someone going every day. However, too much of it is disastrous. The body compensates stress by producing epinephrine (adrenaline) and glucocorticoids (cortisol). The mentioned hormones increases the body’s cardiovascular capacity, decrease immune system function, and all in all increase the ability to mobilize energy. However, chronic stress is a bit deadlier than we usually think. According to Psychology Today, chronic stress can be a source of cardiovascular and immune system problems.

“And there’s chronic stress. Exposure to adrenaline and cortisol on a chronic basis can have disastrous effects on the body and brain. It is thought to contribute to the pathology of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, the spreading of cancer, immune system problems, and type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Chronic stress is of course also thought to cause, in part, many anxiety disorders and depressive disorders.” – Psychology Today

So if I continue working in my company, if that’s the case, I’ll be expecting my first mini-stroke on or before I turn 30 years old. If my endocrine system fails, I’ll be spending some of my salary on insulin – or worst, spend the entirety of it on hemodialysis for kidney failure. Hypothetically speaking – a little exaggerated and yes, hypothetical. Frequent candy bars for quick energy boost is also an unhealthy meal. Having no proper breaks for proper meals would also compromise diet and nutrition. All in all, should I expect to be dead if I continue to work in the company I am with right now? It doesn’t seem to have sense that workers are overworked for someone else’s benefit, to have someone else take a bigger piece of the pie. LOL. Anyway, life is like that at times, we can always just rant and rave in the internet. No big deal.

In terms of sleep, nutrition, rest and relaxation, there are always ground rules IF you do love your body. According to the Mayo Clinic, the standard number of sleep, for adults, should be 7 to 8 hours a day. To add, it’s not just closing your eyes and pretending you’ve went to dreamland. Quality sleep would mean uninterrupted sleep. Sleep. REM sleep.

“Research shows that people who sleep so little over many nights don’t perform as well on complex mental tasks as do people who get closer to seven hours of sleep a night. Studies among adults also show that getting less or much more than seven hours of sleep a night is associated with a higher mortality rate.” – The Mayo Clinic

Moreover, according to Forbes, sleep loss quadruples the risk of stroke and sabotages the immune system. Now, going back to my unfortunate dilemma, continued working in my company would pose me at risk for cardiac disease, immune system compromise, and endocrine problems. Thus here comes the question: is working in my company really worth it? I really do sound selfish, but hey, sorry for that, you can always click the little ‘x’ on the top right side of the screen. Anyway, it ends here.

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