Studies are showing that working more than an eight-hour day can cause heart disease. The finding, from an 11-year study of 6,000 British civil servants, shows that long work hours cause stress. The risk of having an adverse event like a heart attack was 60 percent higher for those who worked three to four hours overtime daily. The higher incidence of heart problems among those working overtime was independent of a range of other risk factors including smoking, being overweight or having high cholesterol. Definitely the lifestyle of people working long hours deteriorated over time resulting in a poor diet, less exercise and/or increased alcohol consumption. Experts agree that  long hours may be associated with work-related stress, which interferes with metabolic processes, as well as "sickness presenteeism," whereby employees continue working when they are ill. The key to work-related stress is to deal with the stress. The person suffering from work-related stress can help themselves in a number of ways, including:
  • Think about the changes you need to make at work in order to reduce your stress levels and then take action. Some changes you can manage yourself, while others will need the cooperation of others.
  • Talk over your concerns with your employer or human resources manager.
  • Make sure you are well organized. List your tasks in order of priority. Schedule the most difficult tasks of each day for times when you are fresh, such as first thing in the morning.
  • Take care of yourself. Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
  • Consider the benefits of regular relaxation. Try meditation or yoga.
  • Make sure you have enough free time to yourself every week.
  • Don’t take out your stress on loved ones. Instead, tell them about your work problems and ask for their support and suggestions.
  • Drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco, won’t alleviate stress and can cause additional health problems. Avoid excessive drinking and smoking.
Yours in good health, Linda Hlivka Clinical Nutritionist