Most of us don’t have the job of our dreams, but could your job actually be killing you?Here’s four ways to tell if your job is affecting your health.

Do you have a fantastic job with reasonable hours, ample salary and a friendly, understanding boss? If so this article may not be for you—but the rest of us often find ourselves wishing we could get out. You may not realize, however, that a bad work situation can do more than just give you the office space blues; it can also affect your health. Is your job shortening your life?

Here’s Four Ways to Tell If Your Job is Affecting Your Health :

1. Stress seems unmanageable. You don’t remember the last time you weren’t stressed. Every job has its moments of stress and this isn’t always a bad thing. But work stress should ideally be contained at the office, not follow you home—and it shouldn’t be a constant. Stress has a huge effect on health which can contribute to weight gain, depression, anxiety and a lowered immune system. A challenging job with occasional stress can be meaningful, but a stress mill is bad for you.

Get Fit at Work in Five Minutes!

2. You don’t seem to sleep as well.  You sleep less than 8 hours a night. Lack of sleep is one of the biggest factors in your day to day health. People who get adequate sleep get sick less often, are more alert and creative, and enjoy their lives more. The old “eight hours a night” rule isn’t true for everyone, but it’s a good starting point.  Do you routinely sleep less hours than that? Do you have a hard time getting up? How much of this is because of your work schedule?

3. Your immune system is vulnerable. You get sick more often than you used to. Sometimes the clearest indicator of health is also the simplest: how often do you get sick? Most people will get a cold or flu once or twice a year, but your body should be able to fight it off and get you back on track in four to six days. Do your colds drag on for weeks? Do you get them more often? And how often do you rely on cold medicine or pain relief to get through a work day? If you’re sick all the time, it’s a sign that your job may be wearing you down.

4. Other unhealthy habits have increased. All too often, we cope with a stressful or unhappy work situation by developing other unhealthy habits. Think about your typical work week: do you drink more than you used to? Do you eat more sweets? Have you started smoking or smoke more than you used to? These are dangerous habits than can feel like they help us manage work stress but actually cause more health damage than the stress itself.

While most people can’t just walk away from a bad job, you can take steps to reduce your stress and balance your work with a healthy lifestyle. Small changes in diet, how often you exercise, and even how you decompress can go a long way in keeping you healthy.

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