One of the most overlooked areas that determine success in the workplace is personal health. Often times, the professional world can become so demanding and competitive that health issues are taken for granted. According to John Weaver, owner of Psychology for Business, depression is the number one illness-related cost to business, closely followed by heart disease and stress.
A WebMD feature by Dulce Zamora reported, “In the U.S., where depression affects nearly one in 10 people, the estimated cost of this disability in missed work days, medical expenses and premature death is $43 billion per year, reports the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Combine that with stress-related problems, and the price tag for corporations can go up to $80 billion, says executive consultant John Weaver.”
Another cost to businesses is the inefficiency caused by lack of sleep and poor rest habits that can cause immeasurable damage to business and careers. By examining the problems of stress, depression and lack of sleep, career-minded individuals can take steps to save their health and their jobs.
[STRESS] According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness. The ADAA reports that among the most common symptoms are excessive worry, racing heart, dry mouth, fatigue and sleep problems. When at work these problems can manifest themselves in other ways that effect social interaction and professional performance.
Stress and anxiety can cause difficulty in basic office tasks and distract from duties. Many people suffering from stress related conditions report trouble focusing on assignments and overwhelming anxiety concerning the fear of failure. The effects of stress and anxiety can also lead to more eminent problems than just social and job-related difficulties. Stress has been linked to more serious health problems like high blood pressure, fatigue and even ulcers.
Dealing with stress and anxiety can be as simple as making basic changes in daily activities. Doctors suggest that when dealing with consistently stressful situations, it is important to balance time with exercise, plenty of sleep and simply taking time to relax. If you think that you are dealing with a serious anxiety disorder, check out www.ADAA.org for listing of mental heath professional in your area.
[DEPRESSION] For many people, the first couple years in the workforce can lead to more than anxiety and stress. The change of lifestyle and psychological pressure can often lead to depression. Depression effects up to 17 million Americans each year. Though women are twice as likely to develop depression than men, the risk involves people from all walks of life, but is most likely to first appear in people from the ages of 22-44.
The American Psychiatric Association says that some basic symptoms include restlessness, guilt, difficulty in thinking, concentrating and making decisions, and even changes in appetite and weight. People suffering from depression also may feel constantly tired, hopeless, helpless and overwhelmed by life.
Beyond the adverse effect on a person’s professional ambition, depression can be a very serious illness that overwhelms a person’s life. Unfortunately, depression often goes undiagnosed and can become more severe, though 80-90 percent of people that receive treatment significantly improve. According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression is one of the most treatable illnesses.
If you believe you are suffering from depression, you can go to www.psych.org for more information, or call the National Depression Screening Day’s Toll-Free Year-Round Depression Screening Line at 800-573-4433.
[SLEEP PROBLEMS] In a 2000 poll, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) found that sleepiness on the job effects one half of American employees and accounts for $18 billion in lack of productivity (not to mention it’s hard to wake up in the morning). Sacrificing a good night sleep can cost you alertness and concentration that is key in office responsibilities.
People who get more sleep are more likely to perform at higher levels of efficiency than those who do not. The NSF says that the average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Getting less can cause problems the next day, and even excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS).
Other than affecting concentration and focus, EDS can also be responsible for low self-esteem, frustration, and can cause negative responses to being misunderstood for being “lazy,” “unintelligent” or “disengaged.” EDS can also cause difficulty in relationships, both professional and personal. Most of the time, lack of sleep is the result of poor time management or unusual work patterns (like working a graveyard shift), but some people do suffer from genuine sleep disorders.
Suffering from morning headaches, memory difficulties, difficulty waking up and breathing problems during sleep can be the result of a more serious condition called sleep apnea. If you have questions concerning sleep problems, check out www.sleepfoundation.org for helpful information about disorders and treatment.
Succeeding professionally often involves more than just office ambition. Staying aware of potential health problems and healthy strategies can be the difference in not a just promotion, but a healthy life.[Jesse Carey is a journalism major at Oral Roberts University, but calls Virginia Beach, Va., home. He is also currently interning at RELEVANT.]
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