10 Signs Your Job Is Making You Sick
Having a highly stressful job can do more than just affect your overall mental well-being. It can also negatively impact your physical health. When you're overwhelmed and in fight or flight mode at work, your body has to pump out extra cortisol and adrenaline to help you cope. Unfortunately, being in that state for too long can result in a number of unpleasant physical symptoms and even lead to conditions like adrenal fatigue. Is your job making you sick? If you suspect it might be, watch out for these 10 signs and take our free career quiz to see if it might be time for a career change.
You Can't Sleep
Insomnia can be one of the many signs of stress. If you can't get your mind off work at night and are losing sleep over it, this can result in a whole host of other problems. Sleep deprivation affects your mood, motivation levels, blood pressure, sex drive and immune system.
You Sleep Too Much
Stress affects people in different ways, and it may not be causing you to lose sleep. Alternatively, it might be causing you to need more sleep to cope with your elevated adrenaline and cortisol levels. If you are going to bed at a decent hour but still struggling to get out of bed or find yourself needing to sleep in late on the weekends, your body may be telling you something.
You're Losing Weight
If you've suddenly lost interest in food, it could be due to fight or flight mode on the job. Too much stress can lead to weight loss, which can have negative consequences on your health. Consider whether or not a change in appetite could be due to too much time spent under pressure.
You're Gaining Weight
As your adrenaline and cortisol levels increase due to a challenging work environment, it's not uncommon to put on weight and find it more difficult to lose that weight. In particular, an increase in weight around your midsection is a red flag that your cortisol levels are too high due to stress.
You Feel Tired and Unmotivated
This is one of the top signs of adrenal fatigue. Being in high-stress mode for too long can zap your energy levels and make it more difficult to be productive and accomplish your goals in the long run. And, unfortunately, if you're less productive at work, you might start feeling even more pressure.
You Get Colds More Often
Stress weakens your immune system, making you more susceptible to the viruses that cross your path. Struggling with multiple colds or bouts of the flu every year when everyone around you seems to be able to fight them off can be a definite indicator that your job is too taxing and affecting your body's ability to fight off illness.
It Takes You Longer to Recover from Minor Illnesses
Can't seem to get rid of that cold? Colds that linger for weeks on end may mean you have a compromised immune system. Long hours or lack of sleep could be the reason your body can't shake an illness that would ordinarily resolve quickly.
You Exercise Less Often
Low energy levels and lack of motivation when you're not at work can make it difficult to coax yourself to the gym. Since regular exercise positively affects your mood and overall health, this side effect can add insult to injury in addition to things like sleep changes, appetite fluctuations and weight gain.
You're Withdrawing Socially
If you're unhappy at work, it can bleed into your personal life. You may be irritable or unable to stop thinking about work, or it may be harder to find the energy to make time for family and friends. And if you find yourself wanting to spend less time with family and friends because your job has you down, this can also have a negative impact on your overall health. We're social creatures by nature, and some medical experts believe social isolation leads to inflammation in the body and illness.
Your Doctor Expresses Concern
If your blood pressure or cholesterol levels have gone up or your doctor notices additional changes in your health that might be related to stress, you should take note and follow any medical advice they suggest in addition to finding ways to minimize and combat career-related stress.
7 Ways to Reset and Get Healthy
Is your job making you sick? There are fortunately some things you can do to take your health back into your own hands and reduce the overall stress you feel.
Try Out Relaxation Techniques Like Deep Breathing and Meditation
These have been proven to help people manage and keep stress under control, and they're easy to fit into your schedule, only taking a few minutes each day.
Seek Support at Home
Talk to your family members about the pressure you're feeling at work and ask for their support. And make changes in your daily schedule (if possible) to increase the amount of time you spend doing things you enjoy outside of work.
Ask for Help at Work
If you're doing more than your job position requires or picking up slack for your coworkers, you may want to talk with your colleagues or supervisor about ways they can help you reduce your workload or increase your productivity. If you have a good rapport with the people you work with and feel comfortable asking for their help, you might be able to lighten your load pretty dramatically.
Change Your Dietary and Exercise Habits
This can be difficult when you're in the throes of an overwhelming job, but taking some measures to eat better and exercise more can have enormous benefits on your health. Every little bit helps, and if you fall off the wagon, don't give up. Start fresh with the next meal or the next day.
Ask Yourself, “Should I Change Jobs?”
Signs your job is making you sick can also be signs you should quit your job and transition into a new career that provides you with better work–life balance. Are you in a profession that affects your outlook on life or makes you more pessimistic/concerned about the state of the world, such as law enforcement, social work or emergency medicine? These types of jobs can be particularly taxing, and you may need to make the tough decision about if a different kind of career might be a better fit for you.
Focus on What You Can and Can't Control in Your Current Situation
If you have decided, “I hate my job and want to quit,” start making changes, like researching potential new career options. You may not be able to immediately find a better, less stressful job, but setting goals for yourself as you begin the process of looking for one can be helpful. As mentioned, you also are generally in control of things like diet and exercise, so consider taking the reins and working to improve those areas of your life, if needed. You may not be able to control your work environment and culture or your relationship with your supervisor, so try to minimize worry about these factors until you can find a solution.
Know When to Get Professional Help
If you feel like you just can't get a handle on things, you may want to find a therapist or counselor to get you through this. They can help you talk things through and learn coping skills for work-related stresses. If your job is affecting your mental or physical health, it may be worth it to have a professional on your side.
When you hate your job, it can take a toll on your health. If you think your job is making you sick, it may be time to make a change in how you combat stress or even in your career. Take our free career quiz to find out if you ultimately should quit your job and put your current one behind you. Your health matters, and your career shouldn't negatively impact it. Is your job making you sick? If the answer's yes, there's probably a career out there that's much better for your health and overall well-being.