Labor Day was invented because workers felt that they were working too many long hours and had no time off. In fact, at that time in the 1830’s manufacturing workers were averaging over 70 hours per week. While this led to the 8-hour workday and 40-hour, 5-day work week, the reality is that stress from overworking is still a factor for many people. Overworking can lead to stress and inflammation. This, in turn can lead to many chronic diseases.
Stress increases the release of cortisol in your body and activates your fight or flight response. Normally, cortisol levels off as the trigger of the stress decreases. However, over work and chronic stress can lead to the chronic inflammation which can lead to diabetes, cancer, heart disease, Crohn’s Disease, autoimmune disease, and others.
While stress, called eustress, is a good kind of stress, distress from overworking that leads to mental exhaustion, physical fatigue, anxiety, or other physical or mental symptoms is not healthy. So, it is very important to take the time to consider how much you are working and how it may be contributing to your feeling distressed.
There are a variety of strategies to consider for balancing your workday or overall working life to reduce stress. The first step is to reflect on where you are at currently, how you feel about your current situation from a mind, body, spirit, relationship perspective. Using a stress scales may help you rate your stress. Other tools can help you evaluate where you are at with each aspect of your life. If you’re struggling with the next steps to take to feel better, a health coach can help you sort out your goals and ways to tackle your stress.
So, during this Labor Day, make a pact with yourself to take time to reflect and to start to take time each day to fill your cup up!