Painful Cost of Working Yourself to Death

We all know the harmful effects of overwork. People get tired and irritable. Without enough hours in the day to do everything that needs to be done -- much less the things we want to do -- life is stressful and unpleasant. Exhaustion and stress can and do lead to illness and lowered resistance to disease. People feel cheated and abused, and they get angry. All too often, the anger is expressed in an aggressive, violent or self-destructive way.

Highly linear forms of behaviour ? too much eating, too little sleep, too much hostility, too little physical activity, too little sleep, too much continuous stress ? lead to higher incidence of illness and even death.

Tired and stressed workers will do nothing to improve productivity and economic growth. WORKING long hours is damaging families and the health of employees.

All this takes its inevitable toll on personal relationships. Families break up at an increasing rate, friendships are strained, and the pain is compounded by the guilt and anxiety felt over failed relationships.

The average American today spends 1,949 hours at his or her job. This is 163 hours more than in 1969 -- 163 hours equals nearly a whole month of added work in a year.

Naturally, more work time means less leisure time. A recent survey indicated an average of only 16 to 17 hours per week of leisure time after job and household responsibilities. The leisure time people do have often can't be fully taken advantage of because they're too tired for the activities they'd otherwise choose to do. Many of us don't have the energy for much more than flopping down in front of the TV.

It is common for the American worker to be compared to a long distance runner. The symptoms show up like an athlete who has over trained, by pushing themselves relentlessly with very limited recovery.

The biggest problem in American business today is the feeling that nothing is ever finished. There is no satisfaction to be derived from a job well done because there is always another demand to be met. We're all running on the endless treadmill. As adults we must realize the need for rest and recovery.

As best selling authors, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz demonstrate in their groundbreaking book, Power of Full Engagement, managing energy, not time, is the key to enduring high performance as well as to health, happiness and life balance.

They stress that we are wired up, but we are melting down. It is not the intensity of energy expenditure that produces burnout, impaired performance and physical breakdown, but rather the duration of expenditure without recovery.

At a very young age when children should be playing, they are taught that to get anywhere in life or to be somebody, one must get a job and work really hard. Most of us can remember a family member or perhaps someone we looked up to and valued their input, telling us those very same words.

It is difficult as adults to continually keep fighting the internal battles in our minds that say, you need to stop and relax while the other side keeps you charging forward into working harder and longer to be successful and pay your bills.

Play is extremely important for humans from birth to death. Play is not meant to be just for children. It is a form of release and enables your body and mind to restore and engage in recovery time.

Play is a state of mind, but it is also a state of body, emotion, and spirit. is something you do (playing games, swinging, playing "tag", playing with dolls), but it is also something you watch others do, and gain pleasure from simply watching.

It is often described as a time when we feel most alive, yet it is something we take for granted and may forget to do. It can be entirely positive, or can be dramatic (such as acting out a thrilling or suspenseful activity). Play can be used in many ways to not only stimulate creativity but as a way to transform negative emotions. We are hardwired as adults to engage in play, and it is crucial to our vitality to spend time with play each day.

The wonderful thing about playing is that everyone is successful at it. Don't use playtime to test or stretch your workday. It is a time to feel good about yourself and each other--and to just have fun together. Perhaps, most important of all, play is fun. Years later, when we recall our life, it is the happy times spent playing with special people that we remember most fondly. Stop working so hard. Play some today and everyday.

Marianne St. Clair creates energy. Her creativity and vital messages have thrilled audiences for years. Corporations and organizations nationwide seek her out to motivate and energize their employees on such topics as creativity, communication, passion and fun.

Marianne fuses her knowledge of creativity, wellness and her experience with coaching clients in both the corporate world as well as individuals to create presentations that make a difference. Marianne makes audiences laugh, but she also makes them think. Participants discover for themselves how to apply her messages to become better people and better employees.

Email:[email protected]

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