With all the media reports recently on the terrible health dangers of going to work, such as the Sydney Morning Herald, you’d think working would be the worst thing we could ever do for our health and wellness.
But it’s not. Working can be great for our health and wellness. And there’s plenty of research to prove that.
It all depends on how you look at it. So here’s a little rant in praise of work:
1. Work can be wonderfully empowering and affirming
We tend to dwell on those stressful time when we had the boss from hell. But what about all those other times, when we gained great personal satisfaction from a job well done? When your team achieved a seemingly impossible goal? When you got that job or promotion you so desperately wanted?
When someone important said a simple, “Thanks, well done”.
2. Work can help us establish healthy behaviours
The focus is too often on the temptations of unhealthy behaviours at work – the celebratory cakes, the after work drinks, the lack of opportunity to exercise.
In fact, the structure and routine of work can just as easily help you cement healthy behaviours. Lunchtime is healthy (it’s up to you what you eat, but overall the act of eating lunch is good for your health). Walking to and from work/ public transport/ the car park is healthy. Being inspired by other colleagues aiming to get healthy is a priceless contribution to good health.
3. Work relationships are great for wellbeing
The famous Nurses Study found that people (in the study’s case, women) with close relationships are healthier than those with few friends. Yes, there will always be that person who drives you crazy, but there are also people who support you through the tough times, and enrich your life in many ways.
4. Even commuting can be good for you
There’s heaps of research on how bad commuting is for your health. But again, there is potential to make it work for you. Commuting, especially on public transport, can often give us precious downtime – time to reflect or simple daydream. Yes, it’s stressful when the train is late again, or the traffic is at standstill, but it’s your decision whether to react to that with stress, or use it to your advantage.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below.