Is your work life making you age prematurely?

Early mornings, late nights, overtime, public transport, congestion. It’s exhausting just to think about, much less living it every day of the work week. Could our jobs be making us age prematurely? And if so, how can we put a stop it?

Woman stressed about work

Well, aside from quitting our jobs and relocating to a sea- or country-side location, there are steps we can make to ensure our work-lives aren’t doing more harm than good. Here are some signs that your job might be making your age prematurely, and how you make a stop to it.

Stress

Not only can stress have an impact on your health and lifestyle, it can also make you age prematurely. With stress comes anxiety, worry along with stressed out faces and deep frown lines. Stress can lead to many health problems too and this can lead to visual signs of premature ageing including increased lines and wrinkles on the face and in extreme cases, thinning and loss of hair.

What can you do? Be aware of your stress levels, when you feel your anxiety levels are high, step outside for some fresh air and breathe deeply. Be aware of your facial expression to avoid the deep lines and wrinkles. Some anti-stress and anti-ageing techniques include yoga and meditation, exercise and breathing exercises.

Time out. Take five: Easy ways to de-stress any time of the day >>

Lack of sleep

You have a big deadline coming up at the end of the week and are prepared to pull all-nighters all week to get things done. This might be great for your career, but terrible for your health. An article published by the BBC about a sleep deprivation revealed that not only can sleep deprivation impact the ageing process, but it may also impact on the severity of age-related chronic disorders including heart disease and diabetes. According to a study featured in the report, the number of hours people sleep has been decreased from nine hours to seven-and-a-half hours in the developed world, in part because we have had to accommodate to increased working demands. According to the BBC article, a team from the US Department of Medicine in Chicago, investigated whether sleep deprivation can alter metabolic and hormonal functions as well as brain function. “We found that the metabolic and endocrine hormonal changes resulting from a signficant sleep debt mimic many of the hallmarks of ageing,” said leader of the study Professor Eve Van Cauter.”We suspect that chronic sleep loss may not only hasten the onset, but could also increase the severity of age-related ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity and memory loss.”

What can you do? Make sure you get a minimum of 8 hours sleep. Get plenty of rest so you can work efficiently during the day and don’t have to put in the extra hours at night. And exercise regularly so by the time the end of the day rolls around, you’re ready for a good night’s rest.

Cigarette smoke

Whether you are a smoker or are just surrounded by smoke during work, it can have a damaging effect on health and appearance. It can cause skin to wrinkle and age prematurely and increase dryness and wrinkles. According to researchers, smoking or being exposed to second-hand smoke, can be as damaging for your skin as the sun’s rays.

What you can do? If you’re a smoker yourself then seek support and help so you can quit smoking. Or if you are exposed to second-hand smoke, make a conscious effort to stay away from smokers during lunch and coffee breaks.

Be a quitter: How to quit smoking >>

Food

Are you too busy to have a lunch break, do you stop for fast food on the way home from work because you’re too tired to cook yourself a meal at the end of the day? Eating meals which are high in trans fats, sugars and salts not only make you age prematurely, they’re going to make you feel old too.

What you can do? Plan your week ahead and know exactly what you’re going to prepare during the week. Have plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables stocked in the fridge from the beginning of the week so you are not tempted to snack on unhealthy foods. And make food in bulk and store it in the freezer so you have a quick and easy lunch to take to work.

More on maintaining a healthy work-life balance

Working mums guide: Make time for your kids
Stay Healthy at work
A beginner’s guide to meditation

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