Not good for sleep: Stress

Stress and especially stress related to work is one of the key reasons for poor sleep. There’s nothing wrong loving work, in fact I think that working is healthy and rewarding but thinking about emails in the wee hours is the antithesis of healthy working. Work, at its best, provides routines that make evenings feel like evenings, weekends feel like weekends and holidays feel like holidays. It’s nearly nice to hate Mondays because that means that we can love Fridays. But when does work become toxic and disturb our wellbeing and sleeping?

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Hmmm…some evidence of spending a wee bit too many hours by the desk…

I have made a revealing observation recently related to my neck, back and head pains. I am pretty desk-bound most of my days and used to think that I need to detox myself from the desk for a bit more pain relief. In short: I thought it’s all about hours and time tied to my desk. However, it now seems that the hours are a less relevant factor in here. My stress level is a way bigger indicator. When I am stressed out,  I seem to tense my body without my knowing. My shoulders creep higher and higher and my whole body feels tense, not least the lower and upper parts of my body. When I feel relaxed, I seem to be able to work countless hours at my desk…

Researchers from Norway and the UK developed a tool to gauge if we are addicted to work. The Bergen Work Addiction Scale is based diagnostic criteria that are recognised for several addictions. Look at each of the following statements and rank yourself on each one according to the following:

1=never, 2=rarely, 3=sometimes, 4=often, 5=always.

1.      You think of how you can free up more time to work.

Me: I am a very optimistic person and always find my ways to execute my to-do list of 17 urgent actions. Score: 4

2.      You spend much more time working than initially intended.

Me: I do rigorous planning these days but slip into bad habits once a while. Score: 3

3.      You work in order to reduce feelings of guilt, anxiety, helplessness and depression.

Me: Do I need to say anything more. *Sigh*. Reading this loud just embarrasses me. Score: 4.

4.      You have been told by others to cut down on work without listening to them.

Me: I have stopped counting. Score: 4.

5.      You become stressed if you are prohibited from working.

Me: Strangely not – I love get limits when I am incapable of putting them to myself. Score: 2

6.      You prioritise work over hobbies and exercise.

Me: Old-me did, new-me is trying hard not. Not so successful every day. Score: 2.

7.      You work so much it has negatively influenced your health.

Me: True. Poor sleep, migrene and back and neck pains have been pretty normal. But the ship has changed its course, finally. Score: 3.

Summary: if you score 4 (=often) or 5 (=always) on 4 or more of these statements it may suggest you are a workaholic.

My scores are verging, however I am not that concerned any more as I feel I am more aware of my bad working habits and consciously trying to work in a healthier, more balanced way. I also work hard to prioritize vital elements like exercise and me-moments. But bad habits have deep roots so I need to make conscious choices daily and try to keep my spirit relaxed and easy-going.

Now – over to you! If you feel needing help with this issue, please seek help at www.actiononaddiction.org.uk

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