When leading a busy life, it can be easy to let our health slip into the background. All too often people take their health for granted, pushing themselves more and more until their body gets to breaking point and it’s too late to do something.

In high-stress work environments, it’s especially important to prioritise your health. Burn-out, both physically and mentally, is a real concern, and the cost of neglecting your health is high. In this article, we’ll give you a few tips on how to keep your health a priority while still maintaining good productivity in high-stress, intense work environments.

Find What You Enjoy

Not everybody can afford to work in a job or career field that they love and enjoy. Every job has its hard days and aspects. Finding and emphasising the parts of your work that you truly enjoy will make you feel better mentally about getting up each morning and heading into work. Working on the tasks you enjoy may involve taking on a bit extra work, but if it’s the work you enjoy it can help to offset the bad. The extra effort can also pay off when it comes time to progressing your career, demonstrating you have skills and experience in the areas you enjoy, allowing you to push for new jobs in that area.

Socialise Over Sport

Physically wellbeing is important, but mental health is just as important, only generally more neglected. Mental wellbeing is harder to gauge, which means that there isn’t the same feedback loop that going for a run in a faster time might give. That doesn’t mean it isn’t making a difference, though.

Socialisation is a great way to improve your mental health and help you to feel relaxed and invigorated. Next time you are considering going on a run or cycle after work, instead think about meeting up with a friend instead. It’s easy to fit in some extra exercise time, since it’s generally a solitary activity, whereas socialisation is harder to plan so make it a priority.

Fix Your Posture

We all remember being told as a child to sit up straight, and the importance for good posture; few of us paid much attention, disregarding it as just one of the hundreds of things adults moaned about, with stark warnings of our regret as we grew up. The reality is that childhood warnings were right; good posture is critically important to our wellbeing, and it’s never too late to start fixing the problems developed over the years. Correcting your posture will help with a variety of back and neck related problems, making you feel better overall in and out of the office.

“Particularly with COVID-19 we are seeing greater numbers of people coming into our clinic reporting lower back and neck pain while sitting at their home work-station. Over a standard 9-5 working day, you could be sitting for greater than 7 hours 5 days per week. If the position isn’t ideal and your posture is poor you will be loading different parts of your back and neck in a manner that the tissue isn’t designed to be able to tolerate well. At best this leads to discomfort and reduced productivity, at worst injury and excessive wear on the joints of the back and neck.” Aaron Babb, Director of Aevum Health.

Reward Yourself

Rewarding yourself with a well-earned rest, some relaxation, time to unwind and enjoy yourself, is a must if you are in an intense and high-stress job. Finding the right reward for your efforts requires some careful thought, though. It can be tempting to reach for the chocolate and wine after getting home for a long day, and while that can be a good reward occasionally, it’s not great for your health regularly. Try to find rewards that can both make you feel good, but won’t cause their own problems further down the line; a relaxing night, with a hot bath, candles, and a good book can be an excellent way to reward yourself without spending any money.

Sit Down to Eat

When you have an intense job, it can be easy to let time get away from you. Often one of the first casualties of an intense and busy schedule is meal time. It is all too easy to grab a quick snack while sitting at your desk, working through breakfast, lunch, or dinner in an effort to get an extra 15 minutes of work done. But not taking the proper time to eat a meal can have long-term negative effects on your health; digestion, food choices, and mental health all suffer when you make eating a lower priority than working.

The time you spend eating, however small, is also a good opportunity to unwind and destress, allowing you to get back into work with greater focus and productivity, more often than not saving you time in the long-run.

Making your health a priority will require some adjustments to the way you live and work. It’s not easy to take a step back and acknowledge that you and your body need a break from time-to-time, but it’s something that needs to be done. The healthier you are, physically and mentally, the better you will feel and the more productive you will ultimately be, benefitting both your personal and professional lives.