Today, countless cupids will honor their Valentine with candy hearts, flowers and heart-shaped jewelry. But I encourage you to mark this day by considering your own heart, and how work is affecting your health.
Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” This is wise advice, and during American Heart Month, it’s especially important to recognize that work stress affects much more than your next performance review.
Recent research provides strong evidence that work stress is linked to the onset of heart disease. Chronic stress also can lead to other health problems, including type 2 diabetes.
Take action to reduce stress at the office for you and your team, including:
Create a balanced schedule. Too much of anything isn’t healthy, so find balance between work and family life, social activities and solitary pursuits, to avoid exhaustion.
Plan regular breaks. Make sure to take short breaks throughout the day to sit back and clear your mind. Stepping away to briefly relax will help you be more productive.
Prioritize tasks. Make a list of tasks you have to do, and tackle them in order of importance. If you have something particularly unpleasant to do, get it over with early. The rest of your day will be more pleasant as a result.
Break projects into small steps. If a large project seems overwhelming, make a step-by-step plan. Focus on one manageable item at a time, rather than taking on everything at once.
With cardiovascular disease holding fast as American’s No. 1 cause of death, heart health should be one of your top priorities. Implementing simple steps to better enjoy your job can have life-long benefits, and the Valentines in your life will thank you for it.