The seven worst habits of workaholics


You may be a model worker, but is your body suffering for it?

Face it-you have a lot on your plate. Between running your practice, tending to your family's needs, and trying to meet all of life's little demands, you're probably not left with much time to worry about your health.

But pushing yourself too hard can take a toll on both your business and your well-being. Here are the seven most destructive habits of workaholics, according to Dr. George Griffing, professor of internal medicine at Saint Louis University:

1. Forgetting to relax: While a little stress can keep you motivated, too much of it can cause your body to break down. Stress can cause cancer, heart disease, headaches, upset stomach, sleeping problems, muscle tension, weight gain or loss, high blood pressure, and chest pains. So take a deep breath, say a prayer, or use whatever strategy works best for you to ease stress.

2. Eating on the go: Your busy appointment schedule may have you rushing through the fast food drive-through or down your grocery store's frozen food aisles. But avoid those calorie- and fat-laden pitfalls and opt instead for a healthy, balanced meal of complex carbohydrates, protein, fruits, and vegetables.

3. Missing out on sleep: Skimping on sleep can cause irritability, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, and poor judgment, and has also been linked to obesity. Try limiting caffeine and alcohol consumption at night and developing a bedtime routine, such as light reading or a warm bath. If you get a midnight emergency call, turn in extra-early the next night.

4. Becoming a couch potato: Along with reducing the risk for almost every major disease, exercise can help fight anxiety and depression. Shoot for 30 minutes of exercise most days-you can accomplish this by hitting the gym before or after work or walking during lunch.

5. Going to work sick: Though you may think your presence is crucial for your practice's success, you're going to be less productive and nobody wants your germs. Fight the urge and stay home-you'll recover in no time.

6. Drinking excessively: Research has shown that moderate alcohol consumption may reduce your risk of certain diseases, like heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis. But sticking to the “moderate” caveat isn't always easy. Generally, men should have no more than two drinks per day and women should stick with one drink per day. But instead of having a few cocktails to unwind after a tough day filled with client confrontations, try sipping herbal tea, meditation, or yoga.

7. Skipping annual medical checkups: You recommend them to your clients, but do you follow your own advice? Depending on your age, family history, and lifestyle, you should schedule a comprehensive medical checkup and special screenings every one to five years.

If you've developed any of these habits, take action today to correct them. Your efforts will be rewarded with a healthier body and a sharper mind.

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