If you’re not feeling well it’s hard to be a superstar

Staying on top of your game at work is all about performing at your best, all the time. You can ‘t really afford to have less than good health. And yet there are quite a few factors that work against maintaining your health both on the job and in the rest of your life. In addition to the demands of your job, your workplace could be contributing to the state of your health, as could your lifestyle.

High Performance Careers

We live in a world of stretch goals and aggressive deadlines, where there is constant pressure to do better than your previous record. It’s all about faster, sooner and cheaper (better margins), and ideally also higher quality.

When it comes to staying healthy, business travel doesn’t help! The more business travel you do the more you’re a candidate for the after effects of long plane flights backaches, sleep deprivation, bacterial and viral infections, and in severe cases deep vein thrombosis. Once you arrive in the remote location you may also get to deal with the new germs available to you there, and of course adjusting to a new time zone.

Even if you don’t have to do much business travel, the stresses and strains of today’s global workplace will still affect you. Managers and workers who are part of global product teams are finding that their work days are longer due to meetings that need to be designed to accommodate the work schedules of people all over the globe. Many report that even meetings designed to include all of their colleagues don’t always prevent miscommunications due to language and culture differences.

The stresses of today’s high performance careers are significant and can contribute to the state of your health if you don’t do anything to offset them. What aspect of your professional life erodes your health? What can you do to offset it so that you can maintain your health and perform like a superstar?

High Stress Lifestyles

In addition to the stresses of a high performance career, most of today's professionals want have a life outside of work. Even though they work long hours, most want to have a non-work life that is rich and satisfying too.

Juggling Multiple Challenges

The more complex your life becomes the bigger the juggling act. When you add a home, a family, aging parents, and community responsibilities to a high stress workstyle, you’ve got a lot of balls in the air. Keeping them airborne and moving without mishap is non-trivial. It certainly helps if you have a supportive spouse or partner. Whether or not you have support, the impact on your stress and your health can be significant.

When things are out of balance in your home or family life it affects your performance at work

People seem to bring plenty of non-work burdens to work. Whether it's their pending divorces, their stressful commutes, problems with their teenagers, or issues with their in-laws, their co-workers often feel the effects. These get shared either because the person dealing with them needs a listening ear, or their co-workers feel the effects inadvertently because the person involved is often grouchy or uncooperative. Sometimes the person with the problem has an impact on the effectiveness of their workgroup, because they're distracted by their problems and unable to fully contribute on the job.

Limits to Multitasking

We all have limits to what we can do or accomplish given limited time. Unfortunately these limits are invisible. Most of the time we don’t know that we’ve hit our limit until something, usually our health, breaks down. How do you know when you’ve hit a limit?

The Workplace is a Great place to Get Sick, or Hurt

Even though most companies pay attention to workplace safety, it’s surprising how easy it is to get hurt or sick in the workplace. Whether it is an injury from the tools you use day to day, known or unknown toxic chemicals or hazardous materials, shared germs or toxic co-workers, your workplace could be hazardous to your health.

PTO vs. Sick Days
Some companies give their employees “sick days” to encourage them to stay home when they’re ill. This may have created an incentive for people to be “sick” in order to have extra days off. In recent years PTO (Personal time off), which can be used either for sick days or vacation time may have created an incentive for people to go to work when they’re sick.

Shared Germs
People bring their kids’ colds or flus to work making the workplace as much a breeding ground for this year’s bugs as the daycare centers where their children picked up theirs.

Repetitive Strain and Ergonomics
As more workers use computers and the incidence of repetitive strain injury grows significantly, ergonomics has become more important. Many companies offer their employees free ergonomic evaluations and willingly pay to correct ergonomic problems in an attempt to prevent repetitive strain injuries like carpal tunnel. Ergonomic chairs, workspaces and computer setups are common in today’s workplace, and yet so is carpal tunnel and other repetitive strain injuries.

Toxic Chemicals or Hazardous Materials
Due to the presence of toxic chemicals and hazardous materials some work environments aren’t especially healthy places. There may be hazardous materials in the ceiling, substances you’re allergic to in the carpets, a persistent draft in your work area, or you may even work with toxic chemicals on a day-to-day basis.

Toxic Co-Workers
The people you work with can be toxic too. Your boss, a co-worker, or a colleague in another part of the company may have a toxic effect on you. Whether it takes the form of bullying, discrimination, ruthless competition or sexual harassment, the people you work with can interfere with your health.

Is your workplace hazardous to your health?
If so, what can you do to safeguard your health?

What you can do to Author Your Own Health So You Can perform like a Superstar at work and in the rest of your life

First, notice the factors that could be eroding your health.

• Constant Stretch Goals or Aggressive Deadlines?
• Business Travel?
• The stresses and strains of the Global Workplace?
• Other Issues?

Off the Job Issues
• Home?
• Juggling too Much?
• Other Issues?

• Shared germs?
• Ergonomics?
• Toxic Chemical and Hazardous materials?
• Toxic People?
• Other Issues?

Second, notice when and how do you tend to get sick?

Do you tend to get sick right after you’ve completed a big project?
Or a week before it’s due?

Do you tend to get a migraine the day before a big presentation?

Do you tend to get sick every time your children bring something home?

Third, are you noticing some limits you have that you weren’t previously aware of?

Have you tackled too much simultaneously at work and at home?

Are there issues in your workplace that are having a bigger effect on you than you realized?

Are you noticing that business travel or another work activity is having an impact on your health?

Fourth, with your new awareness what changes can you make to counteract the health erosion?

Here are some possibilities:

If you find that you are getting sick every time your children bring something home from school or daycare, you may want to look at how much sleep you’re getting, your nutrition, and other ways of shoring up your immune system.

If you notice that you get severe repetitive strain issues the week before a deadline, what can you do to prevent this from happening each time?

If you find you have tackled too much simultaneously at work and at home, take a look to see if there any tasks that you can cut back on, or get help with.

The bottom line is that health is the foundation of your ability to live the life you want. Cultivating your health is the single most important thing you can do to create the foundation for your professional success.

Author's Bio: 

Nina Price is a Licensed Acupuncturist, Business and Wellness Coach who helps people “push the reset button” on their health, their careers, and the rest of their lives, so that they can prevent burnout and have the professional life they want, no matter what happens. Please visit ninaprice.com.