(HealthyResearch.com)- The average American logs 44 hours per week with their employer and 50 or 60-hour workweeks are common in some industries. Combine those long workweeks with other commitments, like parenting, social events and volunteer work, and it’s easy to pile too many obligations into an already hectic week. While some adults love leading fast-paced lives, it’s not necessarily good for their bodies — and they may not even realize it.
An overbooked calendar can lead to sleep deprivation, emotional outbursts, and neglected medical conditions. Take some time to slow down before you develop new health issues or worsen existing ones. Here are a few signs it’s time to slow down, even if it seems like that chaotic schedule isn’t taking a toll.
1. Sleep Deprivation
Many adults sacrifice sleep in an attempt to tackle their to-do lists or balance a thriving career with a fulfilling social life. They chug coffee or tea to get through each day, temporarily masking the long-term effects of sleep deprivation. Unfortunately, energy-boosting beverages can’t conceal some issues that stem from lack of sleep, including heart disease, obesity, diabetes and lowered libido. In fact, consistently slacking on sleep may even decrease our lifespans.
Sleep deprivation can also cause brain fog, which makes it difficult to learn new things or handle important tasks. Sleep skippers may even find it difficult to stay awake while they drive, putting themselves — and other drivers — at risk. We should all try to get to bed a bit earlier each day and aim for at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. And if we find ourselves deprioritizing sleep for other activities, we may want to reconsider.
2. Minor Issues Feel Like Major Hassles
Have you ever seen someone scream at a waitress for bringing out a burger that had pickles or for forgetting a drink? Maybe you’ve even been that person. When we’ve got too much on our schedules or on our minds, minor issues can trigger episodes of anger or even rage. Sufferers may find themselves snapping at their spouse for eating the last piece of pie, screaming at the kids for leaving a toy on the couch, or sobbing hysterically when a company places them on hold.
Anger is a normal emotion when it’s warranted, but it’s time to slow down if you find yourself consistently overreacting to minor setbacks. Slowing down can help to reduce stress, which may lower blood pressure or at least keep an existing hypertension diagnosis from getting worse. Stretching ourselves so thin that our blood pressure becomes a signal to chill should be a real wake up call.
3. Deprioritizing Medical Care
We’re pretty tough creatures, we humans. We don’t need to visit a doctor every time we cough or sneeze, but some medical matters do require prompt attention. Obviously, we will probably visit an emergency room immediately if a serious injury occurs, such as a head injury or a cut with severe bleeding. But what about that nagging headache? Or the feeling that something just isn’t right? We need to keep up on our health and if we’re deprioritizing this matter, it could cause us to delay a needed diagnosis for something serious. We should call our regular doctor or specialist as soon as possible if we have unexplained symptoms that don’t improve quickly or a preexisting condition that requires prescription drugs or other medical treatments.
Don’t wait for a condition to go away on its own — because many don’t, we just get used to the symptoms. Plus, many medical conditions are easier to treat if you catch them quickly, and early detection of cancer or other illnesses may save a life.
Don’t let a busy schedule threaten your health. People will understand if you need to take a break from a hectic life. And if they don’t, maybe they aren’t friends. Get plenty of sleep, and take care of that all-important physical and mental well-being. We can always tackle our to-do lists later.
Thank you to our friends at Wellness.com for contributing this piece.
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