In the previous issue we discussed the issue of working overtime and the impact that can have on one’s physical health. We also discussed the Striver syndrome wherein employees willingly clock in more hours to get more work done and thereby earn more money and work satisfaction.
While all of the above impact our physical and mental wellbeing that just seems to be the tip of the iceberg.
Impact of Overtime on Mental Health
Working overtime has a direct correlation with stress, depression as well as suicidal ideologies. This means that as workers increase the number of overtime hours, they are more likely to experience the aforementioned mental issues.
- Increased Stress Levels
Increasing overtime hours has been shown to result in heightened stress levels. This is regardless of gender, marital status or even education levels.
There is a higher rate of stress among workers if the additional overtime hours were unintentional.
What’s more is that stress causes unhealthy lifestyle choices such as excessive consumption of alcohol, increased smoking, and insufficient sleep all of which can cause adverse physical and health conditions.
Furthermore, stress can lead to depression which can ultimately result in a vicious cycle of self- sabotage.
- Increased Depression
Higher stress levels can ultimately result in depression. This is mainly caused by the fact that sleep deprivation, stress levels as well as overall health status influence depression.
Longer working hours can affect all three and result in limiting beliefs and can cause emotional triggers.
According to a study, employees that had clocked in larger working hours also experienced higher depression rates.
Men are more likely to be affected by depression because they tend to have more time available to clock in the extra hours while women often have responsibilities at home which cause them to leave work on time.
That said, it’s crucial to note that there are no major differences in how depression affects men and women or even people who are married. Age is also not a determining factor.
Regardless of gender, the rates of depressions are shown to increase above 40 hours a week.
3. Suicidal Thoughts
While depression can affect anyone, according to studies, more women are affected by suicidal ideologies than men. Even when the data is adjusted for age, education background and gender, still women seem to be most affected by such ideologies.
That said, there are plenty of men who are also affected by suicidal thoughts. Moreover, studies show that the rate of suicidal thoughts tend to increase with over 60 working hours per week.
This proves that stress can lead to depression which in turn can lead to individuals taking their own lives.
The Importance of Self Awareness
Self-awareness is evaluating your own self with the goal of viewing yourself from an objective standpoint. It’s a journey of self-discovery and self- development that requires deep thought and allows you to see the flaws in your personality with which you can then work towards improving.
By understanding your motivation towards working overtime, you are able to make changes in your habits that will save you from experiencing the adverse mental issues that we’ve mentioned above.
Self-awareness allows you to live more mindfully of your health as well as how this affects those around you. For instance parents have pendants who not only rely on their ability to provide but also their wellbeing.
A family will be affected if one of its members suffers from physical and mental issues such as depression and stress that could result of working overtime. This will also affect the income as not only will the affected individual be unable to work and provide but treatment also causes a dent on the family finances.
Secondly, family time is important and working overtime will often lead one to spend less time with their loved ones. If you have children, then a lack of time and guidance may create resentment and a breeding ground for all sorts developmental problems.
And lastly overtime will affect your overall performance at work. While you are able to clock in more hours thus more pay in the short term, the loss of motivation and fatigue will result in reduced production overtime.
Being mindful and self-aware of how working overtime causes a ripple effect not just in our own life but in the lives of close family and loved ones can help put everything in perspective and encourage more positive and healthy life choices.
Working overtime might seem beneficial, but results from various studies show that it’s actually detrimental to the development of both the employee and the business. For the employee, they can suffer adversely both mentally and physically. For the business this means less productivity in the long run. It’s best therefore to limit your overtime hours.