December 27, 2013

Give Yourself a Break This Holiday Season…Your Health may Depend Upon It

dog laying relaxed on a massageI came across an extremely sad story today. Here’s the headline: Young Woman Dies After Tweeting That She Worked 30 Hours Straight.

Apparently Mita Duran, 24, was a copywriter at Young & Rubicam, an ad agency in Indonesia. On Saturday Dec. 14 she tweeted, “30 hours of working and still going strooong.” Another story explains that Duran “collapsed to the floor and slipped into a coma on Sunday after weeks of sleeping little and downing energy drinks just to keep going.”

Reports say that she died not too long afterward.

According to stories, Duran continuously drank Kratingdaeng, or the “Thai Red Bull,” to keep herself awake as she worked overtime. And she posted numerous tweets about her presumably hectic work schedule. For example:

  • Nov. 18 Home before midnight after three long, exhausting weeks. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.
  • Nov. 14 Sweetest sleep I’ve had in a long time. It’s a shame I’m supposed to wake up uh, ONE HOUR earlier. Slept through 3 phone calls and 3 alarms!
  • Nov. 8 Alright, one full week of going home past 2am from the office. Ladies and gentlemen, I believe we just broke a record.
  • Nov. 6 Spent half the night writing copy and finishing up a 23-page deck with a glass of vodka/red bull mix and now I can’t sleep. SO BEAR WITH ME.
  • Oct. 30 Lately, all my tweets sound tired.
  • Oct. 17 First day back at work after being sick for three days, and I spend over 12 hours at the office.

Looking at the last tweet above, it’s clear to see that this is an incredibly sad story. At one point, this young woman worked more than 12 hours after being home from work sick for three days.

And after reading about this tragedy and seeing the evidence of Duran overworking herself, I felt compelled to say this to all workers: This holiday season, TAKE A BREAK. And I don’t mean the type where you bring work home from the office, answer emails as the ball drops and spend your evenings typing up documents instead of spending time with your loved ones.

I mean a real break.

If you have a work cellphone, tablet or any other type of mobile device, leave it at home. Don’t answer work emails, calls or texts.

RELAX. And leave work at work this year.

It’s very saddening and unfortunate to read about this woman. And although one doesn’t hear about many workers dying due to overworking themselves, the amount of workers who have health concerns due to exhaustion and stress from their jobs is very common.

According to statistics, jobs are the biggest stressors for the majority of American adults. In fact, 80 percent of workers report to feeling stress on the job, while nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress. Another report found that workers who report they are stressed rack up healthcare costs that are 46 percent higher than those for non-stressed employees.

And workplace stress left untreated can lead to a lower immune system, being more prone to colds and the flu, fatigue, heart disease, diabetes, and an elevated risk of mental health problems. Reports show that an estimated 1 million workers miss work each day because of stress, which costs employers $602 per employee.

And we all have heard that Americans are workaholics. Recent data says that 1 in 6 employees now work more than 60 hours a week. And many either don’t take their vacation days or cancel vacation plans for work-related reasons.

Workers, we have to do better. Our well being depends on it.

I hope as 2013 comes to a close, workers around the nation (and world) will make a new year’s resolution to truly put their health and well being first, and to really take time to relax and enjoy life. Because your health (and life) are much more valuable than a few extra hours at the office.

Read more in Well Being

Marks’ stories have also been published in a variety of newspaper, magazine and online formats including The Arizona Republic, The Daily Herald, Arizona Foothills Magazine and various classroom magazines of Scholastic Inc. Service is her passion, writing is her platform and uplifting and inspiring the community is her purpose. Marks received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication from Arizona State University.
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