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Working Around the Clock--Why and How we Need to Slow Down

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Emotional Health related image Photo: Getty Images

Sometimes it feels as though we’re simply working around the clock, without pause. Between the emotional work of relationships, friendships, work interactions and family, the physical work of exercising, laundry, driving, dishwashing, walking hither and yon, and the intellectual work of, well, life itself, it just doesn’t end.

Working around the clock can lead to such things as sleep deprivation, depression, obesity, poor dietary habits, irritability, poor judgment and terrible driving. Aside from that, you may just have a sense that life is passing you by, that you dream of what you used to dream about and wonder what, exactly, it was.

For me, the possibility of one day not working around the clock is what motivates me. I know without question that there will come a day when my children are men, my bones ache too much to work as hard as I do, and the money will be good enough to survive on for a time.

I don’t mean to sound pathetic or small- minded; quite the contrary. It’s the simple joy of knowing my years of productivity will eventually end that helps me to stay positive and strong in the midst of the exhaustion. That idea, plus weekends, good conversation and coffee are the things that help me stay afloat during times of feeling almost lost in the amount of work there is always to be done.

Some helpful suggestions for those of you who feel you may be overworked include:
• Swimming. If you can find an indoor pool that isn’t too expensive, you can use it all year long. The benefits of swimming are tremendous; you are engaging in a no-impact aerobic workout that reorganizes your sensory system. The natural motion of the water around you can be more calming and refreshing than any other form of exercise.
• Eating well. No matter how tempting it is to binge on sugar and carbs when you’re overworked and not feeling happy, safe or cared for, resist. Of course doing it now and then can be freeing but, ultimately, eating great amounts of these things will increase your irritability, exhaustion and sadness, too.
• Talking with friends. There is simply nothing that beats venting to someone who really wants to hear what you have to say.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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