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4 ways your bad health habits could be ruining your career

Young woman sitting at a desk at work yawns
Young woman sitting at a desk at work yawns

Missed out on that promotion? Struggling to keep atop your work tasks? Lacking motivation in the office?

Your bad health habits might be your occupational undoing.

So, if you’re looking to continue the career ladder climb, it’s probably time to start prioritising your wellbeing.

Poor self-esteem = unable to cope with stress

First, let’s clear up exactly what ‘self-esteem’ is; Smith and Mackie in their book Social Psychology define it as “the positive or negative evaluations of the self, as in how we feel about it.”

Studies have found that the amount of value we place on ourselves impacts the way we cope in stressful situations (like how you react when Sharon sends you a passive aggressive email or Dave accidently eats your ham salad sandwich). In fact, research published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research looked at the role that self-esteem played in people’s responses to challenge. It found that when faced with the stressor, levels of self-esteem were ‘significantly and negatively’ associated with peaks in the amount of cortisol (the stress hormone) in candidates.

A woman in an office chatting on the phone while holing onto a pair of joggers and exercise mat

Lack of sleep = increase in sick leave

It’s been well documented that a good diet and exercise is a great way to improve your immune system (meaning you’ll be in tip top condition to ward off nasty viruses), but did you know that your bedroom habits also play a role?

A study published in the Sleep Health journal found that there was a correlation between sleeping problems and increased sick days – meaning it’s so important that you get your 40 winks every night.

Senior author of the study and Sleep Health Foundation spokesperson Professor Robert Adams said, “One in four Australian workers may be missing at least one day a week of work as a consequence of sleep disturbance or disruption, even when we take into account the potential for clinical sleep disorders like insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Put simply, we found that if people think their sleep quality or quantity is reduced, they are more likely to have a day off work.”

So, if you’re spending your evenings binging on Netflix or scrolling through Facebook when you should be getting some shut-eye, it’s time to switch off and hit the sack.
Sweet dreams!

Too much sugar = bad for productivity

When it comes to glucose, balance is key. Too little or too much glucose can leave you shaky and fatigued. Before you head on one of those regular trips to the office vending machine or cookie jar, consider opting for a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts to curb your hunger pains, because excessive refined sugar can affect your attention span, short-term memory and mood – and we’d hate for your productivity to be affected.

If people think their sleep quality is reduced, they're more likely to have a day off work

No exercise = poor memory

Consider yourself a couch potato? Your love of lounging could be doing more than just adding some extra numbers on the scales; it could be indirectly contributing to cognitive impairment.

A study by the University of British Columbia found that aerobic exercise (also known as cardio) changes the brain and helps protect memory and thinking skills – both of which are pretty important to getting ahead at work.

Dr Scott McGinnis, a neurologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School explained that there are some serious long-term benefits to cardio.

“Even more exciting is the finding that engaging in a program of regular exercise of moderate intensity over six months or a year is associated with an increase in the volume of selected brain regions.”

At nib, we offer a number of Extras policies that provide benefits for your gym membership; so what are you waiting for? Get sweating.

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