Success is the fruit of hard work and persistence. Work is one of the most important features that keep us alive as it is a way to create personal and social identity, family and social bonds, source of income, etc. As Ernest Hemingway puts it: “Work is the most important thing in life which distracts from every misfortune.” Not only that, work also gives us a sense of purpose to keep on living. Imagine getting engaged in a job you enjoy, this will improve contentment and satisfaction in life.
It is true that working is a vital feature of a human’s life, but health is no less essential. Having a healthy body and state of mind is important to ensure we live life to the fullest. Also, our health can affect how we function in our daily work life. When you are ill, you cannot go to work and perform as efficiently as when you are fit. In other words, health issues could affect work, thus disrupting your work-life balance.
While nearly all health issues are disruptive to our work-life balance, there are three of the most common and noticeable health problems that greatly affect our work-life states, such as follows:
Irregular periods are a sign of Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Many women with this sign have insulin resistance, meaning the body cannot use insulin well. In the end, insulin levels will build up in the body and might cause higher androgen levels. Obesity can also increase insulin levels and make PCOS symptoms worse. Other signs that could occur together include weight gain, infertility, male-pattern baldness or thinning hair, dark or thick skin patches, ovaries that are large or have many cysts, and abnormal hair growth such as developing a moustache.
PCOS is primarily concerned with hormones, thus mood swings are also associated with this condition. If you find yourself not being able to control your mood very well, and you have other signs of PCOS (as mentioned above), you might want to consult your local healthcare provider for further confirmation. As obesity is also linked to PCOS, many women with PCOS also develop further health problems that could complicate recovery, for example, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.
In short, PCOS is a serious disorder and is thought to be the most common endocrine disorder affecting women and girls. Dealing with this issue can greatly affect employee’s life and work outcomes. Founder of Perla Health Kathrin Folkend said that individuals who struggle with PCOS can have a difficult time. Common symptoms, like overweight, infertility, acne, hair loss or hair growth often have a severe impact on a woman’s mental health. That said, Folkend asked employers and managers to educate themselves about PCOS and more generally women’s health to best support their employees.
For employers, they can provide comprehensive health insurance, flexible working arrangements, a compassionate work culture built on empathy, and supportive work culture. Revisiting employee leave policy and making menstrual leave available could be one of the best alternatives.
As for employees who deal with PCOS, some treatments can be done to ensure your work-life is not affected by mood swings or other health problems due to PCOS. Generally, a doctor might recommend a series of tests to make the illness less painful. You can also do self-treatment by having a good lifestyle, regulate your menstrual cycle by having a combination of birth control pills or progestin therapy (seek doctor advice), maintain a healthy weight, limit carbohydrates, and be active.
Suffering numbness in your arms or hands is a sign of carpal tunnel syndrome, also known as cubital tunnel syndrome or repetitive stress injuries (RSI). The most common roles that might result in the numbness of arms or hands are lawyers, IT workers, data entry workers, and people who spend a lot of time typing on computer keyboards. Sitting or sleeping in the same position for a long time can also result in numbness. Other activities that involve putting pressure on your nerves and cutting off blood flow bring on short-term numbness.
Although numbness alone is not associated with potentially life-threatening disorders, such as strokes or tumours, suffering from continued numbness can be unsafe and annoying. You might find it difficult to drive and grasp the steering wheel. Driving can be an extremely painful and exhausting affair and you might lose control of your car due to pain and exhaustion. Suffering from serious numbness can also get to the extent where you are unable to continue working (and lose your source of income), and surgery might be required.
When should you consult a doctor? Before numbness gets serious, whenever you feel continuous numbness, make sure you consult a doctor. Doctors will require more information from you to diagnose the cause of numbness and possible treatments. Other causes of numbness that might require you to see doctors are: confusion, inability to control bladder or bowel movements, loss of consciousness, difficulty breathing, loss of sensation in the face or trunk of body, paralysis, speech or vision changes, and rapid or sudden weakness.
For self-treatment, you should first be aware of the symptoms and causes. Then, you should correct the condition causing the numbness. For example, if you sleep too long on your hand, you might want to massage your hand and avoid sleeping on it. Other common treatments for numbness include nerve pain medications, controlling blood sugar in people with diabetes, physical therapy exercises, and surgery to remove a tumour or repair a problem in the spine.
Difficulty falling asleep or interrupted sleep is closely related to insomnia, circadian rhythm disorder and other sleep disorders. Other signs that can occur together include excessive sleepiness at waking hours or unintended dozing. Note that this condition is not due to having small kids who keep you awake and keep waking you up for diaper changes or breastfeeding.
Sleep disorder commonly happens to those who spend a lot of time facing computer and phone screens, such as IT workers, social media professionals, writers/journalists. People in high-stress jobs with tight deadlines and late nights, like litigation, events, advertising, banking, are also prone to suffer from a sleep disorder. Working in a shifting job might also result in sleep disorder.
When sleep disorder gets too serious, you might feel excessive tiredness. You find it very difficult to control your moods and are unable to focus at work. Consequently, productivity will hamper and you could be more prone to accidents. People with sleep disorders are also more prone to obesity and other health problems that come along with being overweight, such as heart disease.
Seeking medical help might be one of the fastest ways to ensure your sleep disorder is treated well. Medical treatments for sleep disturbances include sleeping pills, melatonin supplements, allergy or cold medication, medications for any underlying health issues, a breathing device or surgery, or a dental guard. You can also prevent sleep disturbance from happening by promoting a good lifestyle, as such follows:
Any health problems, especially the three mentioned, can create disturbance to personal and professional life. The good news is that there are always solutions to health problems if you put enough attention to your health. From the three aforementioned problems, they do not require the use of drugs or other invasive procedures to get better, with a note that the problems are not severe enough and noticed early.
What they require (and what would be a longer-lasting, more cost-effective solution) is an adequate and consistent lifestyle modification – from the foods we eat, how we organise our everyday routines, how our everyday activities are being conducted, etc.