In a technological, globalised world, our working hours have stretched and mutated. What effect is this having on our health and wellbeing; and does more work necessarily mean greater productivity?
The UK, and London in particular, is renowned for its long working hours, with the the average Briton clocking up 313 more than a German citizen, on an annual basis.
As a culture, we regard more work as better work. It is assumed that the amount of energy we put in will directly correspond to that which is produced. ‘Nobody changed the world on 40 hours a week,’ says tech mogul Elon Musk, who claims to chalk up 120 hours at peak performance.
But cracks are starting to appear in this way of thinking. More and more, experts are recognising the benefits of taking time out to look after yourself: and not just for your wellbeing, but for your productivity.
It is overwhelmingly accepted that stress and related mood disorders are the greatest burden on the economy, when compared with other diseases and disabilities. So while a high pressure day, here and there, may boost your business, in the long run it can entail greater financial loss.
Emma Gannon, bestselling author of The Multi-Hyphen Method has championed the benefits of self-care for success and warned of the dangers of burnout.
‘Burnout’ refers to an extended period of extreme exhaustion and disillusionment, following a period of intense stress. It can trigger mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, as well as a whole host of physiological ailments.
Once ‘burnt-out,’ it can take a number of months to recover. But giving yourself time for rest and reflection, on a regular basis, can help mitigate the risk of stress-overload.
Nurturing plants, and living amongst vegetation, can be a highly effective way of relieving work-related stress. As the boundary between work and leisure time fades, it is important to carve out definitive periods of relaxation.
The ritual of plant-care can help promote a healthier attitude to your own self-care. Which, in the long run, will make you a better employee, caregiver and friend.
For more about the relationship between plants and stress-reduction, check out this post from Dr. Katie Cooper, the founder of Bloombox Club.