Is Your Work Making You Ill?

Last updated 24 Oct 2015 . 3 min read

Amita Gadre Kelkar

Ms. Patel has a corporate job and has been managing her home, children and work successfully since the past six years. Of late, she has been complaining of unexplained weight gain, persistent exhaustion, body ache, weakened vision and insomnia. All her biochemical reports are negative. The doctors say she just needs to lose weight and she will be fine. She goes on a diet, sheds three kilos of weight in vain. Her health problems persist.

This is a classic example of an increasing number of urban working people who face the dilemma of “I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I feel unwell all the time”. A host of recent studies have shown that factors at the workplace can compromise your health. Working long hours at the computer without taking any breaks is the number one reason for spinal problems or the commonly occurring tension neck syndrome. Taking a break from your computer gives you time to think, rest your eyes, rehydrate yourself, stretch your body and also grab a healthy snack.

Everyone keeps on harping about the importance of snacking through the day. But what kind of snacks should you really be having? Desk snacks like chips, granolas, colas, chocolate, flavoured drinks, sugary energy drinks, namkeen – all of these will help you to pile on unnecessary pounds and leave you feeling guilty. Not just that, they will make you even hungrier in a couple of hours. The end result? You consume many more calories than actually required. Instead, keep some nuts, dried fruit, sugar-free granolas and wholegrain crackers in your drawer and snack on these in the lunch room or while taking a walk. Watch out for calorie-laden goodies colleagues pass around on special occasions, its best to stay away from such foods.

A publication by Harvard School of Public Health, 2005, stated that about one in four urban Indian women were overweight. This means that you can find a health buddy at your workplace and together practice “healthy habits”. You need not be the only person to carry a fruit bowl for snacks when everyone else is munching chips. You could be trendsetters!

You might be using a hand sanitiser at every occasion but did you know that your keyboard, mouse and phone could be harbouring thousands of disease-causing germs? Infections such as cough, cold, diarrhoea can be easily transferred through these surfaces. Use a disinfectant cleaner or a spray to clean these surfaces and avoid risk.

Most importantly, understand your body. your limits, when you can stretch and work long hours, and when you need a break. Plan a holiday far from your work and don’t use your phone or laptop. A vacation has been known to be the best cure for work-related stress and health issues.

Amita Gadre Kelkar is a nutritionist, foodie, blogger and new mum. Apart from planning diets, she loves to experiment with healthier food options.


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