Working at a job that you don’t enjoy or which provides significant physical, mental, or emotional challenges can definitely take a toll on your overall wellbeing. If you’ve been stuck in the position of working a career that is causing problems in your personal life related to your health or lifestyle, you’re probably wondering what steps you can take to create a source of income or career that won’t be such a burden on you in the long-term.
There’s no sense in making yourself sick for the sake of making money when there are literally millions of ways to generate an income and at least another million options on the table when it comes to choosing a corporate job that provides fulfillment and entertainment without so much stress. Sometimes you’ll need to enter an entirely different field if you want a less job, while in other cases you can keep your profession but change employers.
When someone else tells you which job you’re supposed to be doing, it’s going to be less enjoyable (and less healthy) than if you were to choose your own path. Thus, instead of telling you exactly which job you should be interested in, here are 14 kinds of positive career adjustments that you can make in your daily duties that will improve the status of your overall health and wellbeing:
1. Work with Families and Children
Did you know that studies have proven that being around children can actually lower your blood pressure? Kids can also be stressful to deal with at times, but for the most part they have a positive overall impact on your wellbeing and state of mind, especially if you’re a person who likes kids. Look for ways to leverage your current credentials or occupation to get into a position to work with children and you’ll probably find that your job winds up becoming more enjoyable than it was before. For example, if you’re a nurse who has been working in a hectic emergency room, completing an MSN-FNP program to become a family nurse practitioner could be a way for you to start working with kids and families.
2. Start Freelancing
If you’ve been working a job that is putting an extensive burden on your personal schedule to the point of interrupting sleep, family time, or other essential aspects of life, it may be time to look into using your skills as a freelancer instead. While you’ll still need discipline and persistence to keep your clients satisfied just as you would need to report to a “regular” job on time every day, you do have the flexibility of at least choosing your own hours. Most freelancing deadlines will give you anywhere from one day to two weeks or more of leeway, so you’re not being forced into a situation where you have to work during inconvenient hours or feel obligated to commit to full-time work just to keep your position within a company.
3. Get an Adjustable Standing Desk
If your job involves doing desk work that has you seated and sedentary for long stretches of time, that type of sustained inactivity is obviously not healthy. To solve this problem, you can either follow a tutorial to build a DIY standing desk or shop around for an adjustable desk that will help you rotate between sitting and standing. However, it’s important to note that standing up all day in the same spot isn’t healthy for your feet and legs either, so it’s a good idea to have a set schedule in place to keep you rotating between positions and taking breaks to walk around as well. Generally, it’s best to stay seated or standing in the same spot for no more than 30 minutes at a time without a break or position change.
4. Buy a Treadmill Desk Attachment
What if you have an absurdly demanding job or you’re just really serious about achieving absolutely peak productivity? Obviously, a professional in that situation wouldn’t have the luxury of taking breaks and walking around every so often. The appropriate adjustment to solve your problem in that scenario would be to have a secondary peripheral (monitor, keyboard, and mouse) set up on a treadmill desk attachment. Then, you can still work during your exercise breaks. Depending on the type of work you do, you may also find it beneficial to add a wireless headset to your setup to facilitate hands-free, voice-to-text typing and software commands or to engage in business phone calls or chats while walking or jogging.
5. Earn Certification in a Health-related Field
By becoming a specialist in a field related to health or nutrition, you’ll not only gain the fulfillment of helping others stay healthy, you’ll also have the knowledge needed to steer your own wellbeing in the right direction. For example, you could become a Certified Nutritionist to gain an advanced understanding of calorie counting, nutritional intake, and other factors that contribute to a well-balanced diet. Or, you could become a yoga instructor and become a limber, lean, and flexible fitness pro along the way. Likewise, becoming a personal trainer is clearly one of the healthiest career choices you can make because you’ll literally be working out for a living. These are just a few examples to start with but there are thousands of jobs out there that will teach you how to take better care of yourself.
6. Pre-Pack Healthy Snacks and Meals for Work
Many professionals wind up deviating from their diet goals because they can’t find the time and energy to be so strict about what they eat. It seems easier to pull through a drive thru and grab a bite than to wait until you get home and prepare a meal. One way you can keep yourself from giving into such temptations is by preparing snacks and meals in containers and bringing a cooler or small lunch bag with you during commutes. That way, you’ll always have a healthy snack ready whenever hunger comes along and tries to sabotage your weight loss or fitness goals.
7. Start a Pre-work and Post-work Exercise Regimen
Part of maintaining a career is the process of getting ready and winding down after every shift. Of course, you can’t just hop out of the bed and go to work in your underwear, so there’s always going to be that shower and prep phase that’s unavoidable. If you’re going to be touching up your hygiene and looks before you go to work, why not throw in a few sets of common exercises like push-ups and sit-ups to provide a quick boost to your physique before you head out the door? Even adding 10 minutes of exercise to your morning routine and 20 to your after-work routine will bring you significant results if that effort is consistently sustained over weeks or months.
8. Get into a Better Sleeping Schedule
Sleep is one of the body’s most crucial mechanisms for repair and rejuvenation. If you’re currently on a schedule that is not allowing you to sleep until you feel like waking up, you might need to make some adjustments to your time management habits or find another job that doesn’t have you over-working yourself. While the scientific consensus is that you should try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night, some people need more if they’re performing demanding physical or mental tasks. Many people have seen great results in correcting sleep deficits by sleeping as long as they want. Give yourself about 10 hours of bedtime to be safe, that way you’ll have time to fall asleep and gradually wake up at your own pace without interrupting vital sleep cycles prematurely. You may also want to look into alternative sleep cycles that split your sleeping needs up throughout the day.
9. Squeeze in 20 Minutes of Sunshine Per Day
Absorbing direct sunlight is the best way to fulfill your body’s need for Vitamin D. Unfortunately, many people in today’s indoor-centric world are sunlight-deficient and therefore are also deficient in Vitamin D, which can lead to a wide variety of health problems. While excessive sun exposure on a hot day can be unhealthy in that it could cause a sunburn or increase your risk of skin cancer, scientists say that getting about 20 minutes of total sunlight per day is the safest approach to ensure you’re getting the Vitamin D you need without damaging your skin in the process. This can be split up into four 5-minute segments of outdoor time, or two 10-minute segments – it doesn’t have to be 20 consecutive minutes.
10. Upgrade Your Gear and Equipment
Working while wearing or operating uncomfortable or inefficient gear or equipment could be making your entire job more difficult than it has to be. Look for ways to make your job easier by upgrading your gear and equipment. For example, a desk worker could invest in a completely ergonomic desk and chair setup complete with an ergonomic keyboard and mouse. Or, if your job involves intensive physical labor, you could find that your comfort is greatly enhanced just by purchasing a new pair of work boots or a utility belt that doesn’t put a strain on your back.
11. Work on Posture, Form, and Ergonomics
Speaking of putting strain on your back, any job that has you working in one position or performing repetitive tasks could cause conditions that lead to chronic pain and inflammation. To avoid repetitive stress injuries, it’s best to have a well-rounded knowledge of the proper work and lifting posture relevant to the field you’re working in. Sitting and working the wrong way at a desk can create some very unpleasant psychical symptoms after a few years of utilizing improper posture, so this is a must-do adjustment for anyone who wants to improve their wellbeing.
12. Examine Work-From-Home Options
This one will be simple and straightforward: check out a list of work-from-home options and see if you can find one that would accommodate the kid of lifestyle you’re aiming for. You’ll find that maintaining a strict diet and exercise regimen will be much easier when you’re working from home.
13. Look for a Traveling Job
Another simple suggestion: are there positions in your industry that require ongoing traveling? If so, you might want to consider applying for one of those jobs instead of sticking with the mundane alternative of reporting to the same building every day. Studies have proven that occasional travel can have a beneficial impact on your wellbeing, so this is certainly an adjustment worth considering.
14. Recognize When a Job Can’t Be Made Healthy and Move On
In some situations, you might try all of the above tips only to find that there really is no way to make your current job a healthy one. If that’s the case, then the best adjustment you can make is to simply find another job and be more selective about the kind of stresses you’ll be putting your body through.
Building Wealth Doesn’t Have to Be Bad for Your Health
Ultimately, while earning any sort of income does require at least some investment of time, effort, and maybe even money, you don’t have to sacrifice your health as well just to build wealth. As the above career transition suggestions clearly demonstrate, there are plenty of ways to make your current career conducive to a healthier lifestyle or to find an entirely new career that will put your old unhealthy lifestyle behind you.
Unfortunately, the majority of very wealthy individuals do wind up gaining weight, leading sedentary lives, and dealing with various health problems that greatly reduce the enjoyment of the wealth that they worked so hard to obtain. Thus, consider how great of an achievement it would be to balance your career and personal life to a point that you’re able to become one of the minorities of wealthy individuals who didn’t manage their own health to get rich.
Likewise, if you’re already comfortable or fairly wealthy but you’re not in great shape, it’s never too late to enact one of these transitions in your own life to start seeing positive improvement in the way you feel and operate.