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Are You Trading Your Health For Wealth? Medical Minute #33

Are You Trading Your Health For Wealth?

I’m Dr. Craig Primack. Welcome to another Medical Minute.

Today, I have a very simple question for you. Are you trading your health for wealth? It seems most recently in the pandemic, especially, many of my patients are spending more hours per day than they used to working. Some of them don’t have to go in the office anymore.  So instead of having to spend time driving or in meetings, they’re spending time at their computer. They may be spending 10 hours a day, 12 hours a day, even some 14 or more hours per day working.   This is not time  for themselves or with their families or doing things that they enjoy.   Nor things that are good for their health, like sleeping and activity or exercise.

Where are You Spending Your Time?

When you ask many of them, they do enjoy spending time with their families. They do enjoy exercising. They do enjoy doing other things that aren’t work, but they’ve decided, unfortunately for a while, that they’re going to push away all these other things and work becomes a number one priority in their lives.

Now, if this is a short-term answer, if you’re doing it for a couple of weeks, because there’s a certain project due, or you have something that you have to accomplish, then, okay, accept it. But when it becomes your normal modus operandi, so when it becomes just your way of doing things, that you are working 12 to 14 or more hours per day, something has to give.

What is Good for Your Health!

And we know those things that “give” are the most important things that are good for your health.

Number one is sleep of at least seven or eight or nine hours per night.

Number two is being active, not sitting at your desk, I say, for more than 50 minutes per session. And so I recommend, if you have to set an alarm, go from the top of the hour to 50 after, spend the next 10 minutes walking around, get a drink of water, go to the bathroom, play with the dog. It doesn’t matter. Go out and see the sunlight for a couple of minutes.

The next is spending time with your family or friends or significant other, having a meal that you cook together, going for a walk, enjoying a movie or something like that, to be social with other people.

Short-Term or Long-Term?

If you’re trading your health for wealth for a short period of time… OK.    If you have goals that you’re going to get back to a more work-life balance, and balance means that things are balanced. We can’t be balanced when we’re working 14 to 16 hours per day. Most of us can’t be balanced while working 10 to 12 hours per day. So, think to yourself, what is important for you for the long-run? Yes, income supporting our family is very important to all of us and I’m not going to downplay that, but is it worth trading potentially five to 10 years of your life for it? My personal answer is no.

Answer the question for yourself, at the end of the day, is it worth trading your health for wealth?

Thanks. I’ll see you next week.

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