Overworking…When Is It Enough?

With the onset of the pandemic, millions of Filipinos have been left jobless. Most of us have resorted to “rakets” or side jobs to keep ourselves and our families afloat.  We don’t want to miss a single opportunity where we could earn, so, we added more hours toiling the midnight oil.  The idea of rest is easily forgotten as many of us are working longer hours to keep up with our ever-growing non-stop workload.  Rest is for the weak as they say… but how long can we keep up with this lifestyle before our bodies say when is it ENOUGH?

Image By: Uriel Mont

What Is Rest?

Most of us might feel that rest is a luxury we can’t afford.  What with all the bills piling up? We’d rather work and earn than take a much needed rest.  We are strong, hardworking and healthy. Who needs rest? 

Fact is, we do need rest. Even if we are young and healthy.  Our bodies need a break from all the demands and stresses of life. Rest is when our bodies heal and repair itself so that you can still function wholly after.

Ask any doctor and they will tell you that rest is important for physical and mental health. When the body is deprived of this because of overworking, it won’t be able to rebuild and recharge itself adequately.

Shooo… Ailments!

To stress the point about rest, we have talked to Regional Health Programs Manager for the Middle East and North Africa of the International Committee of the Red Cross Dr. Erwin Guillergan and he enumerated the possible ailments we can develop if we keep pushing our bodies to the limits. In short, overworking!

  1. Low back pain
  2. Burning sensation in lower extremities
  3. Cyst on the wrist
  4. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  5. Migraine
  6. Fatigue
  7. Depression

At the height of our frenzy to fulfill our tasks, we may not feel the effects of overworking as endorphins are also pumping inside our bodies.  But when endorphin levels go down then we will feel that something is not right.

When we feel a bit of pain, we tend to ignore it or brush it aside. When the pain becomes stronger we just take medication so that it will go away. But Dr.  Guillergan said that before our bodies arrive at a breaking point we should already heed its call.  We only have one so we need to take care of it!

Ways To Avoid Overworking

Most of the time we are not aware that we have been abusing our bodies. Working for 36 hours straight without sleep is probably not a good idea! In fact, it is the worst thing you can do to your body.  

Doc Erwin as he is fondly called by his patients gave us some pointers on how we can avoid overworking.

Pace Yourself

If we always do multitasking and taking in more tasks that we could handle then it will all add up to stress.  Not to mention the work that we are doing will be of lesser quality as we are trying to do so many different things at the same time.  So, pace yourself!  Do your best at your own speed.  This way, you can really put your full attention to details that need to be addressed.

Take Breaks

It is easy to forego breaks when we are so into our work.  But it is a good habit to be conscious when taking breaks.  Make time to stretch, walk a little, take deep breaths, have coffee or just have a few minutes to yourself.  You’ll come back fresh and recharged.


This has much to do with your work environment.  Are the shelves too high?

Do you bend often to get something?

If you drop something what do you do?

Is your work environment a mess? (Check out our blog on organization and being more efficient)

Are there a  lot of stressors surrounding you?

Stress can cause body pains and aches. Severe headaches. It can trigger so much more if not kept in check. 

If the environment is less than suitable for you to work in,  a way must be devised to alleviate stressors and improve the environment where everything is made easier for you.

So, have a ladder or a step stool when cabinets are too high. Put all the ingredients or tools within reach to avoid unnecessary movement. Work when the kids are asleep or give them activities to buy you an hour or two to do your work.

And most of all, exercise caution  to avoid untoward accidents.

Do Prioritization

Multitasking is stressful. We don’t have to do everything at the same time. We must learn to prioritize.  Identifying the most important task to be finished today is a start. Then do the second, third, fourth and so on. 


Learn to delegate tasks to colleagues or family members.  Remember the saying? No one is an island.

If our business is growing, then the demand for our products also grows.  Enlist the help of family members.  Give each one a role. Or assess the business.  It may already be high time to hire some employees!

Worried that they won’t do a good job? Set up monitoring systems. Train and transfer your talent and skills.  This will free you up to more opportunities.  You will be able to think better and do better! Not to mention, this will give  you ample time to rest.

Don’t Forget Your Vitamins and Proper Footwear

Taking B Complex vitamins with zinc regularly can help your body heal faster.  It is also a good idea to have proper footwear to support your feet. We don’t want to have Chef’s Foot , do we? Oh, it’s pretty painful to the heels!

Overworking and Mental Health

One of the affected areas when we abuse our bodies is our mental health.  In our culture, mental health is not being addressed as much as it should. Yet. It is still a stigma when you go to a psychiatrist.

As Doc Erwin pointed out, talking to someone you trust is a big boost to your mental health.  Also, doing what you love to do.  Pursue hobbies and passion.  Or at the very least, put on some good music to clear your mind.

It is also very important to separate your career or your job with your personal life.  Blending the two will just give you a stressful life.  And as we have discussed, stress is a very big factor that will affect not only our physical health but our mental health as well. 

Take Time And Smell The Flowers

We only have one body.  If we don’t take care of it as we should then one day our bodies will just give up on us.

It is also better to pace ourselves and only do what our body can take.  Take time and smell the flowers. Be grateful.

There is life beyond working. 

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