Dr Bret Wilson

Work and Your Health

Work and Your Health

Dr Bret Wilson

September is the month that we celebrate Labor Day, the unofficial last weekend of summer. Our health has an effect on our ability to work and work can have a significant effect on our health. Let us examine some ideas that can keep us healthier and happier at work.


The opportunity to work at a job that you enjoy and feel engaged in improves your output and reduces stress. A job that you dread and feel disconnected from lowers productivity, increases stress and has negative health consequences. A job you dislike drains your energy, impairs your immune system and causes various stress related illnesses. Heart disease  has been directly related to job dissatisfaction, one of the reasons for the frequency of heart attacks on Monday morning.   Headaches, back pain, stomach distress, and frequent colds and allergic flare-ups can all result from the stress of a job.

Confucius is quoted as advising “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life”. Find a job you love for a healthier you. The other concept of “choose a job you love” is to choose your perception and attitude about your current job. What choices can you make to be more engaged at work, feel that you are contributing and helping to move yourself and your company towards its goals? If your current job is not suited to you, consider it as a stepping stone to the next job, use the experience to help find what you need to love your job. Choosing a job that makes you happy or choosing to find happiness at your job is good for your health.

Scheduled Maintenance

It is important to your health to maintain a schedule for sleep, regular nutrition and recovery. Your body functions best on a regular cycle. A 40 hour work week that is Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm is rare.   Maintain and modify your body’s scheduled health needs to allow you to function optimally at work and support your health.

Nutrition – Feed the body and mind with consistent regular intake of nutrient dense fuel and proper hydration. Emphasize plant based foods, healthy fats and lean proteins. Hydrate with 6 to 8 glasses of water, limit beverages with sugar, caffeine and alcohol. Avoid or limit highly process foods, fast foods that are high in calories, unhealthy fats and chemicals. Schedule times for eating and allow enough time to avoid eating in a rush to allow for better food choices and digestion.

Rest – Allow for proper and adequate rest, both physical and mental to restore and renew. Typically 7-8 hours is required to feel rested. Sleeping longer than 9 hours can be counterproductive. Health will suffer if you regularly go into sleep debt and then try to make it up by sleeping longer. Shift work and prolonged shifts require extra planning to get healthy rest. Proper rest allows for the body to repair, improves mental acuity and focus.

Detoxify -Maintain a clean and healthy body from the inside and out by limiting our exposure to toxins both physical and mental. Diet plays a major role as discussed above. Mental detoxification can be achieved with positive social interactions, spiritual practice , music, the arts and inspirational media. Practice meditation, keep a journal, pursue a hobby, volunteer. Nurture a healthy mental attitude of gratitude, faith, service and connection.

Exercise – Make time for daily exercise. Health and fitness are maintained and improved with 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity 4-6 times per week. To offset over working some muscle groups, exercise in a way that moves all major muscle groups through a full ranges of motion. Select stretch and strengthening exercises that work joints and muscles in a opposing movement to balance activity. Exercise away from work that promotes better fitness helps you perform better at work and play. Exercise improves energy, elevates mood, reduces stress and enhances your immune system.

Movement and Posture

Many jobs today are sedentary in nature. Prolonged sitting at a computer work station, or driving a vehicle. Too much sitting has been shown to be bad for your health. Other jobs involve standing at a factory repeating the same movements over a full shift. Repetitive bending twisting, lifting and carrying are common physical tasks in industrial, delivery, retail, service and hospitality jobs. All job tasks tend to be repetitive and cause stress to the same areas. Over working some areas of the body and enduring long periods of inactivity for others. Overuse injuries, joint degeneration and strain injuries can occur. Maintain health and prevent injury by using movement, body mechanics, exercise, ergonomics and posture breaks. The idea is to incorporate movement into your routine if your job is sedentary. A short walk can get the blood flowing, muscle moving and improve mood and mental performance. Proper body mechanics and strong postures can decrease wear and tear on joints and reduce fatigue.   Use posture breaks to reduce stress and tension. Bruegger’s Postural Relief Exercise is great for any person in prolonged sitting or forward bending at work. Performed sitting or standing, the exercises reduces rounded shoulders and forward head posture.

Health is Your Asset

Your health is your greatest asset for work and quality of life. Use these ideas to maintain your health, perform better, enjoy the fruits of your labor and maintain the quality of life you want.

Yours in health,

Dr. Bret Wilson


Dr. Bret Wilson wants you to move, play and live free from neck and back pain.  For more information about chiropractic, posture, exercise, and how to make better choices about your health visit our website www.bellwestchiro.com.  Find a chiropractor in your area to help you with safe and effective health care.  http://www.acatoday.org/Find-a-Doctor


  1.  http://businessjournal.gallup.com/content/22375/Your-Job-May-Killing.aspx#1
  2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/18/managing-work-stress_n_3454501.html
  3. http://sleepfoundation.org/ask-the-expert/how-atypical-work-schedules-affect-performance
  4. http://hbr.org/2006/10/sleep-deficit-the-performance-killer
  5. http://www.integrity-authenticity-love.com/celebrating-work/
  6. http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/walking-helps-us-think
  7. http://discovertheregion.org/blog/dr-bret-wilson-correct-posture-month/
  8. http://www.chiropracticatmagill.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Brueggers-Postural-Relief-Exercise.pdf