Can This Marriage Be Saved? I’m Too Scared to Go Back to Work

February 17, 2011 at 11:11 am , by

With the economy such as it is (crummy) and jobs such as they are (scarce), the dilemma of this week’s endangered couple is one that so many families are now facing. Jan, a 44-year-old stay-at-home mom of three tweens, worked as an endocrinologist before she had children and is contemplating reentering the workforce. Her husband, Scott, is currently the sole provider for the family but recently had a serious heart attack at the young age of 44. His health scare has made them rethink their arrangement, and Jan’s not so sure she can handle it.

Jan’s turn She lives in constant fear that Scott’s going to drop dead, and though she tries not to burden him with her worries, she’s totally consumed with anxiety. Several bad experiences with childcare made the couple decide that Jan should stay home after their third child was born, but she loved and missed her work and the company of other doctors. As much as she’d like to go back to it, she’d need to be recertified, which involves taking classes and exams, and the thought of it terrifies her. She’s completely fixated on Scott’s health and what will happen to the family if something happens to her husband.

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Are Long Hours At Work Killing You? Maybe.

May 13, 2010 at 3:15 pm , by

work stressThe upside to working overtime: time and a half (if you’re lucky) and a few nice words from your boss (also if you’re lucky).

The downside (besides having to stay at work): increased risk for coronary heart disease.

People who work more than 10 hours a day are at a 60 percent greater risk for heart attack, angina and other heart-related conditions, compared with those who log in seven-hour days, according to a  new study in the European Heart Journal. One explanation for this association: type-A personalities—folks who tend to be anxious, competitive and tense—are the ones who are more likely to spend the extra hours behind the desk.

The study looked at over 4,000 men and 1,700 women, with an average follow-up of 11 years. While men were more likely to report working overtime, we’d be willing to speculate that the women felt the stress more acutely. Yes, men are pitching in, but women still tend to have more responsibility in the home. So the next time you’re thinking of spending a late night at the office, ask yourself if you really need to stay or if you can finish the task in the morning—your heart might thank you for it.

Photo courtesy: stuartpilbrow

Categories: Health | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Your Cube Is Your Castle: Make Over Your Workplace

March 12, 2010 at 12:04 pm , by

cubeYou make over your wardrobe. You make over your workout. So why not make over your workplace? After all, if you’re like me, you probably spend a good part of your waking hours chained to a desk. Try these easy steps to make your 9-to-5 a little happier and healthier.

1.  Upgrade your paper cup for a BPA-free water bottle. They’re eco-friendly, chic and, of course, help you stay hydrated during the day. (If you feel draggy and tired, that can be a sign of dehydration. Water can perk you up!)

2.  Get thee some hand sanitizer! (And Clorox wipes): Flu season may be ending, but germs are still lurking. One of the worst offenders? Your desk. Office desks harbor almost 400 times more bacteria than a public toilet, according to Arizona researchers. While toilets are typically cleaned regularly, we wipe down our desks less often. Eating at your desk doesn’t help much either. Keep alcohol wipes handy for cleaning your mouse, keyboard and phone.

3.  Add a little green. Keeping a plant in your cube can brighten your mood more than having a window office, say researchers at Texas State University. They keep your air cleaner, too. Houseplants may help lower indoor ozone levels (laser printers can emit the stuff) up to 33 percent faster than if you didn’t go green, according to a study from Pennsylvania State University. The likely explanation: Plants break down toxins and add surface area, both of which speed up the breakdown of ozone. Too much ozone can damage your heart and lungs, so try cheap, easy-to-grow houseplants such as snake plant, spider plant and golden pothos.

4.  Keep a pair of free weights handy and pump up your downtime, literally. A couple of reps can help clear your mind when you’re trying to tackle a problem or get over writer’s block. An added bonus: Resistance training blasts fat, boosts your metabolism and builds stronger bones. Try one of these exercises.

5.  Stock up on healthy snacks, like almonds or these 90 Calorie Fiber One bars. When the afternoon slump hits, step away from the vending machine and reach for some real fuel.

Photo courtesy of Chris Blakeley

Categories: Health | Tags: , , | 1 Comment