With work-life balance severely off-kilter in most cities, it raises concerns about the mental and physical toll wrought by the chaotic work schedule.
The retail business in India is booming with technology becoming ubiquitous and leading the wolves' pack is online giant Amazon. Amidst this cutthroat competition and engorging consumerism, Amazon's India manager Amit Agarwal has sent an unlikely message for his employees. In an email earlier this week, Amit ordered his team to log off and get a life. The email also enlisted directives to stop responding to emails or work calls between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. in the interest of work-life harmony. Amit's words have resonated with workforce across India at the time when the consequences of 'being connected' have become a hot topic of debate. “A lot of times we confuse what we love doing with what we are good at doing. I got into computers because I was really good at it. So you running the rat race and everyone's pretty much doing the same. And it's not just the IT sector that has these strenuous working hours,” says Viren Vaz, a wood working expert from Mumbai who quit his 15-year-old IT job to start an enterprise
‘V for Wood’ , fulfilling his passion for carpentry. “There isn't a single industry that allows its employees to rest. You start out in your 20s, work hard to fit into the culture but after sometime, you would want to slow down,” says Viren. Everyday on an average, a person spends a good amount of time commuting to work and most metro cities are choc block with traffic during peak hours, “We spend most of the time commuting to work, living at work, but you shrug it off and say ‘everyone's doing it, so why can't I? I don't have an option!’ It's at that point you need to sit back and think about this balance,” he explains.
Stress caused by work will inadvertently affect one's mental health and there are no two ways around it but to log off and get a life, “It does affect people psychologically because you're more productive when you've had your rest. You've gone home or done other things, either you've exercised, watched TV or done nothing. You're not always on flight and fright mode. The biggest problem with working long hours is that your brain is never at rest. You are constantly checking your email. When you log off you actually have time to rejuvenate. Your brain and body need that time. It's required because in the long run, you'll burn yourself out,” says clinical psychologist Devanshi Jain.
Another way to strike a balance between your personal and professional life is by writing clear cut goals, says Devanshi, “Write down clear cut goals, which are not only about work but also your personal goals. And make sure you are working towards those. And that way, you are more conscious about your time and have more control over what you do,” she suggests.
Sleep disorders, be it insomnia or sleep deprivation, have long been associated with work-related stress and the inability to rest and relax leads to weight gain, sleep apnea and related disorders. Various studies have proven that stressed people sleep less and are more anxious. Work stress can also trigger the lack of sleep says Dr. Anamika Rathore, ENT Surgeon, and sleep apnea specialist “Stress causes less sleep and frequent awakening. Your mind is stimulated especially when you are stressed, and surrounded with your laptop and gadgets. First thing you have to do is to just switch off. Lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep can lead to daytime tiredness, affect your concentration and make you sleep deprived. This sleep deprivation then starts affecting other organs. Later, all this puts pressure on the heart, leading to a rise in blood pressure, hypertension, diabetes and can also lead to a stroke,” says Anamika adding that a lot of people believe that late night workouts leads to better sleep but that’s a misnomer. “Your are more stimulated and might actually not get sleep,” she says.
According to The World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision, published by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the fertility rate of Indians has plummeted by over 50% between 1975 and now. The report also highlights that the fertility rate among Indians is expected to fall further in the near future. Doctors believe that stress can be a major factor when it comes to decline in fertility. “Stress is a thing which cannot be eliminated from our lives. Stress can manifest into lower sperm count or irregular ovulation,” informs Dr. Hrishikesh Pai Infertility doctor and IVF specialist.
Today people are also more career conscious and choose to start families late, where infertility rates are higher in that age group and health might take a back seat in the pursuit of striking a work-life balance, “Most people are planning late and lot of older people are coming for infertility treatment because the age of marriage is going up in both men and women” says Dr. Hrishikesh.