Why Do We Allow Work To Take Priority Over Our Health?

This morning, I stood in line at the post office. I conversed with the lady at the counter like I do every week when I send out Self Love Beauty Beautiful Me Collection items. We chatted like we always do, and I asked her how she has been. She told me that she has worked for the last 20 days and finally had two days off. One in which she slept a full day and missed most of Christmas with her family. I could see the extreme exhaustion in her face. As we continued to chat, the man next to us shouted with pride that he had worked the last 23 days and that the lady was lucky to have two days off.

In my head, I kept thinking, “Why do we always say with pride how much we work?”

As he stood in the background boasting about how much he has worked, she and I continued to chat. She shared that she had made more money this year than ever before (great right?!?), but she also said that she told her manager she would give back all the money for more days off and more sleep. Her health was going down the drain.

I kept thinking, there has to be another way. How are we driving people to exhaustion? How are we allowing ourselves to risk our health for more money?

When did the paycheck outweigh our health?

More times than not, we are hearing about people with mental illness, anxiety, stress and the list goes on. And in many of these cases, these issues are related to overworking ourselves.

This past year, I am the first one to say I was like the lady at the post office and probably still am a little. I worked to exhaustion, worked overtime, and missed important parts of my life. And why? What was the purpose? Did some of those hours actually matter or did I just waste time working when I could have prioritized my health and happiness?

Health is a form of self-love and self-respect to your body. Sometimes we don’t even realize how well our body should feel because we choose to overwork it. Our brains and bodies deserve a break!

But what people do not understand is that everyone has a choice. While this is easier said than done, you get to choose what matters to you more. Starting tomorrow, what do you plan on changing? How badly have you ruined your health by overworking yourself?

And let’s get back to the man that boasted about his hours of work. When did the number of hours you work signify how successful you are?

This bothers me.

Society teaches us  that the number of hours we put in validates our level of success. Which is not true. I cannot say I have never talked about the hours I put in to prove that I am successful, but honestly, I’ve always envied anyone who puts their family, friends, and health first.

“The first wealth is health.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Think about it and step back. Do you put work over your health? Do you work yourself to exhaustion? What value has that brought you? Have the days blended together because of work overkill?

This is a moment of reflection and realization of what is important. Sometimes the hours you put in do not make up for what you’ve lost. I challenge each of you to take a moment to make a change. Our lives will pass by in a blink of an eye, and let’s not take our health or happiness for granted.

Originally written by Lisa Thompson on SelfLoveBeauty.

Photo by Josefa nDiaz on Unsplash


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