Karoshi: It was in reading, “The Power of Full Engagement” by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, that I was first introduced to the term. It is a Japanese word that can best be translated into “death resulting from overwork.” It is when a worker suddenly dies from overworking themselves (mostly due to stroke or heart disease). In actually has been considered an epidemic in Japan. Companies have put in place limits on overtime and mandatory vacation to combat the problem. There is no such term in the English language… Perhaps because we as a society, tend to applaud those who are so focused on work. The idea of overworking one’s self is also applicable to the sporting realm. Many athletes sustain serious injury due to “over-training.”
The science of physiology shows us that any work must be followed by rest. There is a finite amount of energy and that energy must be restored.
It is so important to have a great work ethic. People are applauded for their ability to multitask (which basically means they are doing a bunch of things about 1/2 as good or less than they would do if they focused on one thing at a time). Phones, laptops, tablets all ensure that we are no more than a simple “ding” away from email, documents, and our work at any given moment. More and more people bring their devices with them on vacation and never truly “unplug.”
Research shows us that over 50% of the population brings work with them while taking “time off.” Sometimes the excuse is efficiency (it will make it so much easier to do stuff now than to come back to a big pile on Monday). But just as in the case of an athlete overtraining and not allowing their body to recover, working on our days off (even just for a little bit) ensures we are never truly recovering 100%.
Look at it this way: if your job was to jump rope all day long, then on the weekends when you were supposed to take a break to recover your much-needed energy, you hopped a lot less, maybe only every 15 minutes instead of for the full hour. Would you ever truly recover? When we exercise, we create minor tears in our muscle fibers, it’s the rest that allows them to grow in order to handle the exercise with greater ease next time. When we don’t allow ourselves time to recover, we just tear, and tear and tear… we can all see where that leads (OUCH!)
If we are always going, going, going: mentally, physically, emotionally, (which is ALL TO COMMON in today’s “workplace”), these tears still occur. It may not be in the physical sense in our muscles, but in our souls, our minds, our drive. If we don’t take the time to re-charge, re-create (recreate) these energy stores, we just grind, and grind and grind ourselves down. Even with the best intent, that type of “work-ethic” is a slow death.
I’m not saying don’t work hard, in fact you should work as hard as you can during the time you are supposed to work. Then recover with the same amount of enthusiasm. Many people have gotten their energy out of balance either on the path to complete boredom, only putting in some effort during their time (because it is so much easier to maintain an energy starved state… just do everything with partial care, partial connection, and partial satisfaction). When we don’t allow time to recover our energy stores, we become energy hoarders, we chip away monotonously both at work and at home. That’s one way our bodies protect themselves.
But if we can work hard, be full of life, and fully present in what we are doing and then take the time to reload that energy, the cycle can go on and on and true GROWTH occurs.
On another note: we were meant to be vibrant, happy and connected. Chiropractic care is ESSENTIAL to helping your nervous system (the powerhouse of every organ, tissue and cell in your body) stay connected, engaged and fully turned on. Chiropractic also helps with recovering spent energy, so yeah… Chiropractic is VERY important to your health, your ability to function and your ability to re-charge!
So make a pledge to your family, your work, yourself… be fully engaged in what you are doing, plug in 100%. Then when it is time to unplug, UNPLUG 100% TOO!
I’d be truly honored to help in any way I can!
-Joel Lindeman DC