Ever feel your heart pounding in your chest? Ever feel like you’re going to have a heart attack? I know I do. There is a term for this in Japan, they call it Karoshi.
I first learned of this term while watching “Happy”, a Netflix documentary.
Karoshi is a Japanese word literally meaning “Death by Overwork”.
I hit pause on the remote. This is a REAL thing. I’ve felt stress and I’ve felt my heart pounding in my chest when I am exhausted and overworked. But I never really paid full attention to it before – until I heard what can happen as a result.
Case Studies on Karoshi:
Mr A worked at a major snack food processing company for as long as 110 hours a week (not a month) and died from heart attack at the age of 34. His death was approved as work-related by the Labour Standards Office.
Mr B, a bus driver, whose death was also approved as work-related, worked more than 3,000 hours a year. He did not have a day off in the 15 days before he had stroke at the age of 37.
Mr C worked in a large printing company in Tokyo for 4,320 hours a year including night work and died from stroke at the age of 58. His widow received a workers’ compensation 14 years after her husband’s death.
Ms D, a 22 year-old nurse, died from a heart attack after 34 hours’ continuous duty five times a month.
TWENTY-TWO years old? 34? 37? Is this you? Stress and age do have a correlation, but don’t underestimate the toll that stress can have on you.
Causes of Work Related Stress:
All-night, late-night or holiday work, both long and excessive hours.
Stress accumulated due to frustration at not being able to achieve the goals set by the company.
Forced resignation or dismissal from staff cutbacks.
Acting as the middle man for layoffs.
This really struck me and also resonated with me – and maybe for you, too.
What can you do to not be a victim of Karoshi?
How to Manage Stress
1. Exercise – a lot, cardio in particular, to work the heart.
2. Force yourself to take breaks. Set a timer and get up when it goes off. Working longer hours doesn’t mean better results. Unwavering self discipline in practice will change your life.
3. Find a vice. Hot showers, going camping, playing guitar – do something that allows you to feel Zen.
4. Diet. What you put in your body plays a critical role in your output. Amp up your fruits and vegetables and lower your caffeine and alcohol.
5. Take walks. Apart from your exercise routine, get some fresh air during your work day.
6. Seek emotional balance. Spend time with the people who lift you up and give your heart joy.
7. Meditate. 20 minutes twice per day sit quietly with your eyes closed to calm your thoughts. Mental and emotional also effect the physical self. Meditation is proven to reduce stress.
In short, it’s just not worth it.
I had this post saved as a draft for some time. But today, I got a message from an ex coworker’s wife saying that he had passed. I spoke with him 12 hours ago and now he’s gone.
The reason, she said, is because of the first three reasons above – overworked, unachievable goals, and unforeseen dismissal for reasons not related to performance. He was stressed about work and he had a heart attack.
This message all too eerily reminds me of the phone call I got in November a few years ago. Richard was working at his desk when suddenly he had an aneurism that led to a stroke, and he instantly passed.
The saddest part of both of those stories?
They both left behind young children. Robert has a newborn baby boy, less than 6 months old, and a daughter whom he helped with homework every night. Richard had a four-year old daughter who considered her dad her best friend.
Now, because of unnecessary stress, they aren’t able to see their children grow. They’ve left their wives behind and they have become only memories.
Stress is a serious thing. No matter what path you take in life, you will always be okay. If you find yourself in a situation where you’re overstressed, get the courage to make a change for a path with more balance. You owe it to yourself and to your family, and to the lessons you can leave for future generations.
In several studies, he concluded that “most of us thrive by making constant progress and feeling a sense of purpose”
Extreme overworking, trying to impress the boss, getting your life out of balance – these are not heroism. Even a step beyond corporate slavery, it’s tragically fatal.
Life isn’t all about work. It’s about feeling a sense of purpose, and making an impact. When you create, when you give something of yourself, you want to see your work rewarded.
“Ignoring the performance of people is almost as bad as shredding their effort before their eyes,” Ariely says.
What can you do if you aren’t feeling rewarded? Change jobs, become your own boss. But, do not fall into the trap of overworking and giving all of yourself, leaving your family behind, only to have your work not be rewarded. It’s not worth it. Wouldn’t you rather become a case study about what you accomplished?
Stress is manageable. You have to work at it. But working at reducing stress – THAT is worth it.
Source of case studies and causes https://www.ilo.org/safework/info/publications/WCMS_211571/lang–en/index.htm
Maintaining a consistent workout regime is easy when you’re operating on a routine – but we know the digital nomad life makes it hard to stick to the same schedule every day. New surroundings and jet lag can turn exercise into a struggle and challenge our motivations to break a sweat. No matter where you’re traveling to and how long you’re staying there, sticking to a workout routine is tough when you’re far away from your home base.
Gyms and personal trainers may not be readily available everywhere but if you have access to technology and a Wi-Fi connection there are plenty of apps that can help you kick your butt into gear. Apps are the perfect way to stick to your exercise program when you’re on the road because it allows you to workout anywhere you can stretch out, requires little equipment, and cost way less than a gym membership. Here are our picks for the top 6 Workout Apps for Digital Nomads and Travelers.
1. Seven Available on: iOS, Android Cost: Free with in-app purchases to additional workouts If squats and planks are your thing, this is the workout app for you. Seven takes you through challenging 7-minute workouts using only your body weight. Don’t let the time fool you – each workout has been scientifically designed to provide the maximum workout in the shortest amount of time. The idea is that you do each of these workouts daily; if you miss one day, you lose a “life” and losing three lives in a month means you have to start all over again. No internet connection is required once the app is downloaded and you can leave music playing in a background app so you have a beat to workout to. Everyone has 7-minutes in their day so no excuses!
2. Sworkit Available on: iOS, Android Cost: Free for lite version; paid subscription to access more content and features When you open the app, Sworkit asks you to choose from four different areas to focus on: strength, cardio, yoga, or stretching. Then you select the workout type, how long you want to work out for, and Sworkit will guide you through the video exercise – no equipment necessary. You can also create your own custom workout by combining different exercises based on your preference and what training type you want to target. There’s also an option for a quick five-minute workout that combines a series of cardio and strength exercises for a small boost of energy to start your day.
3. Headspace Available on: iOS, Android Cost: Free for basic program; paid subscription to access more content Your mental health is just as important as your physical health so meditation should play a key part to your workout routine. Headspace walks you through guided meditation and helps you train your brain to slow down. The sessions are guided by founder Andy Puddicombe who has a voice that will easily put your mind to rest. Their free program, Take 10, is a foundational 10-session meditation that lasts 10 minutes each. It’s a great place to start if you haven’t meditated before. From there, you can transition to their paid subscriptions (monthly or yearly options) that gives you access to hundreds of hours of guided content that focuses on topics such as stress and creativity.
4. FitStar Personal Trainer Available on: iOS, Android Cost: Free for basic program; paid subscription to access more content and features FitStar is made for workouts on the go – their programs require no equipment, little space, and can be completed in the same amount of time as a shower. If you have clothes and shoes to exercise in, you’re good to go. When you open up the app, football legend Tony Gonzalez will take you through a 7-minute fit test so that FitStar can tailor workouts based on your fitness level. The workouts combine body weight exercises like jumping jacks, high knees, and lunges to increase your heart rate and burn off those calories. The FitStar Basic program is free and includes two workouts each week from their basic ‘Get Moving’ routine and Freestyle sessions.
5. Gaiam’s Yoga Studio Available on: iOS, Windows Phone Cost: $4.59 Yoga is a total mind-body workout that can be done at a park or in your hotel room. The Yoga Studio app offers over 65 classes to challenge both the beginner and expert yogi, and allows you to select the duration of the class and area of focus (maybe a little relaxation before you hit the sheets?). A teacher commentary takes you through each of the steps so you can follow along just like an in-person class and you can schedule classes right into your calendar. One of the coolest things about this app is that you can create your own classes by selecting the poses you’d like to do and Yoga Studio will link each one based on how naturally they transition to the next. There’s over 1,700 yoga clips so the combinations are endless.
6. MapMyRun Available on: iOS, Android, Windows Phone Cost: Free with in-app purchases Running is free and can be done anywhere so it’s the perfect exercise to do when you’re traveling. With MapMyRun, you’re able to track everything from your duration, distance, calories burned, and pace. Statistics are given to you in real time and you can let the app know when to alert you once you hit a certain distance interval. With all of your runs logged, you can view your workout history and compare with past workouts. One of the benefits of MapMyRun is that it uses the built-in GPS on your phone to track your run and displays where you are on a map at all times. So if you haven’t quite memorized your running route in a new city yet, MapMyRun will show you where you are in case you get lost.
What workout apps do you use when you’re on the road?
This is one of the big difference between travelers and “air commuters”: Travelers think about thing like exercise. They think long-term in terms of travel, and invest their time accordingly. These are the folks you see running on the beach, not laying down and tanning beside it.
The good news is, there are lots of gyms all over the world now. Even if a “gym” is just a free weights set in the basement of some hostel, you have a good chance of finding one wherever you go. Heck, I even see airports with gyms nowadays! So you shouldn’t ever think to yourself, “I don’t have time or space to exercise!” That’s just an excuse.
Before you jump up in the comments and start comparing me to that lady on Facebook, just hear me out. Exercise is important, and travel shouldn’t be an excuse to neglect it. You don’t need a ton of equipment to get decent exercise, and you don’t even need a lot of time.
In fact, I wanted to pass on this workout to you all to help encourage you all to stay fit while traveling. It only takes 15 minutes, and it was designed by a doctor to help your body fight off diseases and prevent future ailments. Because really, who wants to be dealing with health issues while traveling? No one, that’s who.
So to do this Fitocracy workout, you’ll need to use some dumbbells at an appropriate amount of weight for you. They’re often included at hotels, or at any local health club where you can stop in for a spell. But once you have them, just do these exercises in order:
Repeat the circuit after 30 seconds rest, and keep going until you hit 15 minutes. You don’t need a lot of room, and you sure don’t need a lot of equipment. So why not give it a shot?
Look, I’m not saying you should give up all the fun while traveling because you need to be responsible and perfectly health-conscious 100% of the time. I know I could never take that advice, because I like sleep and beer too much. So I won’t give that advice.
What I will say is this: When your body’s not your main problem, traveling’s a lot less stressful than when it is. Living and working anywhere means that you have to provide for yourself as if anywhere could be your home. And if that means stretching in the airport or lifting weights in your hostel’s basement, do it. It’ll make the rest of the trip much less stressful.
What do you do for exercise when you travel?
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