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Being active, good nutrition key to wellness while working overtime

06/30/2015 01:37 EDT | Updated 06/30/2016 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - Working overtime can take its toll on both body and mind.

Liane Davey is vice-president of team solutions with Lee Hecht Harrison Knightsbridge, which specializes in talent recruitment and development.

Here are her strategies to support physical and mental health while working extended hours — and knowing when it may be time to move on.

1. TALK TO YOUR BOSS

Davey said workers should broach worries about overtime "directly and authentically" with supervisors and try to negotiate a workable solution.

"Saying something like: 'I've been paying attention to the number of hours I've been working recently and I'm concerned that it's eating into evenings and weekends more than I would like,'" said Davey, author of "You First: Inspire Your Team to Grow Up, Get Along, and Get Stuff Done."

While they may be happy to put in extra time to address urgent needs, Davey said workers should be able to express concerns if the practice is becoming too common.

"The biggest thing the employee can do is really to understand their role. If there are things that go beyond their role, being in a position to ask: 'Who else might be able to assist with this?'"

2. EAT WELL

"It sounds silly, but most executives I see who are going from 7 a.m. meetings to 7 p.m. meetings, at 3 o'clock out comes their little bag of almonds and their apple slices." They're putting nutrition into their bodies, she noted.

3. MEET AND MOVE

Davey recommended taking work on the go by scheduling walking meetings.

"It's good for you to get out and get some fresh air, some physical exercise. But it's also probably going to give you back a little bit of that creativity that's been stifled from spending 15 hours in an office."

4. KNOW WHEN TO GO

"I think the vast majority of employees underplay their own value and therefore don't have the confidence to say: 'I've put in a really good day's work today. It's 7 o'clock. I'm going home.'

"That's where it really comes to knowing yourself and making a call of what you want from your life, and where your mental health fits into the equation for you," Davey said.

"If this is a place that chews you up and is going to try to spit you out, is it a place that you want to work over the long haul? What's the culture and does it fit you and does it suit you?"

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