Steph McGovern visits James Cook University Hospital
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Admired by over 100,000 followers on Instagram for always posting real and relatable content, the former BBC Breakfast presenter shared a picture which she captioned: “Here is a pic [sic] of me looking rough, let me explain why…” before going on to share some of the physical effects her hectic work life has had on her health.
In the past McGovern has spoken plainly about her suffering with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which after a gut test revealed that the health of her gut was in the worst third of the population.
But within the post, the star goes on to explain one of the reasons why her IBS flares up, something she experiences with “whatever job” she has been doing.
Within the Instagram post she commented: “Whenever I get to the end of a long run I get poorly. I’ve always had this whatever job I’ve been doing. I bet lots of people are the same.
“This time I have a bad ear infection and blisters in/around my ear/hair/face. It has been agony. I’m on a load of different drugs to try and treat infections and ease pain.
“Some of them are antibiotics, which has totally buggered up my gut health (you know how obsessed I am about that) so my IBS is back in full swing being a total b*tch.”
With the comments flooded with love and best wishes from fellow celebrities and viewers of the show, McGovern finished her post by offering some advice for others who might be feeling rundown.
She added: “Anyway, I’m not meaning to moan (it’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things and I’ll be fine after some rest) – I just wanted to explain why I’ve been a bit quieter on here.
“And also to say, if you’re knackered/rundown/working too hard then please look after yourself and don’t let your health take a back seat like I have.
“P.s. I should also say thanks to my amazing make-up team who have been brilliantly disguising my hideousness on telly! As well as reminding me when to take my tablets! And to our brilliant resident doc @irondoctorhaz who has been helping me work out what was wrong… he has seen a lot of minging pics of my blistered ears this week as well as getting a running commentary on my vomiting and diarrhoea.”
Having suffered from numerous infections, blisters in and around her face and a flare up of IBS, it is clear that McGovern needed some time for rest and recuperation. But what is the cause of all these ailments and how are they linked to “working too hard”.
Back in 2021, alarming new research found that people working more than 54 hours a week are at major risk of dying from overwork. In fact, it was killing three-quarters of a million people each year.
In a paper published in May of that year, authors from institutions including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) suggest that, each year, three-quarters of a million people are dying from ischaemic heart disease and stroke, due to working long hours.
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A post shared by Steph McGovern (@stephlunch)
In addition to an increase in heart disease, there are plenty of other ways that working too much can impact your health. If an individual is overworked, cortisol levels (the primary stress hormone) increases which can lead to brain fog, high blood pressure and a host of other health problems.
An individual who is overworked may not be able to get enough sleep, eat during the day, not exercise enough, turn to drugs or alcohol and start to neglect relationships, which are all ways in which an individual’s physical health can be negatively affected.
For example, not eating and skipping meals can cause your blood sugar levels to drop, leading to low energy and even the chance you likely binge on unhealthy foods later in the day. Whilst a lack of exercise can increase an individual’s risk of depression, high blood pressure and risk of heart disease.
Although there are always times when work can be stressful, when working more than 55 hours has become part of a normal routine, individuals may be suffering from what is referred to as a burnout.
Some signs that you might have an unhealthy work-life balance include:
- You stop taking care of yourself.
- You’re not focused on your mental health.
- Your work no longer feels meaningful.
- You constantly worry about your job performance.
- You have trouble establishing boundaries between home and work.
- You’re lonely.
When under stress, the body’s immune system has an innate immune response which provides an immediate and non-specific response to infectious pathogens (such as bacteria and viruses). This can lead to an increased risk of tuberculosis, herpes simplex virus reactivation, shingles, ulcers, and other infectious diseases.
Some people deal with stress by engaging in unhealthy behaviours, such as smoking, drinking, or excessive eating — all of which will contribute to the chances of getting infections. Therefore, having a healthy work-life balance can help individuals not only feel more productive, but healthier overall.
Some tips to help relieve work stress includes:
- Establish boundaries
- Set a routine
- Let go of guilt
- Finish on time
- Take all entitled holidays.
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