Health, Occupational Health, Diseases, Illnesses, Entrepreneurs, Healthcare, CEO, Mental Health, Stress, HMO.
By Ireoluwa Bello.
For Oyemaja Executives.
Groucho Marx once said, “While money can't buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.” This might sound extreme, given that the possibility of a healthy and wealthy life is not farfetched with technology and innovation. Still, the evidence doesn’t lie that greatness has a price. Most times, a fat price tag. A simple way to understand this is the work that goes into being better than others. Prices will differ considering the field or task but being better than your peers will cost something, physically, mentally, socially, whichever the universe fancy.
Persisting conditions aggravate health challenges when coupled with hyperfocus, lack of adequate sleep/rest, and general mental and physical health negligence. However, facts remain that most would manage their health better if the weight were off their shoulders.
While there isn't an exhaustive list of diseases specific to entrepreneurs and CEOs who are workaholics, some health issues tend to be more prevalent amongst this group due to their high-stress, high-demand lifestyles. Let’s look at some common illnesses that are popular package deals for CEOs and entrepreneurs.
This is a state of extreme exhaustion caused by prolonged stress and overwork. Putting in the hours for a workaholic is mostly to the detriment of their health. Burnout is not technically an illness but more of a gate pass to all illnesses. See it like a car overheating, almost about to break down. The immunity is low, and the body is open to various invasions. This is always the starting point of a generally unhealthy life. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, has openly discussed his struggles with burnout and mental health, admitting that his workaholic tendencies have affected his well-being.
2. Mental health Disorders:
The popular saying, “Heavy lies the head that wears the crown,” can almost be taken literally in this context. The mind is the seat of consciousness and needs the utmost care to function appropriately. The work intensity of most managerial portfolios might leave little time for healthy mental breaks. Common mental health diseases are anxiety and depression. The pressure to perform, constant deadlines, and lack of work-life balance can take a toll on mental well-being. CEOs like Apple’s Tim Cook and McCann World Group’s Jeff Raider have spoken out about mental health and openly supported mental health projects.
3. Insomnia and sleep disorder:
Experts recommend seven to nine hours of sleep with a risk of low productivity and higher chances of health problems with anything less than seven. Long work hours and excessive stress can lead to sleep disturbances, insomnia, and other sleep-related disorders. Lack of quality sleep further exacerbates the risk of other health problems. A good example is using a phone and refusing to charge it or keeping the battery life at twenty percent, which is not wise. Marissa Mayer, former CEO of Yahoo, was known for her intense work habits, reportedly working long hours and sleeping very little during her tenure.
4. Substance Abuse and Addiction:
To keep up with the workload, get as little sleep as possible, and over-stretch the body’s limit, some workaholics turn to substances to be at their topmost at all times. It said that “one cannot cheat nature,” but some drugs are made to debunk that assumption. What is quite assuming is the short-term effect of cheating nature. To keep up the façade, the abuse intensifies. Howard Hughes, a legendary entrepreneur, aviator, and film producer, was known for his obsessive-compulsive tendencies and workaholic behaviour. Hughes' mental health deteriorated, leading to seclusion and rumoured substance abuse.
5. Gastrointestinal Problems:
Stress and irregular eating habits can lead to digestive issues such as acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and other gastrointestinal problems. Workaholics are known to go long hours without food or poor choice of food. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, has shared his packed schedules and unconventional habits, like fasting and ice baths. These habits, coupled with high stress, can contribute to gastrointestinal problems.
6. Obesity and Metabolic Issues:
Irregular eating patterns, reliance on fast food, and lack of time for exercise can contribute to weight gain and metabolic issues like obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Many tech entrepreneurs and CEOs are known for their sedentary lifestyles due to long hours spent at desks and computers. Sedentary behaviour, stress, and irregular eating patterns can contribute to obesity and metabolic issues.
7. Relationship Strain and Social Isolation:
Overcommitment to work can strain personal relationships and lead to social isolation, impacting mental health and overall well-being. The relationship in our lives ground us and reminds us of what matters. In those times of intense pursuit of greatness and wealth, this relationship suffers, and some die. While some relationships cannot keep up with the new lifestyle, some are sacrificed on the altar of neglect. The downside is its ripple effect on homes, children, and friendships. Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook, is often noted for his intense focus on work and his company. Reports suggest that his dedication to his work led to relationship strain and social isolation, which can impact mental health and well-being.
It's important to remember that while these examples highlight potential health issues among workaholic entrepreneurs and CEOs, not all individuals in these roles will experience the same challenges. The wealth amassed by these successful individuals goes into heavy health care and general health maintenance. Also, many new-age entrepreneurs implement strategies to maintain a healthier work-life balance with regular exercise, a balanced diet, quality sleep, and stress management techniques. Therefore, the examples should serve as cautionary tales rather than definitive outcomes. If you're an entrepreneur or CEO, it's important to recognise the signs of potential health issues and seek support when needed.
Oyemaja Executives [healthcare]