How Nigerians in the diaspora reduce their lifespan by working over 55 hours a week.
As a Nigerian living in the diaspora, I have observed some character or culture flaws most Nigerians always exhibit different from the culture of their environment or community.
In the UK, employed workers always look forward to going on holiday, weekend break or some sort of fanfare. Nigerians are always known to work for 52 weeks in a year with little or no planned holiday.
Most of us use our annual leave allowance to attend burials, traditional marriage, parties also known as ‘owambe’, travel home for Christmas and Easter holiday. We all know that anytime we travel back to Nigeria for any ceremony, we are not actually having a proper holiday. Holiday is different from visiting family and friends.
Out of about six weeks annual leave, bringing out at least a week for a planned holiday which would entail 100% relaxation and fun is not asking for too much. I’m not saying people should not visit their loved ones back home, but we have to know the difference. Holiday is necessary to refresh one self and renew energy so that we can destress and improve our mental health and overall wellbeing
Most of us work for 8,9,10 long hours a day. Some of us even work for over 55 hours a week and this is not healthy.
The WHO has advised that, working over 55 hours a week can reduce one’s life span. According to WHO, long working hours are killing hundreds of thousands of people a year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The research found that working 55 hours or more a week was associated with a 35% higher risk of stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease, compared with a working week of 35 to 40 hours. The study, conducted with the International Labour Organization (ILO), also showed almost three quarters of those that died as a result of working long hours were middle-aged or older men. Often, the deaths occurred much later in life, sometimes decades later, than the long hours were worked.
So why do Nigerians living in the diaspora like working till they drop…well the reason is an offshoot of a typical Nigerian problem caused by economic hardship. People see working as a means of escaping poverty back home so when they find themselves abroad, they forget they are mere human beings who can break down. Part of healthy living entails bringing out time for relaxation. Travelling home for Christmas, Easter or attending one ceremony or the other is not relaxation. Once every year, stop working, go somewhere quiet…. Rest, sleep, explore and just do nothing.
Nigerians in the diaspora work so hard year in year out only to die of stress related illness afterwards. When you are sick. Your employer would replace you within days…
There is a place for play, your annual leave is for rest and holiday. Please create at least 10 days out of your annual leave entitlement for a planned gateway holiday. You don’t have to travel very far; it could just be a staycation in another city.
Like they say in Nigeria, problem no de finish, please look after yourself.
Article by Adaku Efuribe(Health Promotion Ambassador)