Work is medicine

Medicine is described as: "The science of diagnosing, treating or preventing disease and other damage to the body or mind; or it could be the branch of this science encompassing treatment by drugs, diet, exercise, and other non surgical means; or something that services as a remedy or corrective."[i]

  • What if work is medicine?
  • What if work can help with our everyday well-being and vitality, and possibly even play a role in our physical and physiological state of health?
  • What if work is in itself a benefit?
  • Is it worth us exploring the ways in which work could actually be very good for us?

What if work taken with quality on a regular basis can provide a solid foundation for a balanced and steady life?

We often hear it is difficult to thrive without work, particularly paid work, and that unemployment can be linked with poor physical and mental health, and poverty.

‘Benefits’ of work are often just another word for ‘perks’ such as free or low cost access to the local leisure centre, free parking, your pay or pension, subsidised meals at the staff canteen, etc.

But what of the other ‘perks’ or benefits of work ... in other words, how can work be medicine?

We could say that being employed is generally considered to be a good thing. Whether work is paid, or unpaid it can provide a number of things that people thrive on, for instance:

  • Work offers a way of putting structure in your life. You may groan at getting up each day at a regular time when the alarm clock goes off, but do we not feel that there is something ‘steadying’ about that regularity, and something that, if ever we have had time off sick for instance we can actually miss? We often miss the daily ritual of work that is perhaps far more supportive than we realise.
  • Work offers a sense of purpose, of dedication, and of commitment. This does not mean that we use work to give us an identity, but once employed there is a regular commitment and it is balancing, both mental and physical, and supports us, which can provide a sense of focus in our lives.
  • Work offers us contact with other people. Whether we realise this or not, we generally flourish with contact with other people. We essentially love being with others. Yes, there are times when, for instance at work, it can feel intense or difficult particularly if work place relationships have gone awry, but essentially there can be a sense of fulfilment and joy in sharing that we experience when working with others. Most of us actually truly enjoy working and being with others, especially working for a common purpose.
  • Work offers us an opportunity to use and share what it is we have to offer. Everybody is talented in one way or another. It’s not about how many qualifications you’ve got, or what grades. You can be great at maths, or it may be that you are very well organised – every work place can do with someone who brings order and organisation! It may also be that you can engage and connect well with other people – every one of us brings something of value to the whole. In-truth, we all want to express what it is that we innately bring – and it benefits all around us when we do.
  • Work also offers an opportunity to help and support others and to serve others in whatever work you do. Essentially, on this planet (see article Group Work on Earth Part 1 and Part 2) there is a lot that is needed, and no one can do it all alone. What if our greatest work is done as a harmonious group? Working together, supporting one another when needed, is a great way to work – essentially we really do love working for a true purpose and, when it is for the true benefit of the all, we know it is serving. This in itself makes work a joy.
  • As well as contributing to a greater purpose, work is also a way of providing us with constant learning about ourselves and the world around us.

This IS medicine

If we take into consideration all the above, are we not ‘paid’ time and time again for our work, through:

  • the benefits of structure, focus, and commitment
  • meeting and connecting with people
  • expressing that special something that is what we ourselves bring
  • offering our regular contribution to the daily lives of those around us (those we serve)

All of this IS medicine

It is the kind of medicine that our body loves, and flourishes on

Next time you are at work ...

  • Take time to consider the benefits
  • Take time to realise what it is about work that you love
  • Take time to enjoy work
  • Realise just how beneficial work is and that work is an investment
  • Realise that work is an integral part of our health and well-being, and ...

Consider the possibility that work itself is medicine


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BurnoutCareerEmpowermentHealthMedicineReturning to work