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Working Two Jobs

More and more people are working two jobs today, often because of economic necessity. Working these long hours and keeping up with household tasks frequently is both physically and mentally demanding. Surprisingly, these physical and mental stresses often produce similar consequences and actually exacerbate each other. Still, there are also differences between the physical and mental demands of working two jobs. Recognizing and understanding the increased physical and mental demands of working two jobs is the first step toward alleviating stress.

II. Similarities

Working Two JobsWorking two jobs is obviously going to leave less time for leisure, rest, and sleep. The additional stress, both physical and mental, associated with working two jobs will naturally result in greater fatigue for a person. One would think that fatigue would cause a person to fall asleep quickly and to sleep soundly when he or she goes to bed. However, this is not the case. People who work two jobs regularly report that they suffer from sleep disturbances, such as insomnia, regardless of whether their fatigue results from physical stress, mental stress, or both. These sleep disturbances, in turn, cause people to become even more fatigued. Even if both jobs lack inherent mental stress but are physically demanding, the additional fatigue can make both jobs more mentally demanding. The reverse is true as well. In addition, both the physical and mental demands of working two jobs can negatively impact a person’s immune system, possibly resulting in a person contracting diseases that he or she would normally fight of. The fatigue from physical stress seems to weaken the immune system. But increased mental strain, in a process that is not fully understood, has the same effect. It, too, weakens the immune system. Furthermore, both the physical and mental demands of working two jobs can lead to substance abuse. The greater physical demands of working two jobs can lead to physical pain. Some people begin to abuse pain killers as a result so that they can continue to work the second job. Physical fatigue can also cause people to abuse stimulants in an effort to alleviate the physical demands of working two jobs. Similarly, increased mental demands can lead to substance abuse. Mental stress not only causes depression, but it can also cause anxiety, anger, headaches, and family conflict. To combat these symptoms, some moonlighters begin to abuse both legal and illegal drugs.

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