Is Your Career Impacting Your Longevity? An Analysis of the Least and Most Stressful Jobs

The most stressful jobs include personal assistants, teachers, social workers, and lawyers. Job stress can contribute to poor health, sleep issues, and lower energy levels. Finding ways to reduce stress at work and improve your overall health can increase overall health and longevity.

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Apr 2, 2021

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Quick Facts

  • Some careers have stress levels much higher than others
  • Stress can impact your overall health and even affect your longevity
  • There are ways to reduce job-related stress and improve your mental and physical well-being

Whether you’re in your first full-time job out of college or have been working a nine-to-five job for decades, chances are you’re familiar with the effects your job can have on your overall well-being. In addition to giving you financial security and benefits, full-time jobs also come with a unique set of stressors that have the potential to impact your longevity (in addition to causing you day-to-day stress).

Below, you’ll find information on the most stressful jobs (and the least stressful jobs, too) along with tips on how to manage a stressful job so that it doesn’t impact your life too much. Remember that your job shouldn’t dominate your whole life and that the right type of term life insurance (or permanent)can help keep both you and your loved ones protected.

Read on for more tips on protecting your longevity, or skip to the infographic for advice on what to do when you find yourself in a stressful position that may be affecting your longevity.

Your job is stressful enough. Don’t add the stress of worrying about your family’s financial security. Get free life insurance quotes right here.

What Are the Most Stressful Jobs?

Everyone, from a part-time bookstore worker to a high-powered attorney, will experience some type of stress in their job. To help you understand the effect a stressful job can have on your longevity, we assembled a list of the five most stressful full-time positions.

Personal Assistant

Movies like The Devil Wears Prada aren’t joking about some of the tougher aspects of being a personal assistant. Though being a PA means you get up close and personal with some high-ranking people, you’re in charge of every aspect of their jobs (and often their families’ lives) that they’re simply too busy to deal with, from getting their coffee to memorizing their contacts.

Personal assistants often rank highly on stressful job lists due to their long hours, the number of difficult tasks on their plates, and the number of errands and various responsibilities they’re in charge of on any given day. No workday looks exactly the same for a personal assistant, which can be stressful for those who prefer consistency.

Teacher

As if being in charge of teaching future legislators, doctors, or executives isn’t enough stress, teachers are often responsible for purchasing their own supplies, decorating their own classrooms, formulating their own lesson plans, and grading school work on their own time. This position is stressful but rewarding, though it can have a serious impact.

Much like social workers, teachers often absorb much of what their students are going through, from family issues to fights with friends. Teachers of elementary school children often have to parent their students as well as teach them, which can lead to a host of both physical and mental problems stressors.

Social Worker

Most social workers don’t know what to expect on any given day, which can cause anxiety and pressure for those who rely on a routine and prefer structure. Social workers often absorb the stress of their patients, ranging from families to hospital patients.

The stress social workers are required to help others through can have a negative effect on their mental and physical wellbeing, all of which can impact their longevity.

Lawyer

Some lawyers, especially family and criminal attorneys, will often deal with the good, the bad, and the ugly — just with one set of clients. They face an enormous amount of pressure in court proceedings and deal with demanding judges, clients, and other lawyers.

Many lawyers feel emotionally or mentally affected by their jobs, especially if their client becomes jailed or they’re unable to bring justice to a family.

Medical Professional

The rest of the jobs on these lists may be difficult, but they don’t involve brain surgery — except for medical professionals, that is. Not only do these workers often need to go through a decade of training and schooling for their positions, but they’re also put in very stressful scenarios ranging from emergency surgery to needing to tell a family that their loved one has passed away — all of which can affect their mental health.

This role also requires many hours spent walking, running, or standing, which can take a toll on their physical health.

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What Are the Least Stressful Jobs?

Using the same criteria as the ranking of most stressful job positions, we’ve compiled this list of the five least stressful jobs you can have. This isn’t to say that employees in these roles won’t experience stress at any point, rather they have lower levels of daily stress that they’re less likely to take home with them.

Bookkeeper or Accountant

Balancing the numbers is often a lot less stressful than it looks. This role requires balancing checkbooks, doing taxes, filing payroll, or upkeeping budgets — and often, one person is specifically assigned to tackle one aspect of bookkeeping.

This means that, while you usually need to be quick at math, you’re often expected to do one thing while at work instead of balancing a number of different tasks. This makes this role perfect for anyone who likes to start each workday knowing exactly what is expected of them and what they’ll complete.

Massage Therapist

Considering that the primary purpose of their job is to help others relax, massage therapists are considered low-stress positions. They help others destress through careful manipulation of muscles and tissue that promotes mental and physical wellbeing.

Many massage therapists become self-employed after receiving their state and local licenses, which gives them the flexibility to create their own schedules and set their own hours.

Medical Records Technician

This position’s primary goal is to upkeep patient records for medical facilities, including doctor’s offices, hospitals, or nursing homes. This role usually requires a certificate but no formal schooling and employees usually work the standard nine-to-five.

This job is important for ensuring that records are there when medical professionals need them and usually does not come with any surprises — perfect for the employee that wants an expected structure to their workday.

Anthropologist

These human culture experts spend their time researching the past to better understand the future, including how languages are developed, how human biology has changed over time, or how different cultures came to be.

There are many different places an anthropologist could work, from government offices to their own firms. Some anthropologists go out on field missions to collect data or samples, but many work a regular nine-to-five workday.

Audiologist

Tasked with helping others hear better, audiologists (or hearing aid specialists) have a standard workday that they expect each day, leading to low amounts of stress throughout the day. These workers help install and diagnose issues those that wear hearing aids may have. This role usually requires certification, but often no formal education is necessary to begin.

4 Impacts of Stressful Jobs on Your Life and Longevity

Everyone will experience some impacts of stress from their jobs, whether that’s sore feet after a long day of standing or using some of your weekend to catch up on sleep. However, repeated days of high stress or anxiety can have detrimental effects on your life and longevity, including decreased levels of energy, less free time, or worse. Read on to find out more about the impact difficult jobs can have on you.

1. Mental and Physical Health Issues

It may seem like a no-brainer that a stressful job will lead to more stress in your day-to-day life. But do you know some of the long-term effects of repeated, high levels of stress? In addition to causing you to be more irritable and prone to bad moods (meaning your loved ones likely won’t want to be around you if you’re constantly losing your temper), increased stress can lead to a host of mental and physical health problems.

Some of these health problemsinclude frequent stomachaches or headaches, muscle tension or pain, chest pains, changes in libido, or, in worst-case scenarios, cardiovascular disease or even death. Stress is the body’s reaction to high-pressure scenarios, but your body is not meant to be in a prolonged state of high stress — if it is, your body will start figuring out ways to signal to you to calm down. Listening to your body can make a difference, especially if you’re predisposed to medical issues like a heart attack or stroke.

If you find yourself experiencing long-term stressful periods due to work, see if you can scale back your workload or expectations. While it may mean you aren’t up for a promotion quite as soon, it re-prioritizes your health and allows you to take care of your body and longevity.

2. Worsened Sleep Quality

From elementary school to full-time jobs, everyone has shot up in the middle of the night with the terrible realization that they missed a deadline, meeting, interview, or assignment. This can be a rude awakening when it happens once every few months but can be detrimental to your health if you’re constantly tossing and turning thinking about work.

Sleep provides a chance for our bodies to rebound after a long day, and most experts recommend getting between seven to nine hours of sleep to be well-rested for a productive day. Studies have shown that depriving your body of this much-needed time to rest has been proven to weaken your immune system, increases your susceptibility to depression and anxiety, and can even lead to a decrease in brain function.

If you repeatedly find yourself staring at your ceiling into the early morning, see what you can do to make yourself more comfortable. This can include getting a new pillow or mattress, not looking at your phone for an hour before sleep, reading to help ease yourself to sleep, or taking an over-the-counter supplement like melatonin to help. Talk to your doctor about what may be best for helping you sleep better if you find yourself having constant sleepless nights.

3. Decreased Energy

Every worker has had a mid-day slump, whether it’s due to a tedious assignment, lack of focus, or something else — especially if you’ve been having sleeping issues. However, fatigue or exhaustion is another symptom of stress that can have a much larger impact on your life as a whole.

Fatigue can make you less inclined to do things you enjoy after work, such as working out, practicing a hobby like cooking, or seeing your loved ones. This can lead to increased depression and anxiety, less physical exercise, and generally not having the energy to do things you enjoy.

If you’ve found yourself constantly fatigued or feeling burnt out from work, consider talking to your manager or to a mental health professional. They may be able to help you find what exactly is draining your energy so much and how to solve it.

2. Worsened Sleep Quality

From elementary school to full-time jobs, everyone has shot up in the middle of the night with the terrible realization that they missed a deadline, meeting, interview, or assignment. This can be a rude awakening when it happens once every few months but can be detrimental to your health if you’re constantly tossing and turning thinking about work.

Sleep provides a chance for our bodies to rebound after a long day, and most experts recommend getting between seven to nine hours of sleep to be well-rested for a productive day. Studies have shown that depriving your body of this much-needed time to rest has been proven to weaken your immune system, increases your susceptibility to depression and anxiety, and can even lead to a decrease in brain function.

If you repeatedly find yourself staring at your ceiling into the early morning, see what you can do to make yourself more comfortable. This can include getting a new pillow or mattress, not looking at your phone for an hour before sleep, reading to help ease yourself to sleep, or taking an over-the-counter supplement like melatonin to help. Talk to your doctor about what may be best for helping you sleep better if you find yourself having constant sleepless nights.

3. Decreased Energy

Every worker has had a mid-day slump, whether it’s due to a tedious assignment, lack of focus, or something else — especially if you’ve been having sleeping issues. However, fatigue or exhaustion is another symptom of stress that can have a much larger impact on your life as a whole.

Fatigue can make you less inclined to do things you enjoy after work, such as working out, practicing a hobby like cooking, or seeing your loved ones. This can lead to increased depression and anxiety, less physical exercise, and generally not having the energy to do things you enjoy.

If you’ve found yourself constantly fatigued or feeling burnt out from work, consider talking to your manager or a mental health professional. They may be able to help you find what exactly is draining your energy so much and how to solve it.

4. Weakened Eyesight

A good number of jobs are performed online, whether fully or partially. For those that don’t already protect their peepers with glasses or contacts, staring at screens all day can be extremely detrimental to your eyesight.

In addition to interrupting sleep patterns and causing eye strain in employees without a preexisting eye condition, exposure to blue light at night (the light emitted by most phones and computers) has shown in some studies to be linked to health conditions like diabetes.

If you don’t already, consider getting a pair of blue-light glasses to wear when on the clock. These come in both prescription and non-prescription forms, so you can protect your eyes from the harmful effects that blue light can have. In addition, make it a habit to have a phone-free hour before you plan on going to sleep, so light doesn’t throw off your sleep cycle.

How to Combat Job Stress for a Healthier Life

Now that you’ve learned the effects a stressful job can have on you, it’s important to learn how to ensure your job doesn’t affect you in any long-term, negative ways. Below are four tips on how to take a step back from what pays the bills to ensure you’re taking care of yourself, too.

Set up Firm Boundaries

Are you guilty of working late, checking your email on vacation, or do you find yourself responding to coworkers long after the workday has ended? If so, you may be in need of some firm boundaries to ensure you’re putting the “life” into “work-life balance.”

It may be tough to separate your work and personal life, especially if you work at home. Start small, such as blocking off your calendar when you aren’t working so no one can schedule late-night meetings or silencing email notifications on the weekends. This way, you’re setting small but important boundaries that allow you to rest up so you can continue to excel at your job.

Learn to Say “No”

It’s never a bad idea to show your boss you’re open to additional projects or to volunteer additional hours every once in a while to help out a coworker. However, if you’ve become the go-to employee when someone needs something, it may be a sign that you’re taking too much onto your own plate, which can lead to additional stress.

Learning how to say “no” is a skill many in the workforce are afraid to use, as it can seem like you’re not flexible or open to additional opportunities. However, as long as you have a reason to say no (like being busy, having more important matters to attend to, or something else), you should feel confident in declining—and like any other skill, saying “no” gets easier with practice.

A good rule of thumb is to ensure that you can reasonably get everything you’re responsible for done before taking on any additional work. The last thing you want is to work late or overtime for something you volunteered to do!

Unplug Like You Mean It

With smartphones, laptops, tablets, TVs, and e-readers, it can be easy to stay online and plugged in all day. However, just like you wouldn’t use your cell phone all day without stopping, it’s important to unplug and take time for yourself away from screens, as you can be more tempted to respond when an email comes in late at night.

Start by developing a hobby that disconnects you from screens and the Internet completely so that you can get a little “you” time in. Whether this is working out, reading, embroidery, cooking, or something else, carving out time for yourself to do something you enjoy is important. Not only to get you away from work but to improve your overall mental health and give yourself something to look forward to each day that isn’t work-related.

Make Time for What Matters

The old cliche rings true: at the end of your life, are you going to think about your family or all the time you spent at your job? If you’ve found yourself constantly working through family dinners, answering emails while on vacation, or falling asleep mid-way through your movie night due to late work nights, it may be time for you to reorganize your priorities to make time for what really matters.

By saying no and creating firmer boundaries with your coworkers, you can give yourself the time for what matters most in your life — like attending your cousin’s wedding, really listening to your child’s answer to “what did you learn in school today,” or being able to leave your phone at home during a weekend shopping trip with your friends. Having time to do things you enjoy, surrounded by people you love, can help you destress and disconnect from work when you may need it most.

No matter where you work, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the effect your job could be having on you, such as increased stress, less sleep, and reduction in free time. These can all have long-term effects on your life.

Do yourself (and your loved ones) a favor and take a step back to see how your job may be affecting your longevity. Do what you can to reduce the on-the-job stress you experience, and go a step further to protect yourself and your loved ones by investing in term life insurance for a policy that lasts.

While you work on reducing your stress at work, you can remove at least one stressor today. Enter your ZIP code now for free life insurance quotes.

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