What is Presenteeism?
This is a term that is similar to absenteeism. Absenteeism is excessive time off work from being physically sick or needing mental health days. Presenteeism is when a person attends work, but is not physically, mentally or emotionally well. So, even though the individual doesn’t take time off, they are not very productive.
Presenteeism in this context is not typically acute, from say, a cancer patient, who is battling illness, but rather in a chronic sense from our modern over stressed lifestyles that drain our mind, body and spirit. Presenteeism can impact more than our work lives… it can infiltrate to our personal lives as well.
There are various reasons and reactions to presenteeism in different individuals:
From our work:
– long commutes
– uninspiring work places
– creativity killing jobs
– long work hours and sedentary living
– spending more time in an office rather than in nature
From our personal lives:
– family members spending time mostly in separate rooms
– mindless eating
– constant distraction from TV, internet and video games
– checking our smartphones instead of talking to our children
– more friends online than in real life
– isolation from our neighbors
– fear of the ‘what-ifs’
– consumer debt
From our environment:
– noise, air and water pollution
– chemicals in our food, personal care products and furnishings
– societal expectations that don’t favor individualism or non-conformity
I must admit that I am affected by more than one of these. But I have found that simple living is mindful living… being present… trying to make conscious choices that bring value to myself and others and improves my health, wealth and happiness instead of draining my energy, my bank account or my spirit.
There is no ‘one size fits all’, and we can’t control everything listed above, so everyone needs to find what works for them.
A simple exercise for me is to look at each category and see what brings me value and what drains me, while slowly making changes. For example…
– I love being car-free. I get exercise, sun and time in nature instead of road rage.
– I don’t use Facebook, but I love the online blogging community and I try to balance it with local in person communities of friends and family.
– I don’t have a smartphone because being constantly connected can be more of a distractor of mindful living than a value to me.
– I climbed down the corporate ladder, to have more control over my time and work.
And sometimes, the best thing to do is nothing. Einstein was a big believer of quiet time, contemplation and simple living. And look what he accomplished!
How about you? Are you living with Presenteeism? Or, are you living mindfully on your own terms?