Washington, DC is one of the most important places on the planet. As the capital of the United States, it is a city that matters to almost everyone — most of all, of course, to the people who call it home. Living in DC has lots of perks, including the incredible free museums, amazing food, and world-class performance venues. But DC also has its drawbacks. If you’re not mindful of it impact, you could find that the place that you call home is harming your health.

Being aware of what life in DC can do to your health is the first step toward counteracting it. So make sure that you’re eating right, exercising, and paying attention to these three ways that Washington, DC could be having a negative impact on your health. Do your best to counteract the worst things that DC does to us, and get more out of life here in our nation’s capital.

It can make you overworked

DC is a busy place. As our nation’s political capital and a major center for business, lobbying, law, and other lines of work, it is always chock full of fast-moving and quick-thinking professionals. There’s a good chance that you’re one of these people yourself, but you need to be careful about that: working too hard can be bad for your health

When we work too hard for too long, we risk burnout. Even if we never quite hit the point of a full-blown case of burnout, we can hurt our mental health (and our productivity levels) when we fail to balance our life and work. So take a break from all the work you’re doing — it’ll do you (and your health) a world of good.

It can stress you out

It’s not just the aforementioned long work hours that make DC a stressful place. It’s the notorious traffic, the sometimes-rude people, the metro that pulls out just as you run into the station, and all of the other little frustrations that add up day after day after day. If you’re not mindful of it’s impact on you, life in DC can affect your mental health for the worse.

That’s why DC residents need to be proactive about their mental health. Fortunately, the DC area is full of great mental health care options. The therapists in Washington DC are among the most highly trained and qualified mental health care professionals in the nation. So book an appointment and ask about therapy and other mental health treatment options. If you care for your mental health, you’ll enjoy a whole host of other health benefits, including better sleep, more predictable (and enjoyable) moods, increased energy levels, and the reduction or elimination of physical symptoms associated with psychological strain, such as headaches and other aches and pains.

It can be polluted

Experts say that the pollution found in urban centers — including everything from air pollution to noise pollution — can be bad for our health. And while Washington, DC may not be the smoggiest or noisiest city on the planet, it is certainly a good idea to counter the pollution that does exist here.

Make sure that your home has a good HVAC system that keeps air filtered, and escape to the countryside from time to time for a bit of fresh air. Keep light and noise pollution at bay when you’re resting. You can do that with earplugs and sleep masks, if necessary. Getting proper sleep can have a huge impact on your health, and failing to do so has serious health consequences, so treat the need to block light and noise pollution as seriously as you treat more traditionally understood forms of pollution.

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