We live in a society that glorifies and normalizes Workaholism. It’s praised and almost expected to work long hours, feel exhausted, and deny yourself of leisure and rest until all deadlines are met. While being a hard worker and having a positive work ethic are important, it is also important to establish healthy habits and a lifestyle that promotes balance, health, presence, and energy for other aspects of your life that are priorities like friends, family, and social connections.
The Dangers of Being a Workaholic
The Workaholic may seem like a prime candidate for any employer. After all, they’re generally the first one to arrive, last one to leave, and have likely maxed out paid time off because they rarely take vacation (sound familiar?).
However, the Workaholic often has difficulty delegating, being assertive, identifying and maintaining healthy boundaries, is over worked and overwhelmed. Workaholics are at a much higher risk of neglecting their physical and mental health and experiencing anxiety, work-related stress, depressive symptoms (i.e. irritability, sleep disturbance, fatigue, decrease in motivation, feeling numb), and burnout. All symptoms that will likely spill into family life and/or social relationships.
Neglecting our physical and mental health over an extended period of time can also evolve into physical symptoms such as headaches, migraines, dehydration, physical fatigue, and decreased immune system.
How Addicted to Work Are You?
Wondering if you’re addicted to work? Here are 12 signs that may make you reconsider your own work habits.
1. You consistently work 50+ hours a week
2. You find yourself regularly working outside of your normal business hours.
3. You feel the need to be constantly busy completing work tasks.
4. You have trouble disconnecting from work when you leave (running through To-Do lists in your head, planning for the next day etc.)
5. You are “Type A” personality or perfectionist when it comes to work.
6. Your friends, spouse, or children constantly remind you how much you work.
7. You’re often caught checking out of conversations because your mind is thinking about work
8. You’re missing out on important events in life due to work (family functions, school events, birthday parties, family dinner) and say things like, “Next time.”
9. Turning off your phone or email increases your stress and anxiety.
10. You frequently check your phone for new messages or email notifications.
11. You refuse to engage in basic self care habits like drinking water, taking a break, eating lunch or using the restroom until your current task is complete.
12. You tend to arrive late or miss entirely important family traditions like dinner time or bedtime.
What You Can Do
If any of the above sound familiar to you, think of it as an opportunity. We all develop habits in our life both good and bad. Noticing bad habits is the first step, choosing to change them is the next.
Work is important. Yes, we need income to live, but work can’t be the only priority in life. Make a list of your priorities on paper and remind yourself what’s important in your life. Choose one and commit to making time for it. Evaluate your day to day work tasks and ask yourself do I need to learn to delegate better? Have I effectively communicated my needs to my management? How can I ensure I take care of myself during my shift?
Do You Have a Fear of Failing?
Also ask yourself, “Am I the one putting the high expectation on myself?” What would it mean if this task wasn’t completed on time, does that make me a failure? If you have an intense fear of failing you may possible be battling with a negative core belief about yourself. A belief that has likely been getting fed by years of irrational thought patterns around expectations and perfectionism. If this is you, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and/or Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) may beneficial.
Food for Thought
Somebody once told me if something is important enough you will make time for it, if not you will make excuses. How often have you been making excuses? Let’s start making time.