“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”
Having a job and working is normal. In fact, it’s even expected. What isn’t expected, however, is an all-consuming commitment to your work so intense that it becomes an addiction, commonly known as workaholism. In today’s culture, working more than average is seen as an admirable and even desirable trait – but the line between dedication and addiction is thin. For those who are curious, you can take this quiz to see if you have the warning signs of a workaholic!
What is Workaholism?
Workaholism, or work addiction, is a very real addiction and issue in modern society. Workaholics are not the same as hard workers: when your dedication to your work starts negatively impacting the other aspects of your life, the problem becomes apparent. Multiple studies have concluded that about 10% of the general population suffers from a work addiction, and anyone that works more than 50 hours per week is subsequently more likely to suffer mental and physical health issues.
Work addiction typically stems from an individual feeling as though their job defines them, leading to them pulling away from their personal life. Work addiction is less about making money and more about the desire to prove one’s worth, leading to an obsession with accomplishing as much as possible despite the consequences that may arise, such as loss of relationships or decline of health.
Signs and Symptoms of a Work Addiction
The following are signs of a potential work addiction:
• You work more hours than your coworkers, friends, and family, including weekends
• Your personal life and social life are absent
• You stress about getting back to work when you aren’t working
• You feel unwell due to skipping selfcare in favor of working
• You measure your success and worth based on the amount and quality of work you get done
• You bring your work home with you
• Others are telling you you’re working too much, too long, or too often
Getting Over Your Workaholism
If you’re concerned that you might be working too much and want to alter your path to an addiction to work, start by adjusting your values. Make more time for family members, friends, and yourself. Having a healthy personal life will greatly contribute to your mental wellbeing and your relationships with the people close to you. Set aside time for yourself to pick up old or new hobbies and consider creating a selfcare routine. Allow yourself break time and even vacation time – relax, have fun, and enjoy yourself away from work.
Limit the time you spend at work. Get to work no earlier than 9 AM and leave no later than 5 PM. Take a lunch break long enough to properly nourish and hydrate. Take at least one fifteen minute break during your work day to focus on something else – read a book, take a walk around the office, go outside for some fresh air. Along with limiting the time you spend working, leave your work at work. This means as soon as you leave work for the day, you’re done working for that day. Don’t give yourself access to work emails, calls, or texts while you aren’t at work.
If you don’t think you can get over your addiction to working on your own, seek therapy or help from family and friends or even coworkers. Having someone to hold you accountable and help you understand what’s healthy and what isn’t can get you back on track to a proper work life. Working is good; overworking is not.