Workaholism: When Your Addiction Is Your Work

Published October 16th, 2021 - 06:45 GMT
Workaholism: When Your Addiction Is Your Work
Workaholism is dangerous and often goes unnoticed because of how exciting it is to be labeled as a “hard worker”. (shutterstock)

Most of us can get lost in work and doing our job to the best of our abilities, however, some can fall so deep that they become addicted to working. And while workaholism has been around for years, the world of technology has brought a whole new meaning to it. But the question that many might be thinking is what does it really mean to be a workaholic? And how can one know whether or not they suffer from it? 

As defined in most dictionaries, a workaholic is someone who has to keep working and finds it difficult to stop. So does that mean every single person who works long hours is automatically labeled as a workaholic? The short answer is no.

There is quite a difference between working longer hours and being addicted to working. In fact, research shows that there is only a moderate correlation between working long hours and being a workaholic. The main difference here is that with addiction comes a constant state of rumination and thinking about work even when you are not working.

And with that comes detrimental effects on one’s health and life. Working compulsively and not being able to stop is said to increase a person’s risk of developing depression, anxiety and insomnia. Furthermore, someone who is addicted to working rarely has enough time to spend with family and friends, which can entail significant impact on their social lives. 

A person who is workaholic finds it difficult to have a healthy work-life balance. Instead, they opt to have their mind racing with thoughts about work even when they are not working. Workaholism is dangerous and often goes unnoticed because of how exciting it is to be labeled as a “hard worker”.

Therefore, it is imperative that we know the difference between both and do not fall into the trap of the former. The key here is knowing how to pinpoint certain behaviors that scream workaholism and finding healthier alternatives. Here are some signs you might be a workaholic: 

- You never feel like you are doing enough
Okay.. I'm definitely guilty of that! While most people are content with an 8-to-5 job, I tend to overdo it and work until 8 or 9. From my full time job to my side hustle, I'm always looking for more and more. But the truth is, this has led to severe burnout and the recovery time I needed took its toll on me and my work. Thus, I realized that overworking and obsessing over work has caused me more harm. 

It is important that we take an unbiased look at ourselves and give ourselves the credit we deserve. The first step is acknowledging that we are enough and that we have accomplished a lot. 

- You tend to go MIA on people
Do you often find your family and friends asking about your whereabouts and where you have been hiding? If that’s the case and your answer is always “I’m busy with work” then you might just be a workaholic. When it comes to workaholics, the relationships they have tend to get blurred because they get lost in the world of work, and with that people might get hurt and relationships may suffer. 

Having healthy relationships with family and friends is a pivotal part of our lives, and without real connections, one can feel alone and lost. It is necessary that you do not lose those you love simply because you did not give them the time and effort they deserve. Schedule quality time with them and be present, do not let your mind wander back to work! 

- You bite more than you can chew
There is a very fine line between working hard and overworking, and you need to make sure you do not lose balance. While working hard is inspiring and can lead you to great places, overworking does the exact opposite. Taking on too much work just because you want to keep grinding and hustling can eventually lead to burnout and affect your happiness. 

Realizing where to draw the line is imperative so that you do not lose yourself in your work. It is natural and completely humane to know where our boundaries are, we owe that much to ourselves. 

- Obsessed with independence
The thing about workaholics is that they believe they can do it all, and on their own. They rarely ask for help because they believe they have to be independent and strong enough to do everything on their own. But what many fail to see is that with that comes a deep sense of loneliness that could have been avoided had you just asked for help.

Not only is it crucial that you give yourself space, but it is also pivotal that you ask for help and guidance whenever you need it. Whether it is by finding a mentor or joining workshops, make sure you surround yourself with people who can help you through your success journey. 

- Free time is for the weak
Not only do workaholics bury themselves in work, but they also forget about having some free time. It is like they cannot sit still, they have to always be doing something. Not being able to schedule work-free time can have a significant effect on your health and quality of life. 

Workaholics tend to get absorbed into their own world, not realizing that they are missing out on living. Taking care of yourself and prioritizing self care is necessary so that you can get back on the horse the next day! 

Being a hard worker is not a bad thing, but just like most things in life, moderation is key. You need to know when to draw the line and take a step back for yourself. Working is not all there is to life, so make sure you live it. 


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