The Dangers of Being a Workaholic

We all strive for a successful career, but at what cost? Here are some things to consider if you are stuck in an all work, no play existence. 

With the demands of the modern workforce, it can be hard to maintain a healthy work/life balance. If we focus 100% on our work, we do so at the detriment of everything else in life, such as our health, friends, family and relationships.

We all strive for a successful career, but at what cost? Lifestyle mentor Stuart Denman identifies the risks of being stuck in an all work, no play existence:

1. Long Hours = Sedentary lifestyle – There is no greater risk to our health in the 21st Century than not moving.  Recent studies showed that not moving our bodies is as bad for our health as smoking.  Neck and back pain, stiffness and blood clots are all dangers that can be directly linked to working too much.

2. Eye Strain – Staring at a screen for extended periods of time is dangerous to our eye health.  When we fix our gaze on the computer, we actually blink a lot less than normal drying out our eyes and leading to headaches and eye strain. 

3. Burnout – The saying ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ is more important tan ever to understand the words.  There is nothing sustainable about working 80 hour weeks and can lead to burnout.

4. Disconnection – I have seen so many relationships fail due to one partner becoming so focused on their career that they neglect everything else in their lives, including their partner and even their kids. 

5. Self-loathing – This is quite intertwined with disconnection yet on a personal level.  When you start to notice how disconnected you have become from those that matter, it is very common to see people start on a pattern of self-loathing and punishment.  This can do a great deal of damage to our own self worth and get us stuck in a loop of hopelessness. 

If any of these apply, it could be time to take stock of why you are working the hours you do and start to understand the damage it can be doing to so many aspects of your life. Here are his tips for getting re-connected to your life:

1. Stop – You must take stock of what you are currently doing and ask yourself what it will cost you if you continue going like you are.  Is your health starting to suffer?  How are you sleeping and how are your relationships?  When is the last time you called you mum?  Just stop and take a minute to answer these questions. 

2. Give yourself a start and finish time – I hear many workers say that they feel they have to be available out of hours and on weekends to check work email.  This expectation should be addressed with your manager because once you let this happen occasionally, it will become a regular occurrence.

3. Communicate – You need to start talking to people about the struggles that you might be having and the feelings that keep coming up when you are working the way you are.  Make sure that your partner knows why you are working the way you are and if it is only for a short-term goal, share with them when things might get back to normal.

4. Take a day off – You must take some time off for yourself even in the busiest of times for your sanity and for your effectiveness.  Our brains need to have some variety between activities and work at their optimal when they have a chance to rest and focus on a social or fun activity.

5. Remember your Why – Think back to the exciting future you planned for yourself.  Sure, developing a career does take sacrifices and hard work but if you are working yourself into the ground you’ll either burn out or become resentful.  If your work isn’t ultimately fulfilling or manageable in the long term then it may be time to find a different path to your future.

Stuart Denman is a Melbourne-based lifestyle mentor who spends his time working with those craving a better, more balanced life. He is passionate about leadership, empowerment and spending quality time with family. For more information visit  www.stuartdenman.com.au 

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