We all take pride in our work, but some people find it difficult to draw a line between their professional and personal lives.
It’s understandable why some people find it harder to switch off from work in the age we live in. When work emails come through to our phone, it’s so hard not to look when you hear your the buzzing of a notification.
If you habitually stay late at the office, always keep one eye your emails and struggle to switch off at night, there’s a high possibility you could be a workaholic.
While it might be the most socially acceptable form of addiction, workaholism is still a terrible habit to fall into, and can have extremely negative effects on your physical health and mental wellbeing.
In a recent survey carried out by UK call-handling specialists CALLCARE, 64% of respondents felt that their salary wasn’t high enough to match the stress of their job.
With experts claiming that one in four employed people show workaholic traits, it’s important to recognise addictive behaviour and the impact it can have on our lives.
There are some very obvious signs and symptoms of workaholism, but others aren’t as easy to detect.
If you find that you often struggle with any of the following signs and symptoms, it might be time to lay out some new rules in order to balance a hectic work schedule with a healthy personal life.
The signs and symptoms of workaholism
Chronic fatigue, frequent headaches, impatience and irritability are all signs that work might be getting a bit much. Other signs that show themselves quite obviously that should be a cause for concern include chest pains and shortness of breath, reliance on caffeine or other stimulants and self-neglect.
Some signs might not be so obvious, though. It has been found that depressive thoughts, memory loss due to exhaustion, increased adrenaline and blood pressure, and a lack of appetite are linked to having a heavy workload that spills into daily life.
You’ve heard of the saying ‘working hard or hardly working’, and although it is most commonly used in a jovial manner, there are studies that have shown that working long hours is not always conducive to productivity.
Stress can have extremely negative effects on our ability to work effectively. This means, despite our efforts to always be on top of things, sometimes the stress of doing so can actually hold us back - so the workaholic lifestyle doesn’t always pay off.
For those of us that put working hard at the forefront of our values, it could be that these priorities are in fact becoming detrimental to said values. Some examples of how this can affect us in a ‘vicious cycle’ are:
Time Management - A busy brain will find it more difficult to organise and prioritise.
Memory - Stress affects our ability to retain information, making us forgetful.
Focus - You’re more prone to becoming distracted when you’re exhausted and on-edge.
Health - Stressed out workers fall ill often, making them more likely to take time off work.
So how do we break the habit? If you recognise these symptoms on yourself, here are some helpful tips to separate your work life from your personal life.
Give your brain a break! The ideal work-to-break ratio is 52 minutes of work to 17 minutes of break.
Don’t eat lunch at your desk. Taking a proper lunch break will reset your mind and can help keep obesity at bay.
Stay away from your phone. Switching off emails and calls when you’re not at work allows you to properly relax, reducing stress.
Go on holiday. Studies show that workers who don’t use their holidays are less productive and have poorer performance.
Decide on a strategy. Write down a list of steps you can take to improve your work/life balance (e.g. I will only work 5 out of 7 days)
Seek help. Depending on the severity of your addiction, you may see the best results with help from a doctor or support group.