The dangers of Workaholism: “I put my heart and my soul into my work, and lost my mind in the process.” Vincent Van Gogh about creating balance in our lives.
There’s a thin line between being a hard worker and a workaholic. You just must make sure you never cross that line. But if you do, know that there’s always help – you just need to get the book Top 10 Reasons Vacations Keep You Healthy.
Just because work itself is a respectable pursuit doesn’t mean that an addiction to it is any less damaging than other sorts of addictions. A number of studies show that workaholism has been associated with a wide range of health problems, such as insomnia, anxiety, and heart disease.
A 2001 study published in the American Journal of Family Therapy found that working too much negatively impacted an employee’s marriage—perhaps not surprising, since if you’re married to your work it can be difficult to be married to anything, or anyone, else—while another also published in the International Journal of Stress Management that same year even found that workaholics can make their co-workers stressed. Their kids don’t do so well either.
Of course, working, or simply being busy, can be a hard habit to break. Busy people are important people. They’re also often pleasantly distracted people.
When workaholics aren’t busy working—or doing something to promote their work—they feel anxious and guilty. Part of that is derived from the lingering notion that great opportunities as such must be strived for with unflagging determination and drive. What’s more, today’s employees are among the first generation to have been raised by mothers who, as a whole, placed importance not just on a job, but a career. For many of these employees, the slide into workaholism seems almost predisposed.
Of course, the message here isn’t to work hard. Hard work can reap great rewards, and employees should continue to strive for professional fulfillment and for opportunities previously not afforded to them. But they should also ask themselves: Am I working too hard? And if so, why? A 1983 study defined workaholics as those who work at least 50 hours a week, a relatively low measure by today’s standards, where for many 50 hours is par for the course. But whether the hours logged hit 50 or 80, many who work hard are working for reasons beyond the benefits good work provides. For them, working serves as a Band-Aid for other issues, a way to numb undesirable feelings or fill certain voids, much in the way that alcohol might do for an alcoholic or sex for a sex addict. As Kreider writes, busy people “may be addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.”
Certainly, using work as a distraction is healthier than drowning your sorrows in a bottle of tequila or with a cute stranger (or both). But clearly, work addiction has very real consequences. Constantly being at, talking about, or even thinking about work can come at the cost of everything else in life including, as discussed, health, but also family and other relationships. What’s more, working too much can lead to a distaste for that very job that was so all-consuming and important in the first place: A 2008 study published in The Psychologist Manager Journal found that workaholism can ultimately cause employees to experience less job satisfaction than coworkers who maintained a better work-life balance.
Work is vital to survival and, for many people, sanity. It is financially necessary. It can also be fulfilling and empowering, enabling independence and providing a worker a clear purpose and sense of self. But what’s key to keep in mind is that work is just one part of life. And that sometimes it’s best—for everyone—to know when to shut it down and go on home. Not only go home but take that all-important Vacation. Creating that balance in our life is what keeps us healthy.
Define Vacation? A period of time that a person spends away from home, school, or business usually in order to relax or travel. In latin Vacatio means Freedom.
To learn more about all the benefits of taking a Vacation and how they can keep you healthy go to www.top10reasonsvacationskeepyouhealthy.com and order the book. If you know a workaholic then this book is the cure.