Soul Seed Academy

Recognize the Signs: Are you Becoming a Workaholic? And Ways to Begin Healing



There’s a big difference between being a workaholic and being a hard worker who is great at their job. Your work is something you’re passionate about! You want to be the best you can be, and your desire to excel is admirable. However, if the title of this article jumped out to you, you may want to take a moment to examine your relationship to your work. Here are some of the signs to look for and ways to begin to begin cultivating a healthier work-life balance

1. Spending all your time on or at work

How many hours in your day are you spending on work? How many days of the week are you working? Do you allow yourself to take breaks? Taking an assessment of the time you’re spending on work is often one of the first ways to identify workaholic tendencies. Only you can determine how much is “too much” but consider talking to someone you trust and hearing their thoughts on the matter. Sometimes it is very helpful to have an outside perspective. If you find you’re spending too much time working, consider setting some firm boundaries for yourself, even if that means setting a time limit on your work down to the very minute. It will get easier. Ensure you are allowing yourself the breaks you need and deserve. Whether that means a week-long vacation to Paris, a weekend getaway to the beach, or small breaks throughout the work day to allow yourself to move, get fresh air, and nourish your body. It may be hard at first to force yourself to step away, but start small and give yourself grace. 

2. Losing sleep in the name of work

Losing sleep because of your over-dedication to your work is another sign of workaholism. We’ve all heard how important sleep is but it is still easy to underestimate. Here are some of the ways that a lack of sleep can affect you: Irritability, anxiety, increased stress, decreased productivity, impact on mental health, impaired cognitive function, and even a weaker immune system and increased risk of chronic conditions. Ensuring you get enough rest is vital to your health as well as your productivity and success. Consider setting for yourself a strict rest schedule. Although it may be hard to rest easy at first when you’re still overthinking about work, you have to start somewhere. Try avoiding electronics for the hour leading up to bed time to give your mind time to start slowing down. Try getting a sleep mask, a great new pillow, or a sound machine. You may have to try a few things before you can start resting easy, but there are a lot of resources out there to help.

3. Relationships are suffering because of your workload

Unfortunately, your relationships with your loved ones can also begin to suffer if you are struggling with workaholism. It’s important to assess the impact your work habits are having on your most important relationships. Do they look or feel different lately? If so, how? Are you spending as much time with your loved ones as you once did? Are you reaching out to them as much as you used to? If you feel your relationships are suffering, there are steps to begin taking to start the process of repairing them. The old saying “honesty is the best policy” applies here as well. Be honest with your loved one about your situation, not only can that help you, but chances are it will also help them to be more understanding and able to get some clarity as to why things may have been different lately. Make a conscious effort to schedule time for your loved ones and start thriving in your relationships again. 

4. Using work to avoid feelings of depression and anxiety

If you find yourself using work to avoid your hard/negative feelings, this can be a key indicator that you are struggling with workaholism. Do you find yourself hopping onto a project if you begin to feel a certain way? Do you avoid down time and fill that time with work to avoid having to face your feelings and problems? Unfortunately, most of the time our problems and struggles with mental health don’t just disappear on their own. We have to work our way out of them, and it’s some of the hardest work one must do. The first step is to allow yourself the time to begin feeling your feelings and analyzing some of the struggles you may be having. Which means giving yourself a break from work could be exactly what you need. Then you can begin the healing process, whatever that may look like to you. Whether that means finding a therapist you love and trust, meditation, exercise, nourishing foods, or all of the above. You don’t have to hold on to and hide from these feelings! 

5. You no longer practice self-care

Everyone’s version of self-care looks different. So whatever self-care looks like to you, are you still practicing it? Do you still feel the desire to take part in your favorite hobbies? Are you still making time to do the thing that makes you feel most alive and rejuvenated? If your answer to these questions is no, that could be another indication that you are struggling with workaholism. Start scheduling time for yourself again. Put it on your calendar and commit to it like you would a meeting with your boss or an important client. Get back to that kickboxing class you used to love, start reading again, set up a candle lit bath, take a walk on your favorite trail. Allow yourself time to start enjoying it again, it may not come easy at first but it will get better. 

In conclusion, there are a lot of signs to look for when it comes to figuring out if you are a workaholic. If you are still unsure, reach out to a friend, a therapist, or even workaholics anonymous. Eleanor Brownn said it best when she said “Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” 

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