Let’s face it, workaholics are addicts and they need to be treated as such. Okay, so maybe it’s not as extreme as alcoholism or other addiction related diseases, but the fact of the matter remains that the sheer term “workaholic” indicates a problem.
Wayne Oats, first coined the term in his 1971 book titled, Confessions of a Workaholic, and ever since then, the word’s sentiment has been exemplified by generations of overachieving, corporate-ladder-climbing human resources who lose sight of life’s meaning. But like other “-aholics” workaholics are not solely to blame. In fact, in many ways, our culture encourages and reinforces our obsessive, workaholic ways!
So, we’ve decided that it is in fact, time to get serious about workaholism. There we said it. But before we go any further let’s address the misuse of the term. The word “workaholic” is sometimes (loosely) used to describe an energetic person who is committed to their work, revels in that work, has good relations with co-workers and sometimes takes pleasure on non-remunerative activities along with attending to family and social functions. This is inaccurate. A workaholic must be working almost all the time… just enjoying your work doesn’t count.
So, what if you’re not sure whether you or someone you love is a workaholic? Answering “yes” to some or all of the following questions may help you decide whether or not you’re dealing with workaholism.
If you don’t work, do you believe that your world will collapse?
Do you think that you are the only person capable of performing your work?
Are you exhausted or fatigued by overworking?
Is your excess work, leading to poor relationships at work or outside of work?
If you answered “yes” to most of the questions above, then you are most likely a workaholic. No need for wallowing in lowly self-pity. Like all addictions, workaholism can be subdued so long as you recognize that it exists and that you may have it.
First, you need to rediscover the power of doing nothing. Remember when you were younger? You may have sat for hours passing the time away, either entertaining yourself or sitting and vegging out. Well, you may have to sit down for this one – it’s called rest! Kids never sit and do nothing unless they’ve been running around making a muck of everything that comes in their path – this is called playing. These two concepts can apply to adulthood, in relative context of course. I’m not advising you sit for hours on end and count the pores in your skin. Simply, take a break and wind down every once in a while. Breathe!
Keep it simple
Next, take solace in simple things. Sitting outside and enjoying fresh air, the sound of birds chirping, and the smell of nearby plants reaching full bloom – all of these clichés exist because, not surprisingly so, they bring peace to even the most world-weary workaholics among us. Getting out into nature (sans your cell phone) will do a lot to reconnect you with this plane of existence (you know, the one outside of your office).
Work it out
Lastly, it’s no secret that a healthy body is a happy body! Exercise often (and don’t forget to stretch). Yoga also comes to mind as a great source of calm. That said, physical fitness is only one third of the optimal “healthy mind, body and spirit.” Whatever your beliefs are, try and focus on achieving a balance by being in touch with yourself completely. This means dedicating time to each of the three aspects (and no work, in this case, does not enrich your spirit).
Workaholics simply have to accept that overworking is an attempt to control the outcome of any situations, which oftentimes are out of our control. To combat workaholic tendencies, try to release your grip over every situation – not just your professional ones. Life is about imagining the possibilities. Live for and imagine what’s possible, not what you can control.
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