Workaholism: Challenges and Steps to Recovery
Are You a Workaholic?
Workaholic Anonymous (WA) describes a number of signs of being a workaholic, including these listed below:
- You get more excited about your work than about your family or anything else
- You take work home on weekends, to bed or on vacations.
- You constantly talk about your work and work activities
- You take on extra work because you feel it won't be done
- Your family or friends have given up expecting you on time
- You feel it is alright to work long hours if you love what you do
- You get impatient with people who have priorities other than work
- You are afraid that if you don't work hard you will lose your job or become a failure.
- You get irritated when people ask you to stop working to do other things.
- Your long hours hurt your family and other relationships.
- You think about your work while you are driving, falling asleep, or when talking to others.
- You believe that more money will solve the problems in your life.
You will find it beneficial to read WA's complete workaholic quiz, and this could help to determine if you are a workaholic. WA suggests that if three or more are applicable to you, then there a chance you are a workaholic or you are becoming one.
This hub could help you to examine how workaholic behaviors negatively impact three important areas of your life - your health, relationships, and even your job security. It will also give you steps to help in your recovery from workaholism.
Are You a Hardworker or a Workaholic?
Challenges of Workaholism
1. Health Issues
If you are a workaholic, your drive to succeed in the workplace could lead to taking on more work-related tasks than you can manage. This could result in your neglecting your self-care which includes not eating properly, managing stress, and being out of touch with your emotions.
High levels of stress and mental exhaustion could result as you strive to meet deadlines and to "prove" yourself to your boss. If you don't take steps to deal with stress response, further mental health issues could develop including anxiety and depression.
Continued stress could also lead to negative stress reactions resulting in physical symptoms such as headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure and problems sleeping. In addition, it is possible that you might not be eating properly because you are so preoccupied with your work. A combination of these two factors could lead to further physical problems such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and digestive problems.
2. Workplace Related Problems
The irony is that though you are driven to succeed in your work, workaholism could lead to work-related problems, and even the risk of losing your job. For example, your unmanaged stress could cause you to be irritable which could affect your relationships with your boss, colleagues and clients in the workplace,
Another problem could arise because of your tendency to take on more than you can complete. You could find that your work is unfinished of low quality because you don’t have enough time to complete some of the related tasks properly.
If you have difficulty delegating tasks to others, this could be that you are not a team player. This might result from your tendency to feel that you have to be in control and handle things yourself. This could lead to more work than you can manage, which means more stress, which could impact the quality of your work.
Are You a Workaholic?
Using the Workaholic Anonymous (WA) check-list do you think you are a workaholic?
3. Family and Relational Difficulties
You could become so consumed with your job that it negatively impacts your relationships including your marriage and family life. Like many workaholics you might rationalize that you work hard because you want to protect and do they best for our family, but this could be at a high price.
You might even say you don't have any choice, but your workaholic behaviors could affect profound negative effect on your relationships. What is sure, is that as you become more consumed with work, you are likely to lose touch with your spouse's needs, leaving him or her feeling unappreciated.
Your constant focus on your work could also result in your not spending enough time with your spouse. Thus the communication in your marriage could be on a superficial level, where you deal with only information and opinions, rather than moving to your deep feelings and desires. Your passion for work over your marriage could affect intimacy, which is the glue in your relationship.
Other relationships could also suffer including those with your children and personal friendships.
National Workaholics Day in 2017 is on Wednesday, July 5, 2017. It's time to take a break!
Dealing with Workaholism in Your Marriage
Steps to Recovering from Workaholism
If you are a workaholic, you can see from the discussion, that there are profound negative effects resulting from workaholism, including the impact on your health, personal relationships and your job. You will need to take steps to deal with the problem. Here are some simple steps you could take:
- Begin with recognizing that you are a workaholic. You might have some difficulty coming to this reality but you need to be honest with yourself.
- Take steps to find balance between your work and your personal life. This will come as you set you set new priorities for your time, and make every effort to stick to them.
- Get the support of your family and friends as this is extremely important as you embark on this new phase of your life.
- Take time to connect with others in common interests and activities outside of work.
Some of the recovery tools that Workaholic Anonymous (WA) uses are outlined in the table below, and you could find the complete tools very helpful on you recovery journey. You could also consider joining Workaholic Anonymous to get the help and support you need as you move forward.
Workaholism Recovery Poll
If you are a workaholic, what major step will you now take?
Some of WA's Tools of Recovery
How WA Members Use the Tools
They set aside time each day for prayer and meditation.
They decide the most imprtant things to do first.
They do not add a new activity without taking one from their schedule.
They allow more time than they need for tasks to allow margins for the unexpected.
They schedule time for play and refuse to work non-stop.
They work at a comfortable pace and rest before they get tired.
They don't yield to pressure or try to pressure others.
They admit their weaknesses and mistakes, and realize they don't have to do everything themselves.
Moving On From Workaholism
While your work is important to you, it is essential that you find balance between your work and other aspects of your life, including your marriage and family relationships.
Take time to develop and enjoy your relationships, and explore stimulating and fulfilling activities outside of work.
References and Further Resources
Margaret Chuong-Kim (n.d.). How to Identify and Address Workaholism. Retrieved April 17, 2014
Workaholic Anonymous (2016). The Twenty Questions. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
© 2014 Yvette Stupart PhD