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5 ways to break the workaholic habit

POSTED: July 8, 2014 8:00 a.m.
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Work for a cause not for applause. Live life to express, not to impress.

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In our 9 to 5 work culture we often celebrate workaholism. While a hardworking attitude can go a long way in your career, overworking can lead to addictive behavior that can hurt your personal life. Maintaining that work/life balance is a key component to ensuring you lead the healthiest life possible. Perfecting this balance is a major challenge that many modern worker’s face in the pursuit of healthier relationships both inside and outside of the workplace. Let’s take a look at 5 highly practical ways you can break a workaholic habit.

1. Set firm boundaries
One of the major ways workaholic habits form is by not setting clear boundaries with an employer — even if that employer is you. Come up with a set work schedule and stick to it. Have a one-on-one with your boss explaining that you need to set this boundary. The goal here is to not completely avoid having to work overtime, but rather to make working extra hours the exception, not the rule.

2. Disconnect
Yes, it is true. We can rely too much on our electronic devices, apps and websites. When you’re not working, disconnect from the Internet. Turn off your phone so social media, email and other highly addictive apps do not distract you. Embrace this idea that it’s actually OK for you to be completely unreachable sometimes. Obviously, you’ll want to approach this responsibly. Be sure to let your managers and employers know you’ll be unreachable for specific chunks of time.

3. Spend time outdoors
Get outside. Go for a hike. Take a vacation that will allow you to disconnect. Have a picnic with your family in the park. The idea is to get out of your normal environment and get some fresh air. Make this a big part of your regular rhythm. This is a great way to reduce stress, exercise and spend quality time with loved ones or yourself.

4. Eat healthier
One of biggest downfalls of workaholism is not having enough time for self-care. The first step toward fixing this issue is to eat healthy foods. When you’re constantly on the go, your automatic go-to will often be to eat out or grab some fast food. This can be detrimental to your health if this becomes a habit. Carve out some time that includes making a home cooked meal for yourself and your family full of fresh veggies, grains and other whole foods. Also, try to avoid eating while you’re working. Take the time to eat food slowly. Your body will thank you.

5. Pay attention to your body
Your own body is the best indicator of how much your work addiction is taking a toll on your life. If you start to feel exhausted, cranky or apathetic, take the necessary steps to slow down. For some, this may be as simple as cutting back hours at work. For others, this isn’t possible due to the demanding nature of their jobs. Take the time to assess your work situation. If you are too involved with work to pay attention to your body, try wearing a heart rate monitor watch. This will give you clues to how much stress you are dealing with. Never ignore your body when it is giving off warning signals. This can quickly lead to burnout.
Workaholism is not a healthy approach to being a productive member of society. If you do not get adequate rest and are not available to cultivate relationships outside of work, it will quickly make you unhealthy and unhappy. Adequate self-care is essential to staying on top of your game in whatever career you are pursuing.

April Adams is a graduate of Charter Oaks State College in Connecticut. Contact her at:aceofphrase@gmail..com

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