Is Work Worship?

by Garreth Myers


Does your work seem more interesting than your home, family or anything else in your life? Do you often carry work home, just because you cannot bear to leave it till the next day? Are you thinking about your work while driving, having dinner or running errands? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are definitely not alone; thousands of men and women are workaholics, just like you.

Putting work over other aspects of life, like family, friends, hobbies, and so on, is usually regarded a positive attitude in our society. Many people look at work addiction as a sign of ambition. Given below are some of the harmful effects of being a workaholic:

  • Strain of various relationships, involving spouses, children, partners and extended family members
  • Deterioration of health, in the form of hypertension, excess stress, short temper, sleep disorders, headaches, fatigue and gastric problems
  • Lack of flexibility, because of getting used to having power and control
  • Reduction in overall productivity, because of doing too many things or not delegating tasks to others
  • Absence of a social or family life

One of the main problems of work addiction is that it is not as easy to recognize as substance abuse and gambling. However, certain signs and symptoms can warn you and those around you that you are on the verge of becoming a workaholic. In the early stages of work addiction, you may

  • Tend to take on a bit more than you can handle
  • Be constantly busy, trying to finish all your work
  • Put in additional hours at work, without getting paid overtime
  • Not be able to take even a couple of days off from work

As the addiction continues it usually grows and worsens. In the second stage of this addiction, you may:

  • Start distancing yourself from personal relationships
  • Get distracted and miss your work when you are at home
  • Experience trouble unwinding and getting sleep
  • Feel tired most of the time
  • Notice a sudden change in weight, either gain or loss

You will realize that you are a workaholic when you probably notice that you are spending a lot more time a work, than you are at home. Some of the serious symptoms of work addiction include:

  • Chronic headaches
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Stomach ulcers

Therefore, as you can see, work addiction is as dangerous as most other forms of addictive behavior.

Fortunately, it is possible for you to break the bands of work addiction and lead a normal family and social life once again. To do that, you need to:

  • Set up a schedule, giving equal importance to your work, family, friends and other aspects. Make sure that stick to the schedule you have prepared.
  • Take some time off, so that you can spend it with your family and friends. Reconnect with the people you are no longer in touch with, even if it is just through phone, email or a social network
  • Pay attention to your health by taking a good look at your diet, exercise routine, habits and lifestyle. Schedule a physical exam at the doctor’s, to get your heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar levels and weight checked. Based on the results, you can set up a healthy (and realistic) nutrition and exercise program.
  • Engage in a hobby like reading, walking, writing, listening to music, cooking or anything else that you enjoy, for an hour or so each day.  It could even be a new skill that you have just acquired, or an old one, which you no longer have time for. If possible, spend some time meditating or connecting with nature each day.

Once you manage to break the addiction, there should not be a decline in your productivity at work. In fact, as a reformed workaholic, you should notice an increase in your overall performance at work, because you’ll be more relaxed and efficient than before.

References

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20169433
  2. http://www.denvergov.org/Portals/424/documents/1610_036.pdf

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