Workaholics need to set some boundaries to strike a work-life balance

It's okay to love your job, but getting addicted to it can destroy your life, says this Psychologist

By: Inchara Shivaramu

Work and life can often get in the way of each other. It involves being devoted to your work, obligations towards family and friends and the need to take care of yourself. What if you are a workaholic?

If you are mostly in the office during the week with no time for yourself or family, then the notion of a work-life balance is for sure a myth here. By establishing some boundaries, you can be committed to your personal life and health. At its worst, being a workaholic can destroy your life. Burn the candle at both ends on the regular, and you could wind up with increased stress, burnout and even health problems.  A new study demonstrated that establishing off-duty time is even more important than previously thought: women who work too much have a significantly increased chance of developing diabetes.

 ‘‘Workaholics use work to cope with emotional discomfort and feelings of inadequacy,’’ writes Brad Klontz Psy.D., CFP at Psychology today. They get adrenaline highs from work binges and then get exhausted resulting in periods of irritability, low self esteem, anxiety and depression and in turn to deal with these feelings, workaholics again begin another cycle of excessive devotion to work.

Before it starts taking a toll on your life, start working on it by striking a balance. 

Acknowledge that this isn’t only about women
Although the concept of work-life balance often gets framed in the context of women who are trying to balance household and job, it can be the same for the other gender with different situations at hand.

Let go of perfectionism
A lot of overachievers tend to develop perfectionist tendencies at a young age. It’s easier to maintain that perfectionist habit as a kid, but as you grow up, life gets more complicated. As you climb the ladder at work and as your family expands the responsibilities also grows. Perfectionism becomes out of reach and if that habit is left unchecked, it becomes destructive in ways like you might become self critical, overestimate or underestimate yourself at work and personal life.

Do not neglect your health 
You only get one body in this lifetime. If you want to be able to continue doing the work you love so much, you have to take care of yours. Problems can arise when professionals become so engaged and wrapped up in their jobs that they postpone doctor’s appointments or neglect regular exercise or healthy eating. If you want to stay on the positive side of workaholics, don’t forget to take care of your physical health. It will allow you to keep doing what you love.

Plan your weekend or break times in advance 
Just like you plan your meetings, daily tasks and projects, do the same with family and friends  well in advance. This can help maximise your time with loved ones. And also it helps sticking to the plans and prioritizing. 

Widen your identity
No matter how much you love and enjoy your job, it is a good idea to have a few other things going on in your life. What if something happens to your job? You wouldn’t want your entire life to fall apart because there’s literally nothing else going on for you. It’s ok to love your job and to spend a lot of time engaged in your professional life. Just make sure it’s not the only thing you have. Check in with friends from time to time. Cultivate a hobby that you enjoy during an occasional evening off. You don’t want to over-identify with any one single aspect of your life. Your job can be a huge part of who you are without it defining you entirely.
Work-life balance isn’t a state, which is why all of those strategies and tips wear out. Rather, it is a value that we have to strive for with each decision. People who think of work-life balance as making deliberate and intentional choices and accepting the limits of those choices are more likely to be happy in pursuit of this balance than those that think they can easily have it all.


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