Understanding and Avoiding the Dangers of Workaholism

Many of us grow up with the idea that it’s good to work hard. This is something that’s drilled into us time and again. If you work hard, you’ll accomplish the task you’re trying to accomplish. You’ll do well in school, you’ll do well at work, and you’ll eventually become extremely successful.

The “hard work” idea has taken such deep roots in our cultural psyche that even relationships, we are told, are hard work. To make a marriage work, you have to work hard. And the same goes for rearing children.

Basically, it starts to seem as if you’ve got to keep working hard throughout your life. But what about a work-life blend? Isn’t that important as well? Don’t you need to take some time off in order to go back to work with a fresh mind? Or are you supposed to just be a workaholic all your life?

The Dangers of Workaholism

Unlike the Shopaholics books, there are no workaholic books to show you the dangers of workaholism. But these dangers do exist. Not only can you get burnt out and depressed when you’re a workaholic but you can also ruin your health.

Workaholics rarely take time out to eat healthy or exercise. They’re constantly sitting at their computers, and, as we know, sitting is the new smoking. It’s terrible for your fitness levels and can lead into weight gain, back pain, knee pain etc.

Workaholics Are Not Always Successful

In addition to the fact that workaholics have terrible health, they are not always successful. When you’re constantly working at something, without taking time off, you’re not going to have any new ideas. You’re not going to be very enthusiastic about what you do either, even if it’s something you love.

When you keep slogging away at something, you lose that sense of being passionate about it. And when your ideas and enthusiasm are gone, then how will you be good at your job? It’s not possible to keep working hard, without any breaks, and be successful.

Of course, this is not to say that hard work doesn’t have its place. It does. You should, in fact, work hard, but you need to balance work with play. You need to take time off to do whatever helps you to relax, whether that’s watching movies, reading books, practicing a hobby, socializing with friends etc.

Balancing Work With Fun/Play/Time Off

The one thing you should avoid is doing everything as though it were work. Yes, it’s good to work, exercise, eat healthy, have a hobby, have a relationship etc. But it’s also important to choose forms of exercise, hobbies and relationships that feel like play instead of work.

If you enjoy running on a trail instead of going to a gym, then by all means do that. If you would rather read a mystery novel than a Pulitzer prize winner, then go for it. If you want to go dancing with friends instead of a fancy sit-down dinner, then organize it.

The most important thing is to ask yourself whether the things you are doing are work or fun. Your instincts in this regard should serve you well. So if you feel like you are doing enough fun things which will recharge you, then you’re in the clear. If not, then think about adding some more fun/play/time-out activities to your repertoire.