Workaholic: Myths That Mess with Mental Health
Workaholics often have habits of thinking that can pose secondary consequences for their own health. "Not deserving a rest" until a certain amount of work is accomplished is one such behavior. Basing one’s personal worth on the amount of work that gets done is another. Paying more attention to work failures while minimizing the significance of successes, or defending their work practices with retorts like "no one ever died from working too hard" are some examples. Unfortunately, research shows that workaholics will have health problems and die sooner because of how work interferes with health, including results such as erratic sleep, poor nutrition, a lack of work-life balance, loneliness, substance abuse, depression, neglect of exercise (or not enough of the right kind of exercise), and neglecting important health decisions such as annual physicals, examinations, lab tests, and perhaps vaccines. Some workaholics may experience the inability to relax without feeling physically ill, anxious, and agitated if they aren’t working. This prevents them from taking vacations, and often induces them to come to work sick, which is a form of presenteeism. If you are aware of any of these behaviors, it’s time to learn more; and if making healthy changes is difficult, talk to a professional counselor, EAP, or life coach to help you discover a better work-life balance. Start with the 20 questions quiz offered by the 12-step program Workaholics Anonymous. The promise of stopping workaholic behavior is, ironically, increased productivity; improved relationships at work and home; stronger feelings of accomplishment in more aspects of your life; and possibly a longer life.
Source: Quiz for Workaholic at www.workaholics-anonymous.org [search "twenty questions"]
Keith Stein |
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