11 ways to stop being a workaholic and start finding a work-life balance

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Written By Margonoe Tumindax

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Work is a part of our life, not our whole life. This is often a healthy reminder for people seeking to strike the perfect work-life balance. But when it comes to workaholics, life seems to be mostly about work. There are no boundaries, and it can often impede their personal lives and mess their mental health too. So, here are some effective tips on how to stop being a workaholic.

Who is a workaholic?

Being a workaholic refers to a person who has an excessive and compulsive desire to work. He or she often prioritises work over other aspects of life, such as personal relationships, hobbies, and self-care. Workaholics tend to dedicate an excessive amount of time and energy to their work. This is detrimental to their overall well-being, says psychiatrist Dr Rahul Rai Kakkar.

Workaholism has negative effects on your mental health. Image courtesy: Freepik

What are the causes of workaholism?

Several factors can contribute to a person becoming a workaholic. Some common causes are:

• A strong desire for success and recognition
• Fear of failure
• External pressure or expectations from others
• A need for control
• Constant chase for perfectionism
• Using work as a way to cope with stress or escape from personal issues.

These factors can create a cycle where the person feels compelled to continually invest more time and effort into their work, says the expert.

What does workaholism do to your mental health?

Being a workaholic can have many negative effects on your mental health. The constant focus on work can lead to:

• Burnout
• Exhaustion
• Increased stress levels

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Workaholics may also struggle with maintaining a healthy work-life balance, resulting in strained relationships, feelings of isolation, and a decline in overall life satisfaction. Also, the relentless pursuit of work-related goals can contribute to anxiety and depression, says Dr Kakkar.

There is also a study that found this connection. In a 2016 study published in Plos One, a strong link between workaholism and anxiety, depression and other mental problems was found.

How to stop being a workaholic?

For the sake of your mental health, you should stop being a workaholic! Here’s what to do:

1. Set boundaries

It’s not just about establishing clear boundaries with your partner for a healthy relationship. You should also set boundaries between your work and personal life. Define specific working hours and stick to them to ensure a more balanced lifestyle.

2. Prioritise self-care

Make time for self-care activities such as exercise, relaxation and hobbies that you always wanted to engage in. Taking care of your physical and mental well-being is crucial for long-term happiness.

3. Learn to delegate

Trust others to share the workload instead of doing everything yourself. Delegating tasks can reduce the burden on you and provide opportunities for team members to contribute.

Woman at work
Take breaks at work. Image courtesy; Adobe Stock

4. Take breaks

Schedule regular breaks during work hours to rest and recharge. Short breaks can improve focus and productivity while preventing burnout, says the expert.

5. Set realistic goals

Establish achievable and realistic goals at work. Avoid setting excessively high standards that may contribute to an unhealthy obsession with work.

6. Reflect on values

Consider your core values and priorities in your life. Ensure that your goals align with these values and make adjustments if necessary.

7. Socialise outside of work

Nurture personal relationships by spending quality time with your family, friends and loved ones. Building a strong support system can help to create a more fulfilling life.

8. Seek professional help

If work-related stress and anxiety persist, don’t hesitate in seeking the guidance of a mental health professional. They can provide coping strategies and support.

9. Practice mindfulness

Incorporate mindfulness techniques such as meditation or deep breathing exercises in your life. These will help to stay in the present and reduce stress.

10. Limit technology use

Set boundaries on communication related to your work once you are out of office. Turn off email notifications and resist the urge to constantly check work messages during your personal time.

11. Celebrate achievements

Acknowledge and celebrate both small and large achievements in your life. Recognise that success is not solely defined by work accomplishments.

By implementing these strategies, you can gradually shift away from workaholic tendencies, fostering a healthier and more balanced approach to life.

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