In a society that is obsessed with long-hours and productivity, being a workaholic has now become a cultural norm. In fact, some even wear it as a badge of honour. We often hear about friends or colleagues talking about how much overtime they’ve clocked in, and how tired they are. But have we become so obsessed with work that we’re forgetting the consequences it has on our health?
Through surveys conducted by AIA Vitality, it has been found that Malaysians work the most overtime hours on average. So much so that we have surpassed even Singapore and Hong Kong, both of which are known for being high-stress urban environments! This has led to Kuala Lumpur being ranked as the fourth most overworked city in the world, according to research conducted late last year.
But how do you tell if you are a workaholic? Well, here are some major signs to look out for.
1. You eat your lunch in your office, or at your desk
For most workaholics, it’s hard to be away from their work for too long. The overbearing notion that they may be missing out on a potentially important email or phone call means that they are willing to stay chained to their workstations for hours on end. In severe cases, they may even be willing to sacrifice their lunch breaks too.
If you’re prone to spending your weekdays having your meals at your desk, then take note!
Lunch breaks are an essential part of keeping a healthy work-life balance. Not only do they provide necessary exercise for your body, they give your eyes a moment’s rest from the harmful strain of computer screens too.
2. You feel guilty for leaving work behind after you clock out
Workaholics tend to feel a twang of guilt every time they leave their work behind. Even if this means clocking out from the office, they find it incredibly difficult to detach themselves from their workplace responsibilities. Workaholics are often compelled to work beyond the office as a result, which leads to developing feelings of anxiety and dread that can detrimentally affect their mental and physical wellbeing.
If you are prone to checking your emails even before you head to bed, it’s time to give that habit up. Your body will thank you for it!
3. Your health has suffered because of work
The effects of working long hours can manifest very tangibly in your health. From sleeping late and eating at odd hours, to staring at your computer screen for extended periods and being constantly on edge, workaholism can take a massive toll on your body.
Workaholism can lead to among other things, an increased risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease (due to sleep deprivation), weight gain, and musculoskeletal conditions.
4. You take your work home
In some very extreme cases of workaholism, some employees are known to bring their work home with them. Or worse still, they may even find themselves bringing work on vacation. If you find yourself telling your colleagues that they can still reach you while you’re away on leave, then you may be developing a workaholic condition.
Preserving work-life balance is crucial, and it starts with strict discipline.
When you’re home, be very clear about not responding to work-related emails or notifications. Spend your time with your family or pursuing passions outside of your work. Establish boundaries and be sure you stick to them.
5. You don’t make time for your own hobbies
Speaking of personal passions, if you find yourself spending more time at work than at play, you may be a workaholic waiting to happen. Many workaholics tend to prioritise their professional responsibilities over personal interests, and are willing to give up any free time they may have to get their jobs done. While that may reflect well on your work ethic, you do so at the expense of the time your body and mind needs to relax and unwind.
It also leads to many workaholics suddenly finding themselves at a loss for things to do upon retiring, which can lead to feelings of despondency and depression.
6. Your relationships are strained
Do you find yourself cancelling plans with friends and family often because of your work? Do you tend to work while spending time around your loved ones? Neglecting personal relationships in favour of professional commitments is often a sure-fire indication of workaholism.
If you’re not careful, these already strained ties can lead to arguments and misunderstandings, while fostering a negative environment at home.
Nothing should ever be more important than the ties that bind, so be sure to take time off from work to be with your family and friends.
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