You many think that a workaholic is a positive mannerism of a person that is hard-working and always going after for their goals because they want to succeed in life. We have categorized this mode of behavior as a hustler, go-getter, etc.
If you are someone who believes this is true, then you may indeed be a workaholic yourself. In this guide, I will break down various reasons why a person becomes a workaholic and offer the ultimate solution on how to stop being a workaholic.
Workaholic versus a Hard worker
As advanced as humans are (in comparison to other earthly species), our intelligence can just as easily become a stumbling block.
We have created this corporate world to become more “civilized,” and have done quite well, in my opinion. Regardless of the work-life imbalance here in the United States, I would say that this society, for the most part, encourages people to earn a decent and honest living.
A hard worker is someone who is a dedicated and proficient tasker in a given occupation; someone who carries out their work duties in a way that is upstanding. A hard worker ensures that tasks are completed in a timely manner, without delay or procrastination. They are dependable and have a mindset of providing a service or duty in the most courteous way.
However, in this effort to maintain social order, many citizens have used this system as a distraction. Workaholics, on the other hand, use tasks and duties as escapism in an effort to avoid dealing with their problems.
Distraction: A thing that prevents someone from giving full attention to something else.
You may be asking, “How can working, in an effort to generate income, be a distraction?”
No worries, I’ll explain this idea in more detail below as I go over some characteristics of a workaholic.
What is work addiction?
A workaholic, as Kathleen Doheny describes in her WebMD article, titled “Working Yourself to Death: Long Hours Brings Risks,” discusses a 35-year old single and childless woman who worked long hours to avoid the emptiness in her life.
My commentary of work as a distraction in this post focuses on that type of individual; one who is not at risk for poverty or malnourishment if their labor slows down.
I want to focus on those who FORCE themselves to work long hours to tire the body and mind so that they can escape their inner chatter, in the same way drug abusers use drugs and alcohol abusers use alcohol to NUMB pain or to escape processing difficult experiences (past or present).
A person operating in the above manner would be deemed a workaholic.
Healthline defines work addiction, or workaholism, as a mental health condition and compulsive disorder. People are often unable to stop or control the addiction, similar to alcoholism or drug addiction. Workaholics receive the same dopamine effect, or high, from working themselves so much.
The different types of workaholics depends largely on the method in which a person chooses to avoid their issues. The underlying issues for each individual varies greatly, but the form of avoidance, workaholism, is the same.
Signs you are a Workaholic
Working to escape authentic connection
In a previous post, I discussed how perpetual working disconnects us from LOVE. And how in our daily pursuit of success, we forget about those sacred connections with loved ones.
I would say that this is largely a U.S. mindset and this American Dream, because while living in South and Central America, I witnessed the opposite mindset. The paisas and the natives of Costa Rica placed an emphasis on Familia! Most of their businesses involved family versus in North America, work separates families.
Kinship, laughter, and in-person check-ins have been replaced with the U.S. dollar.
In this tradeoff, our mental health deterioriates by the day. With family at the forefront of our business endeavors, that LOVE and heartfelt connection is a good recipe for work/life balance. It’s unfortunate that we have lost that.
So when our mental health begins to derail from us choosing money over love, that decline hits harder when LOVE is no where around to help put us back together. As the saying goes….Money can’t buy you love!
Many are behaving in this manner unconsciously, truly believing that they are setting their family up for financial prosperity. In some instances, such as single parenthood, this is unfortunately a requirement for many to maintain living in healthy, non-threatening environments.
I’ll have another blog post discussing how single parenthood is detrimental to a child’s mental health. Be sure to sign-up so that you can receive notifications for future blog posts related to this.
Working to escape authentic connection with other human beings can stem from a past traumatic event, such as loss of a loved one. In order to evade the possibility of experiencing deep hurt from loss again, a person may become a workaholic so they never have to connect to a person on a genuine heartfelt level; they become comfortable with only having business connections as a coping mechanism.
Working to escape emotions.
The feeling of emptiness the 35-year-old lady experienced when she was not busy is significant. It is one example of how humans choose a successful lifestyle over a blissful lifestyle; a lifestyle that involves being content, at ease, and extremely satisfactory.
We have become so distracted with appearing successful, we have forgotten the beautiful gift of FEELING.
Running away from the emotion of emptiness is a mistake. Our emotions serve a purpose to us all. Emotions that we perceive as negative are really just external expressions of our internal sirens.
These sirens go off to grab our attention and alert us that something needs to be corrected in order for us to get back into a space of balance. It brings us into awareness that something is off somewhere.
When feelings of emptiness are regular and long-lasting, they often indicate a deeper psychological issue. Feelings of emptiness are often related to a trauma or a loss, possibly even one that happened a long time ago. Research has shown that people who have experienced childhood abuse, especially emotional abuse, are more likely to report chronic feelings of emptiness.Choosing Therapy
When we escape our emotions, we aren’t being authentic with ourselves. Emotions are like energy in motion, it has to flow. When we boggle them up, the energy becomes stuck in our body. And I’ll describe what this leads to in further detail below.
The link between workaholics and avoidance coping:
Maybe you are a person who works to avoid an argument with a partner, because you are involved in a highly dysfunctional relationship and working seems like the only way you can avoid conflict. This is something that is extremely common.
Maybe there is an issue that has come up in your life and you know that it has to be dealt with, but the thought of tackling the issue head on is too troubling.
Let’s say, for example, you have been eating in an unhealthy way for years and now you have developed symptoms in your body that may require immediate diagnosis to get your health on track. You have an idea that it’s diabetes, because you may have a parent that suffered from the same illness or you’ve been googling your symptoms and it’s closely related to diabetes. You know without a doubt that you need to make an appointment with your primary care physician, but you don’t want to face the truth. So, you throw yourself into working in hopes that the symptoms will go away.
These are just a few ways humans work to avoid problem management. However, do you recall that work distraction we pointed out earlier in the post…Yeah that’s just another term for avoidance coping.
According to the American Psychological Association, avoidance coping is:
any strategy for managing a stressful situation in which a person does not address the problem directly but instead disengages from the situation and averts attention from it.
Short term avoidance coping allows us to take a break whenever a problem is extremely overwhelming. But in long-term, out-of-sight- out-of-mind coping weakens a person’s stress management skills. It’s tricking the brain to believe that the problem has magically solved itself.
Working overtime to dodge triggers is indeed a form of avoidance coping. And although it does provide temporary relief from our symptoms, it is truly only a quick fix.
If this sounds eerily similar to your habits, then read further so that I can show you a healthier alternative and help you end this cycle of workaholism.
The uncomfortable truth: You can run but you can’t hide.
Are you really ready to discover how to stop being a workaholic? Because the answer, although uncomfortable, is really a simple solution.
This idea that we can run to a place to escape our issues is a delusion. Many people still find themselves unsatisfied at work. The sadness, depression, and unfulfillment tends to seep through a person’s aura wherever they go, including the jobs that they are ONLY working to keep their minds preoccupied.
The ultimate conclusion to all of this is that resorting to business/BUSYNESS is just a method to keep our minds off of healing.
However, the popular saying, Wherever you go, there you are, is a more accurate reality.
Not in a mosque or a temple…
What you are suppressing will show up like a pimple.
Not under a lace front or a wig….
Your silhouette will always sing a different jig.
The crease on your cheek..the twinkle in your eye…the tick in your sway
Tells an unfamiliar story, unalike the one you display.
Not while flying in the air…not under the accessories you wear
Not even the alterations of your hair
Can continue to smother your authentic self…
You know it’s unfair.
Not in a box or a car….not in America or even afar
You will only arrive at a destination to face YOURSELF and all of your scars
How long will you run before you understand
The only way to reconcile is to take the leap while holding your own hand.
Our corporate identity is conditional. Our true self is eternal.
When you are working, you have created this corporate identity. You are performing a role or providing a service as a business entity. Your thoughts are fixated on business-related things. It is the self that we create from our ego in order to participate in the game of life.
But the moment you return home, you are your true self. You cannot hide behind a title or a uniform. You are NAKED..exposed.
It is said that the human spirit emcompasses our intellect, emotions, fears, passions, and creativity. So when you deny yourself of connection with the very element that reminds you of your purpose on the earth, the result is displeasure in life, self-denial, and a lack of self-love.
The hardships that we encounter are only a fraction of our experience on this earth. We can’t forget about that inner self that once felt joy and pleasure with life.
How to stop being a workaholic.
The simple solution to how to stop being a workaholic lies in a 4-letter word, and that is HEAL.
Healing is a choice to end all suffering.
As I discussed in a previous post, to heal means (of a person or treatment)..to cause (a wound, injury, or person) to become sound or healthy again.
As I note above, my acronym for H.E.A.L. is to HALT EVERYTHING AND LISTEN TO YOUR SPIRIT. If you’re not fond of the word spirit, then listen to your intuition, that still small voice that guides you in your daily life.
Healing is the path to a holistic life, one that you can enjoy while simultaneously generating income…a life that you don’t have to escape.
We cannot dodge our traumas, issues, or emotions at the end of the day. The more we try to suppress those feelings, the more powerful they will become.
Energy is never destroyed, it only transfers. The heart disease, mental illness, irregular heartbeats, and even diabetes (which are all a result of rerouted emotions) can begin to be put at ease by speaking with a psychotherapist or other mental health professional.
When you make the choice to heal, instead of running from your problems, you are sending a signal to your brain and to the cells in your body that you want to do more than survive…you want to THRIVE.
When you make the BOLD decision to heal, you are saying you do not accept defeat. You are declaring yourself as a warrior that is ready to END the possible generational cycle of workaholism.
I don’t know if anyone has told you, but you are BRAVE. It takes courage to stand in front of your troubles and take charge over your life.
The trauma may not have been our choice, but the healing is. And we can offer so much more to the world when we are operating from a space of alignment and balance.
If you are struggling with maintaining a balanced mental health, being a workaholic is ruining your relationships, and you can’t seem to control the behavior, I strongly encourage you to seek therapy. This is a disorder that should be taken seriously and may involve long-term rehabilitation treatment in order to see long-lasting results.
Right now, Online-Therapy is offering several FREE services due to COVID-19. The FREE services includes access to yoga and meditation videos, a journal, activity plan, and 25 worksheets. This is one unique feature about Online-Therapy that sets their company apart from the rest.
Online-Therapy also offers private, anonymous counseling with a therapist, which is offered at an affordable cost.
By using this referral link, you will receive a 20% discount for your 1st month of therapy services!
In-office visits can cost you $100 or more just for one session, especially couples counseling. Online-Therapy allows you to do counseling from the comfort of your home through a secure and confidential connection. Counseling can be initiated via mobile phone, a computer, or a tablet.
Below is a list of the topics that their therapists can assist you with.
If this information has helped you in any way, please share! Head to the subscription link at the bottom of the page so that you can be notified when new blog posts related to mental health are published.