In my daily profession, I see tons of people on a daily basis that are under high levels of stress. Most is due to work stress, followed by financial stress. In 2021, economic concerns rose and 66% of those who were employed were experiencing stress (American Psychological Association).
Let's talk about the difference between being dedicated to your career and being addicted to it? Do you:
Feel a sense of being driven when working more so than when you are not?
Feel empty, depressed on anxious when you are not working?
Often miss dinner or family celebrations because of work?
Feel you will never get your work done, no matter how hard you work?
Have to always be on call?
Feel you never get work done, no matter how hard you try?
Stay awake at night thinking about work?
Often work more than 10 hours a day?
Find yourself always thinking about work when you are at home or away from work?
Feel successful but not happy?
Have chronic physical problems, such as headaches, neck pain, colitis, high blood pressure, anxiety?
If you answered yes to several of these questions, you may be more than just a hard worker, you may be under acute/chronic stress. If so, it's time to take a long hard look at your work life. Recognizing a problem is the first strep toward resolving it. Once stress levels are at a minimum, everything else in your life comes together and life seems easier.
Here are ways to reclaim your life and prevent burnout and/or physical and psychological distress:
Take time off to rejuvenate.
Set time aside each day for a nonwork activity you enjoy.
Exercise, go for a walk, meditate, stretch.
Don't work through your lunch. Take that time to disconnect.
Do deep breathing (without vaping/cigarettes). Inhale slowly through your nose, mentally count to two, then exhale for a count of four. Repeat five times.
Cut down on alcohol and caffeine.
Find alternative behaviors or activities to do rather than eating or using food as a coping mechanism.
Leave work at work.
Let go of the things you have no control over.
Talk yourself up! Low self-esteem is often behind work addiction. Try repeating these affirmations to yourself several times a day. Believe it or not, they really work. Ie.. "I'm successful and will achieve my dreams."
Lastly reach out for help. If you can't reach out to those around you, reach out to a professional.
In today's world we are living a very fast-paced lifestyle and our mind and bodies cannot keep up. We have to take time to slow down and take care of ourselves. For more help, reach out to me to set up a consultation.
Nichole Barras, BS, CPT, CHC
Specializing in stress and weight management.