Human beings are inherently free, yet we keep finding countless ways to trap ourselves. In this day and age, it’s easy to fall into the trap of social conditioning and it is even easier to get caught up in work and everyday stress that the modern way of living inevitably brings. We’re overworked, overstressed and sometimes, it feels like we’re trying to find a way out of a maze that is our professional life. All of this can take a significant toll on one’s health and well-being. Does this sound familiar to you? If it does, then you might be a workaholic. And that means you need to find a way to relieve stress and relax, in order to cultivate and grow a certain balance between your professional and personal life.
It is a part of our heritage, tradition, and culture as entrepreneurs to be driven by our businesses. We want them to succeed so badly that we are sometimes willing to sacrifice our time, energy, relationships, and money for the realization of the vision we have for our businesses.
We can’t help it and many of us like it that way. We value the results of our hard work. But too often we put “well-being” near the bottom of the to-do list. A study called, “Workaholism and Well-Being,” conducted by College of Human Ecology concluded that workaholism may have a severely negative effect on those who work long hours.
Researcher, Sarah Asebedo said, “We looked at the association between workaholism and physical and mental well-being. We found workaholics — defined by those working more than 50 hours per week — were more likely to have reduced physical well-being, measured by skipped meals. Also, we found that workaholism was associated with reduced mental well-being as measured by a self-reported depression score.”
This is not good news. And the news doesn’t get any better. Work addicts may be susceptible to multiple health issues including high blood pressure, fatigue, and stress. In Japan, overworking is responsible for an estimated 10,000 deaths of working men in the country each year, according to Japanese occupational health researchers. There is even a word for a death caused by working; karoshi.
The Workaholics’ Struggle – Take Time for Yourself; 7 Things Every Workaholic Should Do
Entrepreneurs combat all of these issues we briefly reflected earlier in this article, on a daily basis. This poses a legitimate question: Is there a way to relieve stress in order to stay healthy, happy and productive while working hard constantly? Luckily, there are quite a few ways, but in this article, we will focus on 7 things most of us can take the time to do. They are, as follows:
• Regular Relaxation
Now, let’s break it down even further and talk a bit about each of these 5 equally important techniques if you will, that work together in synergy and have the power to help every workaholic out there.
There is a swift paradigm shift occurring in our society, that has risen from this toxic ambient of money, stress, deadlines, and work. Meditation is not something Eastern spiritual gurus and California hippies do anymore, it has become an integral part of the Western civilization.
Taking the time to pray or meditate is incredibly important and here’s why: it is scientifically proven that meditation can make you more resilient to stress by actually altering the pathways in your brain. Sit down, keep your back straight, close your eyes, breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth.
It is a well-known fact that physical activity helps release feel-good hormones, but regular exercise significantly reduces stress. Even if you’re a true workaholic, taking the time to exercise regularly (at least a few times a week) is something that you can do and, most definitely, the best possible thing you can do for yourself. There is an old Latin saying that goes: “In a healthy body, a healthy mind” and it conceptually summarizes the core essence and purpose of regular physical activity.
3. Create a Holiday
Holidays have a good way of slowing us down and making us have fun, rest, or enjoy the company of our loved ones. The good thing about holidays is that they come around the same time every year. Because of that consistency, we can prepare and look forward to them. Since we as entrepreneurs can sometimes work more than the average workforce, we should be entitled to more holidays. Right?
In 1985, Australian Elaine Fremont wanted an excuse to have a monthly party. She invented Bonza Bottler Day, which she celebrated on any day that matched the month (i.e, January 1, February 2 … ). The holiday has achieved a cult status in Australia.
As a business owner, you have the power and privilege to create a holiday at any given time. Celebrate the day you started the business. Celebrate the day you left your job to run your business full-time. Celebrate the day you became profitable. Celebrate the day you couldn’t think of anything to celebrate.
It really doesn’t matter what holiday you create and celebrate. The point is to take a moment away from your work and have fun or take a day off.
4. Regular Relaxation Habit
Relaxation is something every workaholic should consider making an integral part of their life. All of these techniques we’ve talked about are incredibly useful and compliment each other wonderfully, but doing them on and off, from time to time and “when you feel like it” won’t do much to permanently calm and relax that inner workaholic.
Every workaholic, every entrepreneur, every student should try and make relaxation a habit. If you are a true workaholic, you probably have a pretty busy schedule that you tend to religiously stick to, but taking 10 minutes each day, for a start, is definitely something you can do.
There is something most workaholics have in common; they take themselves, their jobs and life very seriously. Laughter is the best possible anti-depressant and stress relief tool in the world. If you think your job really matters that much in the grand scheme of things, think again. You have been lucky enough to be given the wonderful gift of life. Laugh, enjoy yourself, have fun.
Do you ever feel like you’re on autopilot? Every workaholic out there feels this way sometimes. We work, think, feel and act as if we are not even there. Some of us even spend weeks and months walking through a dense maze that we bestow upon ourselves.
To be present means to be focused on the now, to be in this very moment and to feel and experience the world as it is and ourselves as we are. Ironically, even if you’re a workaholic, being present will make you more productive and you’ll probably enjoy work a lot more. For a start, take a couple of minutes every single day to do absolutely nothing – simply breathe deeply and look around yourself.
7. Take Some Time Off, For Crying Out Loud
This was hard for me to do when I first started my business. I was so excited about the change and driven to succeed that I worked for nearly 2 months straight. I would wake up at 3:30 am and work until about 5:00 pm. It was a wonderful time for me and my business. But it was a terrible time for my body.
I worked so much that my body began to feel the stress. Before I knew it, I was experiencing neck and back pain. I tried several different things to help ease the pain. Ibuprofen, massages, heat and cold packs etc. Everything helped the pain, but nothing cured it.
It wasn’t until I took a week off that I began to notice a difference. After 2 days of laying in bed and falling in and out of sleep, my body began to recover. I spent the rest of the week resting my body by staying in bed, binging on Netflix and playing NBA2k video games. By the end of the week, I was 99% pain-free and I was re-energized. To make sure that recovered fully, I did the same thing the following weak.
Schedule a vacation getaway or just a week to do nothing. If you can immerse yourself so deeply into work, you can most definitely try and take some time for yourself. After all, time can’t be bought.
Deadlines, debts, bills, business ideas that never work, unreliable coworkers, market trends and changes – all of these things are something every workaholic faces on a daily, if not hourly, basis. There is indeed a way to cope with all of that built up stress. All that it takes is some dedication.