Workaholism: We have a way out

November 25, 2019 | Hope Channel Southeast Asia


What is a ‘workaholic’?

The term “workaholic” was first coined by psychologist Wayne E. Oates in 1968 for someone with an “uncontrollable need to work incessantly” Oates saw some people’s relationship to work as an addiction akin to alcoholism or substance abuse. 1

Signs you are a workaholic: 2

  1. You look for ways to free up more time, so you can work.
  2. Working helps to reduce feelings of guilt, anxiety, helplessness and/or depression.
  3. It is affecting your relationships and you have been told by others to cut down, but you have not listened.
  4. You show signs of stress and frustration when unable to work.
  5. You replace hobbies, leisure activities, with more work.
  6. Your health is being compromised as result of constant working.

And now, how to overcome workaholism?

1. Learn to shut it down:

Make a pact with yourself that you will not work past a certain time, and honor that time to shut it down. Learn to walk away. 3

2. Give yourself a break:

Learn to give yourself breaks during the workday, even if they’re small ones. Go out for lunch instead of eating at your desk. Take short walks around the office or a quick trip to a nearby park -anything that changes the scenario. Even 10 minutes can make a big difference. 3


3. Pick a hobby or two:

Find things non-work related that really excite you. You could learn to cook, to play a sport or to play an instrument. Whatever it is, make sure is fun and you enjoy it. 4


4. Treat it seriously:

When you are consumed with work and act as if your life were dependent on your job, you're likely damaging your health and relationships. You need to take change seriously. If need be, consider getting help to learn better skills for balancing your life. 5


5. Have a rest day:

The word “Sabbath” simply means rest. Stop. Cease.

And if you’re a slave to your work, it’s worth noting that the Sabbath presented in the Ten Commandments was first given to fleeing slaves. They had just escaped from a life where they had no choice but to work, and probably seven days a week.

“Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you,” says the commandment, which goes on to explicitly connect Sabbath observance with freedom from slavery. “Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work. . . . Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm” (Deuteronomy 5:12–15). 6


After this being said, you know what to do to quit that habit of being a workaholic. Now, what decision are you going to make?