Whether you work at home, go to an office, or volunteer you can become one! What is the difference of a “hard worker” and being a “workaholic?”

A true definition of a workaholic according to Merriam-Webster is: “one who values work over any other activity.” However, a “hard worker” is defined as: “one who completes the work they are called to do in a diligent and industrious manner, and sets the priorities of faith, family,  friends, and fun into living the abundant life.

Can you see the difference? Why do people in their workplaces, homes, churches, and great organizations, end up choosing the lifestyle of a workaholic?

There are several valid reasons, with the leading one being we are rewarded for it!  Whether feeding our lives financially, giving us greater self-worth, being an escape from building relationships and problems, or giving us energy for life, it adds up to us being out of balance and in the long term it can shorten our lives.

Workaholics are not bad people, they are ones who have let their habits and choices override the true essence of what life really can and should be!

Are they easy to recognize?  Normally, they are the ones that: are constantly checking on work- even when they are with family and friends, are anxious about being away from their work, never say “no” to additional work, put work ahead of everything, not always the most organized, rarely take vacations and days off- or if they do work goes with them, feel their self-worth is what they do, life is all about them, think “multitasking” is the only way to achieve, live on the edge of perfectionism, are controllers, eat poorly, don’t exercise, take poor care of their spiritual and emotional well being, and become defensive or angry when criticized for being a workaholic!

Why do I know so much about workaholics? Because I am one who is doing whatever it takes to recover from a lifetime of letting my self-worth be defined by what I do and do well, rather than on who I am!  I didn’t fall into the total trap of being the normal workaholic, but had I not realized where I was headed, I could certainly have ended up that way!

Do you know people like us? Are you one?  It is said in our country, more and more are being added every day.  This is becoming the “new normal!” What are the consequences of living this kind of life?

The insurance industry has released these facts that workaholics: are a greater health risk,  marriages suffer in a higher divorce rate, average work week is 64 plus hours, have a higher rate of heart disease, take very few lunch breaks, perceive time differently than most of us, can’t relax on vacation without getting sick, and are more likely to suffer a job-related injury or illness.

Doesn’t sound like joyous news for us, does it? Why did I chose to research and share this topic on one of our favorite holidays called Labor Day?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, we have been celebrating this holiday as a nation since 1894 and it is “a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

We need to celebrate that hard work is a good thing for us, however I do have some good news on how to recover and prevent us from becoming “workaholics” to keep our nation and our lives strong and healthy.

Consider these steps and see how they can help you, and also how you can help others who are trapped in this lifestyle.  Encourage them to see there is a greater purpose, plan, and life awaiting them!

1.       Define your worth through God, not self or career.

2.       Change your values so work is not the most important thing in your life.

3.       Face and overcome fear of failure or insecurities in your life.

4.       Limit the number of hours and attention you give to your career.

5.       Learn to say “no” even to good things.

6.       Put your family and friends in a high priority place.

7.       Focus on your health and get on a good eating and exercising plan.

8.       Take up a hobby that lets you accomplish something other than your work.

9.       Plan your work so that you are working smarter not harder.

10.     Allow yourself 8 hours of sleep.

There is more that could be said about this “disease” that is out of control, and hard to cure. I only sought to show you the “need” and the “benefits” of change, so that you might want to join me on this journey.  The choice is yours!

Have a great week!

“Simply” Sue 

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