In an ever increasingly fast-paced world, it’s easy to succumb to the pressures of feeling the need to succeed. Part of the problem is the praise and rewards we give to workaholics. But these people shouldn’t always be admired.
There’s a difference between working hard and overworking that, unfortunately, many overworkers do not understand. While everyone wants to achieve success, there are some limits that should be enforced to balance other aspects of your life.
This mindset of heavy overworking can lead to unhealthy behaviors that have detrimental effects if not stopped. Learn about the dangers of overworking and what you can do to create a better work-life balance for yourself without sacrificing one or the other.
The real dangers of overworking
In a capitalist culture, people are driven by money. So much in fact, that they can ignore other problems going on in their life if they know it could be leading to a higher income. It’s important to take time to re-evaluate what’s important in your life and know when to step off the gas.
When you invest too much time working, going in early and staying way too late, you’re sacrificing other vital parts of life. For one thing, you may begin to experience social isolation. Humans are social creatures. We need our packs. If you dedicate too much time to your work, you’ll be missing out on your social time and quickly start to experience feelings of loneliness and even depression.
You may risk losing friendships and straying away from your family members. If you’re always invested in your work and won’t take time to relax with your loved ones, they may eventually stop trying to find time with you. That’s the unfortunate effect of constantly pushing people away.
Not only will your social health suffer, so too will your physical health. Keeping your brain too focused on work for too long will undoubtedly lead to compounded stress and anxiety. If you sacrifice your sleep regularly to do more work, you can even suffer from sleep deprivation and its harmful effects. You’ll lose your focus, energy, and may even expose yourself to the risks of more serious health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
Finding a balance
Learn when enough is enough. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to succeed at your career, but don’t push the boundaries so hard that it takes over your whole life. Make sure to enforce limits so that you can live a happy and healthy life.
Leaving work at the office
Maybe this isn’t realistic all of the time, but for most days you should be leaving work at the office. This means both physically and mentally.
Don’t let your work consistently infiltrate your home. Your home should be a place for relaxation and unwinding after the days. If you must bring work home occasionally, at least keep it out of the bedroom so you can still have one safe haven.
Leaving your work at the office means more than just keeping your work computer tucked away. It also means making the conscious effort to flip the switch in your head, especially when you have a family you’re coming home to. Flipping the switch is easier said than done, but there are a few tactics that can help you such as meditating or spending a few mindful minutes observing your surroundings.
Stop worrying about deadlines and the other stresses of work when you come home. Save it for the 9-5 hours and let your evenings be about your actual life.
Putting an end to the late-nights
In college, it probably wasn’t a big deal to stay up until 2 a.m. or even pull an all-nighter occasionally, but you have to realize those days are behind you. Missing out on your sleep is never worth the time you stay up. Sure, you can clock in a few extra hours on your work, but they will be practically useless. The next day you’ll be exhausted, unfocused, and unproductive.
Adopting healthy sleeping habits is going to be vital to your success. The quantity of your sleep is important (at least seven hours each night) but the quality is even more vital. In order to unwind properly at the end of the days and feel well-rested in the morning, you’ll want to make sure you can properly find comfort in your sleep to get your best rest. Your sleep time is a critical component to your mental health.
Spend time socializing
It’s not practical every weekend to have a big extravaganza, but at least once or twice a month you should be spending a weekend with friends and family to maintain your social relationships. It’s easy to say you’re too tired and need time to rest, but sometimes you need to make the initiate to nurture your relationships. Of course, you don’t want to overdo it and start indulging on Thirsty Thursday each week, but it’s good to get out and enjoy time with other people occasionally.
Having personal time
While it’s important to spend time being social, it’s also vital that you don’t forget about yourself. There are plenty of ways to dedicate time to yourself each day.
For one thing, you can create a wind down routine each evening to relax and spend time doing what you enjoy. Whether it’s reading a book, practicing one of your favorite hobbies, or just soaking in a bath, it’s important to dedicate some time to rest your brain. Future you will thank you.
Practicing better self-care is important for everyone. Find self care practices that are best for you and implement them more regularly into your routine in order to better take care of yourself. If you continue to prioritize work over your own mental well-being, eventually your work will start to suffer. Be proactive and make efforts to create a healthy balance now.
Author’s bio: Laurie Larson is a writer based in NC who writes on home, health, and lifestyle topics.
Also published on Medium.