National Workaholics Day: Take the Day Off & Give Your Brain a Break! Do These Activities Instead!
Are you the reliable employee who always shows up on time, covers for others when short-staffed, and puts in extra hours when you are needed?
Do you have a pile of vacation hours/PTO because you feel guilty about taking time off?
If so, did you know there is a day celebrated just for you on the calendar?
National Workaholics Day is one of those fun "National Days" which is on July 5th every year.
While these national days are often celebrated in jest, being considered a workaholic can be admirable. Working hard at your occupation provides a certain level of self worth. Your peers respect you. And your employer will hopefully recognize it which leads to pay increases, promotions, etc.
However, work burnout is very real. If you don't take some personal time off periodically, it will catch up to you. Your job satisfaction will be lower and your performance will likely suffer.
People need to take time off to recharge from the grind. It's a must.
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How Do You Know if You Are a Workaholic?
Workaholics tend to feel "off" when they aren't working. Even though they aren't at work, they are thinking about the job and stressing about what needs to be done at it.
Oddly enough, workaholics don't even need to enjoy the job to become consumed by it. Sometimes work will give you a sense of belonging and structure. Coworkers provide the ability to socialize with others outside of family. Some people consider themselves defined by their jobs and titles. When they aren't working, workaholics have a true void in their day that is hard to fulfill with other activities.
Being passionate and caring greatly about your job is a good thing. Especially for your employer. However, when taken to extremes it comes at an expense. And being a workaholic is an addiction. Aside from job burnout, personal relationships can suffer. When your overall mood declines, someone pays the price. This will often be friends, family, and loved ones.
Here are some symptoms of a workaholic.
- Often distracted by emails, phone calls, and texts regarding job during off hours.
- Working during holidays.
- Have a massive amount of unused vacation time.
- Trouble getting a good night of sleep.
- Work/Life balance is out of whack.
- Nonexistent family time.
- Feeling guilty when a vacation day is used.
Do You Have Friends or Family That Are Workaholics? How Can You Help Them?
You may have friends or family with workaholic symptoms or traits. Spending quality time with them can be frustrating when they can't mentally leave the office.
It is important to remember that their heart is in the right place. They are trying their best at their job. They are making money, putting food on the table, being a productive member of society.
Suggesting to another person they need a break because you are noticing a personal decline can be tricky. You don't want to be offensive and cause more aggravation. But you care about them and obviously it is impacting you as well.
The Best Activities to Combat Workaholic Behavior
Once you've identified the problem, it's important to find ways to combat workaholic behavior. You might not be able to totally eliminate all of the frustrating symptoms, but even a slight improvement is worth the effort.
Here are some activities and methods to try.
Use Your Vacation Time
When I was younger, I used to accumulate vacation time at work like it was a badge of honor. It was almost like a competition between a couple of us coworkers to see who had the most. In hindsight, this was pretty dumb. Doing this is a good way to get burned out. And I did.
Please note I'm not recommending to use all of your time off. I still like to have a couple of weeks of vacation on hand, "just in case". You never know what will come up.
But all means, use some time off and enjoy yourself. See the country on a roadtrip, or have a "staycation" for a week. And please keep the work calls, emails, and texts to an absolute minimum during this time off. I would rather you avoid all work during this time but a workaholic probably isn't going to adhere to such an outlandish request!
Wait, don't let the word "everyday" freak you out. I'm not necessarily talking about a super strict, high intensity daily workout. Although if you enjoy that type of thing, more power to you!
Rather, I'm talking about anything that gets you off your butt and moving. It can be a workout, or simply going for a walk with a loved one, or dog, or by yourself. Find a way to get the ticker moving daily and you will be surprised how much better you'll feel.
This is also a great way to blow off some steam and stress from the workplace.
Put Your Phone Away During Family Time
Cell phone addiction is a growing problem. It's bad enough when we can't put the phone down for our own amusement. But then add on the time spent answering work calls, texts, and emails. Houston we have a problem!
I feel that we should get in the habit of setting the phone aside for a period of time in the evenings. For sure during the evening meal. Having a table full of zombies staring down at their electronics and not communicating with each other is kind of a sad reality these days.
And yes there are times when I'm as guilty as the next person at this. As with any form of addiction, it takes daily effort to battle it.
Learn How to Say No
The inability to say no is a common trait among workaholics. They say yes to more workload, yes to longer hours, yes to rescheduling vacation to accommodate someone else's schedule. By doing these things often enough, you are also saying yes to job burnout.
Look, there are times when you have to be flexible for your job. But if you don't learn how to say no once in awhile, your kindness can be taken advantage of.
Eat Lunch at Home
I learned early on in my career to eat lunch at home instead of at the workplace. Why? Because coworkers like to vent, gossip, and talk about work during this "break."
I don't know about you, but the last thing I want to do during a lunch break is talk about work. I realize that not everyone has a quick commute back home. Eating lunch at home might not be possible for most. But if you can, I highly recommend it. The peace and quiet for a bit during your workday might do wonders. It did for me.
Delegate Tasks When Needed
If you are a supervisor or an employee who has some seniority, don't be afraid to delegate some work when you are overloaded. I understand feeling too proud to ask for help but sometimes it is needed.
Maybe you are afraid to delegate because you think the work won't be done correctly by someone else. Sometimes fellow coworkers just need the chance to sink or swim. It might be the opportunity they are looking for to challenge themselves and succeed.
Find a Hobby to Take Your Mind Off Work
Being a burned out workaholic is less likely when you have something fun to look forward to after work. Aside from the all important family time, a person should have a hobby to take one's mind off of work. And no, watching TV doesn't count!
Here are some hobbies you might like.
- Weight Lifting
How To Avoid Burnout
Here are some other great tips on how to avoid burnout that so many workaholics endure.
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Have You Ever Celebrated National Workaholics Day?
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