Escape the Workaholic Hole

Many of us maintain a hectic, workaholic pace. Work addiction is rampant at all levels of society.

Yet psychologists caution that people will be most productive, happy, and fulfilled only when there is time to renew, relax, and restore body and mind.

In today's culture it is not only possible but necessary to overcome work addiction. Here are 12 simple but effective strategies for slowing down.

1. Learn to say “No”.

It will be impossible to have control over your time and life if you say “yes” to every person’s request.

This is a four-step plan to help you with this problem:

1. Listen – to display understanding and interest of the request.

2. Say “No” promptly – to evade initiation of false hopes.

3. Convey your reasons – so your refusal will be met with understanding.

4. Recommend other options (if possible) – to prove good faith.

2. Make happiness a priority.

Go out and indulge with your favorite sweet drinks and food. Create a “pleasure inventory,” scheduling how, where, and with whom you most happy. Then recharge yourself up with those activities and friends. Many people blame their lack of pleasure on lack of time, but the real problem may be a failure to recognize and build into their daily routine and activities, people or places they find fulfilling.

3. Observe your lunchtime.

Do not work through lunch ever. Stop all your tasks to eat your lunch. Eat your lunch at a relaxing pace. If there is time left over, read a chapter in a book, go for a solitary walk, sit quietly on a park bench.

4. Take a break outside for air.

Always take periodic breaks during daytime. Learn to do this. Every day set aside a quiet time to relax. Every person requires revitalizing that a couple of minutes alone can give.

5. Always observe rituals.

Workaholic people decline to take a break for holidays, birthdays, and other festive happenings. Start looking at these rituals as a chance to unwind and de-stress. Attend that wedding, baptism, graduation, retirement party, birthday, or anniversary.

6. Relish waiting "for fish to bite."

A leader with a very busy schedule who knows how to unwind is a governor. One time he went fishing in one boat while his father and uncle went out in another. After a while the two older men returned to shore: “I stayed out for hours, and when I came back they said, 'Boy, you must have been slaying them out there.' I said, 'No, I didn't get a nibble all day.' And they wouldn't believe it. But nothing makes me happier than to be waiting and waiting for a fish to bite.”

7. Assume a calming hobby.

“I'm a dirt gardener - it's the best way I know to relax,” advises actress Angela Lansbury. “You can't worry about something else when you're concerned about your roses. And when I'm not actually digging, I love to read gardening books and seed catalogs, looking for new varieties of bulbs to order and plant. A spring garden is the most exciting, happy thing for me. Just to see it suddenly burst into bloom!”

8. Remove yourself away from it all.

Every psychologist and time management expert recognizes the importance of a vacation. Have a health-giving balance between play and work, leisure and labor. When doing this, you permit your body and mind to rejuvenate. If you can't get away for two weeks, try one week or even a long weekend periodically.

9. Spend time with friends.

If all a person does is work, he will slowly become a one-dimensional, isolated person. A solid social network aids to combat feelings of despair, isolation, and loneliness. Friendships have been shown to protect people from depression, ill health following job loss, feelings of dissatisfaction, anxiety or depression caused by job stress. Maintain your social network and make new friends whenever possible. Reciprocate invitations, return calls, schedule regular get-togethers.

10. De-stress while travelling back home.

Change your mind set from the professional to the personal as you travel back home. Visualize yourself relaxing on the sofa reading a book. While en route home use the time to let the day's tensions slide off.

11. Change your clothes when you get home.

Not only will you feel more pleasant by changing your clothes, but you will be utilizing an influential symbolic action that will affect your subconscious. By changing your clothes when you walk in the door, you are partitioning your day in two. The hard, stressful half is over. The relaxing, refreshing, renewing half is beginning.

12. Have a sense of humor.

A sharp sense of humor aids us all to overcome the unexpected, understand the unconventional, tolerate the unpleasant, overlook the unbecoming, and outlast the unbearable.

Finally, if after trying these strategies you will find yourself unable to conquer work addiction, keep in mind the sound advice of American playwright George Ade: “One cannot rest except after steady practice.”

Society | Self-Help

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