Are you working to live or living to work? Do you feel as though you may be turning into a zombie? If the answer is “yes,” then you’re a workaholic; if the answer is “no,” however, there’s still a chance you may be a workaholic. Like any addiction, this unnatural commitment to work often elicits a mindset of denial. Here are six signs that might well indicate your work ethic is becoming unhealthy.
How Much Coffee is Too Much?
You don’t have to be a workaholic to love coffee, but it helps. Many people love a cup of joe in the morning, and then maybe a coffee with lunch to see themselves past the halfway mark of the day. But if that lunchtime coffee is your third or even fourth cup of the day, that’s a sign you’re drinking too much.
If it isn’t the last cup of the day, either, then it’s likely you’re using coffee to keep you firing on all cylinders. Use sleep or exercise to do that instead! In a way, coffee (especially black) is a gateway drug to workaholism, or in other words, a ‘quick-fix’ that allows you to cheat the natural rest cycles that you’ve been denying yourself in favor of tackling your workload.
How’s Your Posture?
Exhaustion is common in workaholics. When you start to burn out, you develop physical symptoms such as a slumped posture and shuffling gait. Take a look in the mirror and evaluate the results: Are you struggling to stand upright? Do you have bags under your eyes? Did you take short, quick steps to get here? These are common telltale signs that your work is getting the better of you. Take a breather, take a bath, and get some sleep. Then reevaluate your workload in the morning.
Are You Communicating Properly?
If your workload is taking up too much mental space, it might be difficult to find the energy to communicate with people properly. Sure, your colleagues might not have the most enlightening conversational skills—they might also be workaholics!—but think about people whose company you ordinarily enjoy. Still not making enough effort to speak? That’s a sign your headspace has been overtaken by work.
Are You Working Through Your Sick Days?
As soon as one person turns up to work with a cold, you can guarantee the rest of the office is going to catch the virus. If it’s quite a severe cold, that person is probably too much of a workaholic to take a sick day. If you’re next and you continue to battle through the sniffles, then you are too. You should never think that just because Patient Zero worked through their illness that you should too. It will just make everything worse—and is a sure sign you’re prioritizing work over your own health.
Do You Actually Have to Think to Do Your Job?
Try thinking about your work tasks. Fully consider everything you do before you do it. If it’s suddenly difficult to remember what to do and when, that’s a sign you’ve been working on autopilot. This does not equate to workaholism in its own right, but in combination with the other telltale signs listed here, it could indicate that your job is occupying an unhealthy amount of muscle memory.
You’re Skimping on Going to Bed—in Every Sense.
As well as lacking sleep, workaholism ruins your sex drive. It’s not unusual to be too tired to sleep with your partner, but it is unnatural if you’ve been consistently exhausted to the point where you haven’t had sex in a noticeable amount of time. If you’re currently single, a sure sign of workaholism is the reluctance to meet new partners. Sex is healthy, and if you’re spending too much energy on your workload, that is not healthy.
Yes, you might have worked towards your current position. If it’s killing you, though, you need to make a change. Start spending more effort on your home life. Spend time making yourself a healthy lunchbox for the following day (and don’t eat it at your desk). Don’t bow to peer pressure from your co-workers. Take frequent breaks and enjoy some fresh air. Be good to yourself, and stop spending all your energy on work; it’s the only way to commit to work responsibly.