As a general rule, we assume that working too much is bad for our health. We even call people that work too much “workaholics.” But if working too much is bad for our health, then it would seem that the less we work, the better our health would be. It will probably come as no surprise that this is not actually the case. While your relationship to work can and does in fact have a direct impact on your health, working long hours is not actually the same thing as workaholism. Here are 3 ways to understand the difference between working long hours and being a workaholic and how it affects your health.
1. Why you work matters
Some people feel driven to work long hours because they are passionate about what they do or have a specific goal to achieve. Other people merely feel a compulsion or drive to work, regardless of whether the work matters to them or not. People who are simply driven to work are like hamsters on a treadmill. They work and work and work but are exhausted because there is no measurable goal for them to achieve driving them forward. What studies do suggest, however, is that even workaholics who are passionate about their work can be insulted from some of the health risks associated with chronic overwork.
2. Workaholics are generally not able to truly disengage from their work
It is a myth that all workaholics work 60 or 70+ hour weeks. A person can work as few as 20 hours a week and still be a workaholic. The difference is in how well they can leave the work behind or “unplug.” While one person may work a 60 hour week, they know how to leave the work behind and be present in their other activities and relationships. A workaholic is constantly obsessing over work, so even their leisure or “off work” time is far more stressful than relaxing.
3. Workaholics often experience a greater number of minor health issues
People that work hard may be tired at times or even exhausted or experience the occasional headache now and then, but workaholics tend to be plagued by a wide range of smaller health issues. Whether it’s insomnia, migraines or even chronic digestive issues, workaholics will often be in chronic bad health. People who simply work hard or work long hours will often be at the peak of health. Even more serious conditions such as Fibromyalgia or Crohn’s disease can be exacerbated by the stress of workaholism. Again, keeping in mind that workaholism is not determined by the number of hours an individual works, but more by the driving or motivating factors that cause a person to work.
Ultimately, there comes a point when working too many hours can have a detrimental effect on your health regardless of whether you are a workaholic or simply work long hours. The difference is that for workaholics, there is almost never an end in sight. For people who simply work long hours, they generally look forward to a time when that will not be the case and often work diligently to keep work from taking up too much of their life.
Latest posts by Charles James (see all)
- Workaholism vs. Working Long Hours – What Is The Difference And How Does It Affect Your Health? - March 29, 2018
- FTC Investigating Facebook’s Privacy Practices - March 29, 2018
- Why Do You Need This Basic Guide To Cleaning Restrooms? - February 28, 2018