It’s 3.45am and I need to get up for work. After the initial grogginess, I’m now abuzz and ready to get on moving. After getting changed and putting on some make-up (seriously, you can look like death at that time in the morning – you don’t want to scare people!) I’d quietly make my way to the kitchen in the dark to grab brekkie and snacking goods. Then I’d rush out of the house into the cool pre-dawn air and hop into a taxi…
And that’s how the workday began. Or at least one version of it. Throw in another five or six potential work starts for the week and that would give you a better picture of what my timetable could look like. You had to be ever-ready if you wanted to play the game and be a fit competitor for the rat race.
But those days have passed now. Those days made up six years of my life and though it doesn’t sound like much in the grand scheme of things, living those crazy work hours day in and day out just sets you up for mental and physical exhaustion.
I didn’t want to give it up though and I’d make all sorts of ‘good’ reasons why I needed to go on.
One of the perks I’d tell myself was that I never really suffered jet lag whenever I travelled across timezones to different countries. But one of my friends noted I was probably jet-lagged all the time anyway and that I probably didn’t even realise it or its effects on my life.
I admit now that she was somewhat right. She had a point. She lived with me for two years and knew me pretty well. But it didn’t ease the internal tension within me that just wanted to let myself work on and not slow down in case I came to a full stop.
Taking the risk to leave it all behind (which I’ve now done) almost felt as though I ripped off a limb or something like that. Sounds a bit extreme but that’s how I seriously felt.
You’ve probably worked out by this point that I’m a workaholic. If you hadn’t, then you’re probably suffering from workaholism as well. Think about it.
SO… what steps can you take to break up with workaholism?
Here are 3 key things I’ve picked up so far (and I might just pick up more things along the way as well).
1. Spend quality time with people.
Catch up with old friends and make an effort to meet new people too. Being with other people helps broaden your perspective on so many different levels and on so many different things. The time you have between jobs is probably a time like no other in that you can actually have the chance to be meet and befriend more people than before.
2. Do other things.
This was exactly what a friend told me. So true! It sounded so simple. Confronting but simple all the same. Instead of spending 8 hours in an office or whatever, this time around you can finally do those things you’ve been wanting to do but never had the time to. Be it cooking, reading that book or joining something, get out there and do it. It’s a time to really enrich your life and gain new and valuable experiences.
Making time to reflect and re-evaluate the things that are meaningful in life is a must. It may be cliche but it has its place in reality: Be true to yourself. Everyone needs those moments of solitude to get to know oneself. I know silence can tip people to hit the panic button but making time to be reflective can actually help you battle pessimism. How? By pausing to think about life, you’re kind of forced to face yourself. It’s made up of fight or flight situations. And if you choose ‘fight’ that’s already a solid step to living life with a sense of direction, peace and optimism.
So far, that’s what I’ve got, and I’m really starting to treasure this particular time in my life, which I might not be able to repeat further down the track. Sure, there are times when I’ve felt regret or major work withdrawal but being around all kinds of people, doing different things, and having time to just sit back and reflect these days has been a real blessing in disguise. I’ve honestly gained much more than what I perceived I had ever lost.
I feel words are inadequate to describe this new outlook taking form within me. But, otherwise, I’ll just say that I’m refreshed, living the moment, loving life and looking forward to what’s next!