The Toxic Habits
Lack of Down Time
In order for us to recharge mentally, emotionally and physically, clinical psychologist Dr. Saliha Afridi points out that our brains need to have periods of inactivity. “During this inactivity, our brain wanders and daydreams which is how we can have space for creativity also,” she says. Also because of today’s smartphones and the demanding needs of the global workplace, people have no space to include any downtime and as a result are over-worked and over-stressed.
Another habit of the workaholic is overcommitting themselves to projects making them have fragmented attention and timeshare. Dr. Afridi tells that it is a myth that the brain can multitask—in fact it is switching between one task and another, and every time it does that, it drains the person more than if a person were to instead focus on one task at a time. Over time this fragmentation
and high demand on the mind and their time will result in burnout.
Lack of Sleep
According to Dr. Afridi, workaholics tend to believe they are bionic and don’t need the same things as a normal human being. “They forgo their sleep for the sake of pulling all night shifts on projects,” she says yet a lack of sleep is at the crux of so many major illnesses such as high blood pressure, heart diseases, mental disorders, and diabetes.
No Time for Play
They don’t deem play to be important and don’t actually see that their life is lacking in joy and spontaneity because they are so engrossed in their work.
No Space to Reflect
Because they cram a meeting or a phone call within every waking hour, they actually don’t make any time to reflect on why they are doing the work they are doing, says Dr. Afridi. “They often say ‘time is flying by so fast’ because they actually don’t make time to think about life, their purpose here on earth, and what is important to them,” she says. “They also create a lot of clutter in their mind, because when we reflect we actually take out ‘the unnecessary’ information and close certain loops in our mind that have remained open and causing subconscious stress.”
Low Importance on Self-Care
Self-care, points out Dr. Afridi, is always at the bottom of their to-do list. “This could include doing something nice for themselves, taking the afternoon to spend on the beach, or exercising—but
most workaholics will say that these are all ‘luxuries’ they cannot afford,” she says.
Another toxic habit of a workaholic is eating whatever is in front of them, and eating on the go. Their digestive systems, and their overall health really suffers as a result, tells Dr. Afridi.
“One of the habits of a workaholic is that they put family and friends last,” explains Dr. Afridi, if a meeting is scheduled at the same time as an important family event, they may choose the meeting and rationalize with themselves ‘I can always see family later’. “In doing so, they have unfulfilling relationships and people in their lives are often disappointed with them,” she says.
In order for a person to really make a memory in its entirety, Dr. Afridi tells that they must be present; mind, body, heart, and soul. “All their senses must be engaged and this is something
that a workaholic never does,” she says. “They may have their eye on the screen, an ear piece in their ear, as they nod and say yes to their partner or their child as they share the favorite
part of their day.” When looking back, the workaholic will say they really didn’t make any memories during their life because they were never fully present anywhere.