Is there a cure when you’re a workaholic?
I am a workaholic. I come from a long line of focused, hardworking people who lived their lives with determined energy. And honestly, for many of my ancestors before me, this drive was more out of necessity than a chosen lifestyle.
I enjoy my work; I have challenge and variety in my day. I like the people I work with; they are smart, dedicated, and funny. I love the organization I work for; we are an amazing place that does amazing things. I am, sincerely, so lucky. But for a workaholic, this is where the problem begins.
Obviously, the problem with us workaholics is we have a short life span at wherever we are currently working because we burn the candle at both ends. But at the same time, we receive an incredible amount of fulfillment and self-satisfaction from our work.
What’s a workaholic to do?
These issues were pushed a couple of years ago when I found myself going through a divorce. While that was difficult on its own, I did have a realization that without a husband, I had very little to keep myself in check from turning from ‘Regular Workaholic Monica’ to ‘Crazy Monica who Lives at DoveLewis’. DoveLewis’ CEO, Ron Morgan, has been a true mentor for me and also expressed the same concern.
He was right (I hate that, it happens a lot).
The problem: for those of us who are inherently bad at things like self-care, how can we learn to change our habits and make sure we gain a more centered life? Even when doing that seems scary?
My solution: get a dog.
Okay, so getting a dog may seem like an extreme step. Perhaps you thought I was going to say, join a gym, or get involved in a knitting club. I personally sometimes need to do things in extremes, so I am not necessarily advocating that for everyone. For me, the things I love to do most that really center me are hiking, kayaking and running. For me, adopting a dog who needed those things to stay healthy as well required me to make a commitment to both myself and him.
That kind of commitment was exactly what I needed at that moment.
And I have kept that commitment to us both. One and a half weekend days with little fail is dedicated to my dog Porter. We go for a long run or a long hike and he and I both know we’ll be better for it. My phone is off and it is just us, re-setting our brains.
Of course, those days do not include the long walks we take in the week, or quick runs, or the days we do agility. And doing those things for him led to me doing things for me. I started to take more time to read, or get a massage, or fit in a quick run on my own. . .
Am I still a workaholic? Yes. YES. But, I definitely have made strides to better understanding self-care. My strides are just in my own time and done in a way that works for me.
So, this blog isn’t about a reformed workaholic, but about a workaholic who has learned to value self-care, just in her own way because doing it in a way that works for me is precisely the point.
And so, I would like to give a shout-out to all of the rest of you out there who I know are trying every day to achieve balance. Some days you’ll do it. Other days you’ll be writing a self-care blog at 8pm. But don’t stop trying. Self-care is important. Keep up the fight my friends, keep it up.