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Lila-Mae White, MBA, CHE, PMP


The Downside of Workaholism and the Upside of Weekend Vacations

Posted 3/5/2023

I was reading an article this week that looked at workaholism. Workaholism has a fascinating place in our culture. Working excessive hours is often revered in our culture – the self-made individual who puts in 16 hour days, is tied to their devices and who never take a vacation show up a lot in the media, in film and in legend.  The article I read outlined that workaholism is actually an addictive behaviour and like drugs, alcohol, sex and shopping can be used as a distraction from hard to face life challenges or to self-medicate to dampen the impacts of a larger mental health issue (depression, anxiety etc.). In the past it was often thought that extreme work hours was the cause of many mental health problems – something the article turned upside down with the notion it was a salve to and not the cause of this mental distress.

I also read an article this week that studied the impacts of treating a regular weekend like a vacation. This study looked at two groups – 1 which treated their weekend as they normally do with chores and obligations along side a group who were purposeful in carving out the weekend to be a vacation/staycation. The vacation group spent slightly more money than the other group but even accounting for this the positive impacts felt by the vacationing group, both mentally and physically were statistically significant. The article was clear that these weekend respites were not a replacement for a long vacation away from work but rather an opportunity for an interim pick-me-up. These vacation weekends could be as simple as strolling through a downtown area to window-shop or grabbing a cappuccino on the patio of waterfront restaurant.

Note to self – STOP hiding behind work and START planning a vacation weekend!