How to Break Free from Work Obsession

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Living in a country with a high cost of living, the increasing pressure to stay on top of our bills makes us cling to our work life. While working long hours is one thing, obsessing over office predicaments and looming projects during our free time is detrimental to our mental health and relationships.

On that note, this article explores effective strategies to help you stop fixating on work and find a healthier work-life balance.


Your work obsession has underlying causes, which are often psychological or emotional. Some common reasons why people develop workaholism include a drive for perfectionism, a need to maintain control, a strong desire to be valued as “high-achieving,” avoidance of other problems, and beliefs that you are only worth as much as you produce.

Pinpoint the underlying causes by trying to journal or seeking support. A qualified therapist can help you unpack and make sense of these sensitive issues.


Many of us find it challenging to let go of work-related thoughts, even after hours. To break this cycle, start by tracking how much time you spend ruminating about work.

According to psychologist Guy Winch, some individuals dedicate 10 to 20 hours a week to these work thoughts. To interrupt this pattern, engage your mind with activities more stimulating than watching Netflix. A few minutes of mental taxation can serve as a reset.

Channel your concerns into problem-solving – identify the core issue and explore actionable solutions. If workload worries you, consider delegating tasks or declining unnecessary meetings. When faced with situations beyond your control, focus on finding the silver lining to maintain a positive outlook. Improving your spiritual health can help.


Obsessing about work can disrupt your sleep, mood, and overall mental health, impacting your performance at work. Establish a clear boundary between work and personal time by creating a simple ritual that signifies the end of your workday – whether it’s making your coffee or changing clothes.

Engage in hobbies that provide a genuine escape from work-related thoughts. Try tennis or pottery! Set achievable goals, such as dedicating an hour to gardening, especially on stressful workdays. By immersing yourself in activities you love, you can regain a sense of control and balance in your life.


Breaking free from an obsession with work can be challenging, particularly when you perceive that your worth is linked with your productivity.

Interrogate these beliefs and reflect on whether they authentically originate from within you or if they were absorbed from cultural or familial influences. Often, the detrimental beliefs we hold onto in adulthood are not inherently ours but are deeply embedded in us during our formative years.


Obsessing over work not only affects your mental well-being but also hampers your relationships and overall quality of life. By implementing these strategies, you can break free from the cycle of work obsession, reprioritize your life, and rediscover the joy in your personal pursuits.

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Remember, finding a balance between your professional and personal life is essential for your productivity, happiness, and overall fulfillment.

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