Preparing for the Holiday Season: Addicted to Exhausted!

‘Tis the season to spend money….but to spend money…you have got to have money…and to have money means you have to earn money…and so begins the vicious cycle of work-aholism. Buy later and later and later and later.

At work the other day I was teasing a co-worker because I think he might work more hours than I do. You see, you know you are a work-aholic if you don’t know what to do besides errands and sleeping on your day off. You know you are a work-aholic when you on your days off and you are not sleeping or running errands, and you don’t know what to do with yourself but to go to work. You know you are a work-aholic when on your days off it is hard to catch time with a friend because they have given up trying to schedule you into their schedule. You know you are a work-aholic when you start counting (on your day off) the hours you could have worked and the money you could have made if you had worked instead of taking some time off. You know you are a work-aholic when coffee no longer affects you but you can’t live without it. You know you are a work-aholic when you recognize all of these things…and you continue to work.

Nobody is a work-aholic by choice. Life-circumstances fall upon us or we bring them on us and work-aholism is a survival skill. We spend more than we make, we have more responsibilities than finances, and we want more than we have. We have poor boundaries and don’t say “No!” enough to ourselves or others when it comes to spending. We are single parents trying to keep our kids clothed, fed, and fitting in with their peers. We are young people, old people, hourly-wage earners, trying to make it when rent or our mortgage is higher than our incomes will permit. Seventy-eight percent of full-time workers say they live paycheck to paycheck, according to a recent report from Career Builder. (Aug 24, 2017)  According to CBS News, Americans are dying with an average of $62,000.00 of debt. (Mar 22, 2017). And we are holiday shopping… trying to numb away the pain of that reality by heading out to the shopping malls for the best deals on Black Friday or by charging up the computers to be ready for the best deals on Cyber Monday.

There is a huge price to pay for living life this way of exhaustion and overwork.  We are sacrificing our mental health, which eventually will impact our physical health. We are sacrificing our social health, as we are too busy to make time for good relationships. We are sacrificing our spiritual health by placing idolatry of material wants in front of a relationship with God. We are short changing our capacity to grow because we are becoming too exhausted to have time for creativity, which leads to higher thinking and problem solving. We are sacrificing our leisure time. We are sacrificing happiness, because exhaustion is a joy robber. We are sacrificing opportunities to launch our dreams, because that takes time and energy, and all our energy and time goes to work. We are sacrificing our passions and our purpose.   We are sacrificing our peace, our patience, our kindness, our goodness, our gentleness, and our self-control.

Action Step: Are you a work-aholic? Are you overstressed by the state of your finances? Pay attention to how this is impacting the rest of your life. What is the price you are paying by the overspending and the overworking? You must take time in order to have the energy to create change.

This Holiday season pay attention to how you spend your money and your time. Make sure that is a price you are willing to pay. Your presence is more important than any present you could give. Enjoy the season by spending time with friends and family, instead of spending money.