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How to Ditch Your Workaholic Tendencies

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Ottawa chapter.

Do you ever have such a busy schedule that when it all subsides and you finally get a chance to relax, it feels like you’re being “lazy” or “unproductive”? We’ve all been there with school, work, and other life events, but that doesn’t mean you’re actually lazy or unproductive. Bodies and minds both need rest, so workaholic tendencies like working during off days can cause burnout. Throughout my university experience, I’ve seen many of my peers suffer from burnout caused by lack of sleep and appetite. If you’re someone who tends to have some workaholic traits, here are some ways you can keep prioritizing your mental and physical health during stressful times in education or work.

Eat Snacks

No, coffee is not a snack. Though it keeps you going throughout the day, caffeine is not a sustainable source of energy and can actually cause even more fatigue after the fact. This short-term fix can also cause caffeine reliance over time. However, there are ways you can keep yourself going throughout the day—like with snacks! Having little snacks throughout the day can help you sustain the energy needed during exam season or extended work hours. Some foods that will boost your energy are fruits, oats, and sweet potatoes, for example. We also often forget to eat during busy times. Having food in your stomach is key because it helps you have the energy to complete tasks throughout the day. Many studies have also shown that working on an empty stomach actually slows the part of the brain that helps with learning and memory. It’s definitely a workaholic’s tendency to forget to eat, so if time is really tight, you can sustain yourself by having snacks!


Yup, the B-word. You need to relax on your off days, even if it feels bad. Taking a break is ok—everyone needs a break after having a hectic schedule! Taking breaks and relaxing also have many benefits. The University of the Cumberlands has conducted studies that show how relaxing can help students in multiple ways. One of the benefits of relaxing is that it boosts the immune system. Do you ever get sniffles or cold-like symptoms after working too much? Those are signs of burnout and a lack of relaxation. Taking much-needed breaks keeps you from feeling ill and sustains a healthy blood pressure so the feeling of being stressed is not at a peak. Taking breaks between school work is much needed as well. Having a routine of 30 minutes on and 15 minutes off can help prevent symptoms of burnout and fatigue. In addition to the study mentioned above, relaxing the mind can help you obtain optimal work results and increase creativity.

Uncover the real issue

Workaholics aren’t workaholics because they want to be—there are underlying causes. These causes could be anxiety, loneliness, or fear of failure. Try asking yourself why you work so much and reflect on your answer. Assessing the underlying problem can help you discover your needs and help you learn more about yourself. Additionally, you can then seek the resources and help you may need. Help can be talking to a friend, family member, or even a professional. If the stresses of school and work become too much, there are many resources at the University of Ottawa campus that can help students. Counselling services, peer support, and many other resources are available to you. You’re not alone!

Workaholic tendencies have been on the rise among youth and especially among students; however, that doesn’t mean you should ignore yourself and your own needs as a human. Hopefully, this advice will help those of you who may struggle with your workaholic tendencies!

Mariam Shahid

U Ottawa '23

A 4th-year Management student currently pursuing a degree in Commerce. I like to read, write and tamper with anything music!