Are You In A Toxic Relationship With Work?

identifying unhealthy patterns impactful changes unhealthy to healthy work relationship work life balance Dec 31, 2021

Odds are, if you’re reading this curiously, you already know there’s a chance your relationship with your work isn’t great.

Maybe it was great at the beginning, but eventually, it’s become this way. And maybe you downplay it. It may be hard to even admit that you’re struggling.

What if it’s actually not that bad and you cope most days…is it still considered toxic? The short answer is yes, as you may not be aware of the longer-term impact and how these ups and downs are harming you.

Feeling overwhelmed or burnt out in your work can stunt your growth and leave you unfulfilled in other areas of your life too.

But the good news is, you’ve taken a step back now to check in with yourself honestly and review your situation.

Perhaps you will need to have a conversation with an employer or business partner to change things…

(It may even be you who is allowing this cycle to continue, so ultimately any change will be down to you to reset your boundaries.)

So how can you start to identify when impactful changes are needed?


Here are the 5 signs you're in a toxic relationship with work:


1. You wake up and check your work emails first thing in the morning

When you wake up, does your focus instantly jump to how much stuff you have to get done for the day? Perhaps you try and lie in but can’t still your mind as it’s racing at a million miles a minute through all your to-do lists, unreplied emails, and the mountain of tasks you have to get through starting right NOW.

You may feel that this is a normal way to start a day, especially if you’re waking up just before you’re due to start work. However, you need time to transition from sleep to wake. You need time to set your intentions for the day and ensure you’ve factored in what you need to make sure you feel good and are sustained.

If you jump straight into work, your focus in the present moment is lost and your mind and body’s needs instantly get side-swiped…every single day. Because trust me…the work will keep on keeping on.


2. You feel constantly burnt out and exhausted

Perhaps you’re used to feeling exhausted and that it’s just ‘part of the job’. Your work has to be done and it has to be finished now. There is never enough time in your days to get through it all. NO. I’ll tell you right now, this isn’t normal.

All the rules we’ve created around work are just that…created. There is no right amount we’re supposed to work and no job takes a specific number of hours to complete. As there is no end to most of the work we do, it’s not realistic to keep going endlessly on auto-pilot.

We are not machines. We are humans with emotions and drives and other goals in life. And we have a finite amount of energy to give on any one day.

It is not normal to use all your energy at work and be left with nothing for other areas of your life. It is not normal to be stressed and strung out and unable to sleep as you’re worrying.

How do you even know if you’re burnt out?



3. You don’t feel like you’ve achieved anything even if you’ve been working all-day

Ever get that feeling that you’re not doing enough? Do you get to the end of a really busy day, knowing you were working all day, but most of your tasks are still outstanding? This constant feeling of needing to achieve can leave you feeling like you’ve failed. That constant rolling to-do list never seems to end can leave you feeling like you’re not good enough.

If you base your worth on your ability to achieve, you will never feel satisfied that you have done enough. And this is a hard pill to swallow. Working solidly all day, it’s easy to prioritise tasks that aren’t actually that important.

Reflect on what tasks are taking so much of your time each day and ask yourself honestly:



4. You keep cancelling social plans due to work commitments

I know I’ve been GUILTY of this! If work feels more important than all other parts of life then take a pause right now and think about that.

What are you here on this planet for?

Is your work completely absorbing your ability to make or set plans in your personal life?

Does your work stop you from showing up for others when they need you?

Or do you simply find yourself repeatedly using the excuse “sorry I can’t make it anymore… I have to work”.


5. You have your work computer or phone next to you when you’re having personal time, incase something comes up

Time off isn’t the same as time on call. Time away from work isn’t a luxury - it’s essential for you to keep going and keep delivering quality work.

If you’re hovering over your work phone or computer and addressing every notification as they come in - even during your downtime - this could be a sign that your work is taking over.

It’s impossible to switch off and properly rest or enjoy your down time, if you’re waiting for the next task or question to pop up. This can feed into the feeling of wanting to be seen as reliable or efficient. Or perhaps you just can’t switch out of work mode.



So there you have it…5 signs you’re in a toxic relationship with your work. Do you identify with any or all of the above signs?

How do you break such solid work patterns that are often connected to your sense of worth?

You want to make sure you’re showing up, you’re putting in your all. But how do you do that without continuing a potentially harmful cycle?


Join me for our LIVE session on the 19th January at 8pm UK time where we break down these 5 signs and establish some actionable steps that will bring more balance and peace into your life. Click here to join.


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