If You View Your Job As Your Identity, You Could Be Harming Your Health

Marija Savic

This summer in the midst of stress, low energy, overworking myself and poor time management skills, I made a drastic discovery: The most valuable time spent is YOU time.

Society tells us our time is wasted unless we're staying busy or working. It's so easy to get caught up in everything our culture wires us to believe is worthwhile -- success, status, money, social media and using our time "productively." As humans of the 21st century, a busy lifestyle is considered the norm.

I'll be the first to admit that I've become a workaholic throughout my four jobs. Packing my calendar up and creating multiple "to do" lists every day are some of my guilty pleasures.

For so long I've falsely believed that challenging and pushing myself entails excessively filling up my weekly schedule, and personal value entails investing my identity in work.

Shamefully, I fell victim to believing the deceitful lies of this glorified lifestyle. I convinced myself that the energy I invested in work would be worth the success that money and recognition brings.

I quickly became prideful and obsessed, and I discovered that work can potentially become an addiction, or rather a drug of choice, if you let it consume you.

Growing up, my family was always tight on money. There was never a time I wasn't stressed or felt guilty due to my parent's financial struggles. As a result, I started working at a young age and developed a great deal of responsibility and independence that later led to this obsession for financial abundance.

I sacrificed a lot to try to create a life without burdens of money stress, but in the process I let this workaholic mindset get the best of me.

While making work my top (and only) priority, I neglected so many other parts of my life. Constantly giving without receiving not only leads to exhaustion, but also dissatisfaction, yearning and potentially even self-destruction.

I failed to invest time in what truly mattered to me: God, good friendships, family, health and most importantly quality ME time. I ultimately became frustrated, overwhelmed and stressed.

As an introvert, lacking time alone takes a huge toll on my energy and mood and in the process of giving so excessively, I learned how draining trying to pour from an empty cup can be.

I'm not by any means saying work is the enemy. It's not even in the slightest -- having a job you love is an unbelievable blessing and should be fulfilling, bring you financial stability and a sense of purpose and joy. However, it shouldn't be given the power to dominate or consume your life in unhealthy ways.

Although a busy lifestyle is inevitable for most of us, the consequences of lacking "you" time can be extremely detrimental.

It all comes down to balance and values. When I'm able to incorporate all the things that bring me joy in life such as praying, writing, reading, photography, exercising, cooking, spending time with people I love, shopping, cleaning and taking good care of myself, I'm genuinely satisfied.

I've also discovered that work and stress can be a vicious cycle. I'll work because I'm stressed about money, and then I become stressed about being too busy which leads to spending more money to cope.

I've realized that the more money I make, the more I tend to spend and the more unnecessarily extravagant I allow my life to be.

But really, if I made time for the things I loved, I'd spend less time stressed and spending money and more time filling myself up.

Although society tells us that being productive entails working hard, creating a status and having an abundant bank account, we have to remember that being productive isn't exactly the goal in life -- happiness is.

Our goal should be to take care of ourselves the best way possible and to continue to fill our days with things that bring us joy and love, not stress and exhaustion.

So, despite loving to work and stay busy, I no longer invest my identity in it. I constantly have to remind myself what's most important to me and that time is never wasted if you enjoy how you're spending it.

Nowadays, a packed schedule is no longer success or pride in my eyes, but rather moments to relax and have quiet time are what make a day successful.

You can't pour from an empty cup and "you" time truly is the most valuable time of all.