Work /Life Balance
Why Rest is Key to Our Mental Health

By Amy Tilley, PsyD
Chief Clinical Officer, Desert Star ARC


July! We’re halfway through the year. Are you tired? Physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually? Are you working too much? Worried about work—when you are not working? Feel like you are burning the candle at both ends? Wondering on Sunday evening, ‘where did my weekend go?’ Are you running hard and not resting?

Do you find yourself working over 50 hours a week and doing more than is expected of you for your job? Do you continue working, despite potential (or actual) negative consequences on your health or in your relationships? If so, your behaviors may qualify as workaholism. Defined as a continual pattern of high work investment, long working hours, work beyond expectations and an all-consuming obsession with work (Griffiths M. D. Workaholism: A 21st century addiction. The Psychologist: Bulletin of the British Psychological Society. 2011). This definition is not new, and was coined in the 1970s by Wayne Oates, when he wrote the book, Confessions of a Workaholic.

In some workplaces, much is expected of employees. Supervisors can give you a long to-do list, project after project (when you cannot seem to finish one) and ask you to stay longer or come in earlier. This can have significant impacts on your mental and physical well-being. If your behaviors mimic those of a workaholic, you may not mind these extra “to-dos”…but be mindful. All the added expectations can lead to burnout, lack of sleep, poor work performance, depression, finding less joy in hobbies, and have an impact on your personal life.


What can you do about this workaholic pattern?

Learn to rest and balance work and life responsibilities. We all deserve rest. It is not something meant to be earned. It needs to be built into our daily routine. According to Brenda Jank, of, there are four restorative practices that we all need to engage in on a regular basis, providing that work/life balance so many of us do not have.

SABBATH REST— take a mental health day! Call off work and do something for you. Go for coffee with a friend, go to a meeting, watch a movie, read your favorite book, take a nap.

SLEEP— our circadian rhythm is vital to our physical and mental health. If we don’t get enough sleep, our bodies will react and shut down (physical illness), saying, “hey, you needed a break, didn’t take one, so I am giving you one!”

STILLNESS— make time in your daily routine for meditation, devotion, or prayer.

SOLITUDE — stepping away from the business of life and a day away delivers! Do a digital detox, take a hike, take a vacation. Paid time off is just that. PAID. TIME. OFF. Use it! And when you are on vacation, don’t check your email, don’t answer phone calls from work. Be present and be where your feet are.


Ask yourself these questions:

In the last week, have I had 5 nights of 7-8 hours of sleep?

In the last 4 weeks I’ve enjoyed 4 days off – days that were refreshing. . . with minimal “work” around the house?

Did I take a mental health day in the last 6 months?

Did I enjoy 4 evenings this last week with no out-of-the-home obligations?

Did I take all my vacation time last year?


If most of these are ‘no’ for you, then you need a restful reset. If you are not fully rested, then you won’t be able to balance your work/life duties. And if you aren’t rested, how can you enjoy life and all the people and experiences around you? Make time on your calendar for you, for rest, for sabbath, sleep, stillness, and solitude. You matter. Your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual life matters. Tell workaholism to take a break, because you are taking a much-needed sabbath rest.


Learn more about Desert Star Addiction Recovery Center at