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Passion can be a wonderful thing; it gives you the energy to do the tough stuff that you really want to accomplish. It drives you! For many, our passion is what first attracted our partner to us. They admire our hard work and our big dreams. But sometimes our passions can become obsessions, which lead to stress and overwork — not to mention relational strife. Your spouse won’t find that ‘passion’ so endearing when it comes at the expense of your time together. These obsessions consume our free time, damaging our relationships and our mental health. But when do you know when your interest has flipped from a deep passion to a stress-inducing obsession? Here are four signs to watch out for:
1. Your physical health is slipping. When you’re working too much, your passion can also fizzle. You won’t have time for exercise, for eating healthy, or for enough sleep.
2. Your social life is in the tank. Your friends don’t even recognize you when you walk into the room (or hop on a zoom call) because you haven’t nurtured those relationships!
3. You’re spending most of your time working. It’s important to have healthy boundaries. If your work hours are exponentially more than hours spent at rest, you’ll get exhausted. That tunnel vision makes us forget that we even need rest!
4. All other interests go by the wayside. You’re only interested in the obsession, and nothing else. It consumes not only your time, but your mental preoccupation. You begin neglecting your other hobbies, especially things that used to be core aspects of your personality.
5. Your partner points it out. At the end of the day, our partners can often notice our own problems long before we do. They love you, they know you, and they want the best for you — so if they take the time to warn you that you may be diving in too deep, stop and listen, for both your sakes.
If you start noticing these trends in your life, it’s time to take a step back and evaluate these areas, and how you approach your goals. It might mean you need to hire a coach, or even a counselor to help you unravel the obsession and bring it back to a manageable state. It may seem like you’re stifling your muse, or hurting what makes you special by managing your passion — but ask yourself if all this is really worth it. How does your partner feel about this activity? Are you neglecting them? At the end of the day, a task that is pursued with every fiber of your being, every minute of your time, is one that is extremely unhealthy. Giving yourself time to relax, time with others, and time away from your goals is integral to cultivating results that you and others will appreciate.