There have probably been plenty of nights you’ve taken your work home with you, have responded to emails at 10 p.m., and have let a bad day at the office totally affect your mood. And don’t worry—you’re not alone. When you love your job (and even if you don’t!), it’s all too easy to become emotionally attached, but that’s not doing any good for your well-being.
It’s not uncommon to become super attached to your work—so much so that getting critiqued on something almost feels like a personal attack and takes a major hit to your ego: According to Julie de Azevedo Hanks, PhD, that’s because “we link our behavior, our performance, [and] our productivity with our self-worth” when work becomes our primary focus. So much so that losing your job or failing can make you feel like you don’t even know who you are anymore—and that’s probably why studies have found people actually perform better when they’re not totally wrapped up in their career.
Instead of letting one aspect of your life define you (AKA your job), focus on all the other facets to your identity as well, whether that’s discovering a new hobby or spending time with friends, with no work talk allowed.
While some attachment is good, the best-case scenario for your well-being—and being able to separate your #girlboss ways from your personal life—may be to master the concept of self-complexity, according to author and professor Elizabeth R. Thornton’s book The Objective Leader: How to Leverage the Power of Seeing Things As They Are. Instead of letting one aspect of your life define you (AKA your job), focus on all the other facets to your identity as well, whether that’s discovering a new hobby or spending time with friends with no work talk allowed.
When you detach from your career, you’ll be in a much better place to cope with stress, depression, and failure—and you can finally live your best life in and outside of the office.