Rihanna's Relatable Reveal: The Bad Gal Struggles With Work-Life Balance, Too

Rihanna arrives for her 5th Annual Diamond Ball benefitting The Clara Lionel Foundation on Sept. 12, 2019, in New York City.
Rihanna arrives for her 5th Annual Diamond Ball benefitting The Clara Lionel Foundation on Sept. 12, 2019, in New York City.
Photo: Angela Weiss (AFP via Getty Images)

Every time we think Rihanna has been replaced by some beautiful, unstoppable, empire-expanding cyborg, she manages to remind us that she is, in fact, human, and prone to the same real-life issues as the rest of us (except for poverty, which seems pretty firmly off the table for the richest woman in music). Case in point: If you were to ask me about work-life balance, I’d likely laugh first, asking “What’s that?” Then I might actually start to tear up a bit, so uncomfortable am I with the fact that it remains a daily struggle and source of perpetual anxiety.


Clearly, Rihanna shares these issues—no big surprise for someone juggling a music (and occasional film) career, multiple beauty and fashion empires, a new book, an ambassadorship to her native Barbados, and a romantic relationship and family life. Early on Wednesday morning, the overtasked star wisely called “time out,” apologizing to her nearest and dearest for perhaps not being as accessible as of late, writing:

to all my friends/family/coworkers who I have yet to get back to in the past months...please forgive me. this year has been quite an overwhelming one, and I’m working on that ish called Balance. brb.

Girl, you and me both.

But while Rihanna’s rich-person status (and access to rich person-level methods of relaxation) may render her unrelatable to some, work-life balance is a universal issue; one often not confronted until burnout, which the World Health Organization (WHO) recently identified as “an occupational phenomenon.”

In fact, WHO defines burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.”

Since my bosses are reading this, I’m not going to admit how many of those dimensions I’ve personally experienced (or may currently be), but let’s just say any working person can suffer from burnout, and wealth doesn’t make you immune (as they say, mo’ money, mo’ problems). Furthermore, there actually is such a thing as working yourself to death, as stress-related illnesses can have fatal outcomes. The New York Times ran a handy guide on how to combat burnout just last week, and there’s even a 12-step group for workaholics (which I’m seriously considering looking into as soon as I finish this blog).


So, with the holidays swiftly approaching (as well as a new year and its attendant resolutions), let’s all take a bow a cue from Rihanna and strive for a little more downtime and a whole lot more balance. All “work, work, work, work, work, work” and no play makes us all less healthy in the long run.

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, co-host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door...May I borrow some sugar?


Murry Chang

“feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job”

If you’ve been in IT for as long as I have and aren’t cynical then you’re literally a robot lol

Anyhow I’ll take Riri’s ‘Smokin blunts in Trinidad’ work/life balance issues any day.