The downside to the #hustle culture

Photo I got of a bike covered in sponges at the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

Hello Lovelies,

My name is Ellie and it’s so good to see you again. Recently I took a week vacation to Florida with my mom and nanny (grandma). It was truly wonderful. I haven’t been able to let everything go and relax like that in a very long time. Side note:everyone needs a woolly sponge; If you aren’t familiar, have severe anxiety and the entire trip (with a little help from medication prescribed by my doctor) I was absolutely anxiety/stress/worry free! I was so excited on the plane ride home. I felt that I would be an improved employee, wife, and person in general, after having my anxiety slate wiped clean.  Here’s where things started to turn. My mom and I drove my nanny to her car and the moment we started driving towards home panic began to sink in. I ended up walking around Tractor Supply for a half hour because for some reason I was not ready to go home. To give you the short version, over the next two days I became irritable, combative, and stressed out, until I was literally making myself sick. After those few days, words I had repeatedly saying in an argument struck me. I had been saying “This is about how I’m feeling”. All of this was literally about how I was feeling, not anything to do with the issues I had been making into a big deal. I had placed all of my stresses down on that vacation. I took off the bags that were weighing me down. When I came home and went to pick them back up again, they were too heavy. I had not realized the pressure that I was placing on myself.

I was and am falling into societal pressures to have everything together at 26. Newsflash: I don’t. The need for me to appear to have it mostly together has had me working myself beyond what I’m capable of. I berated myself internally for not having the energy to wash the dishes or shovel the driveway or go to the grocery store. I have been pushing myself head first into the #hustle life. Most of the people I know around my age have 2 jobs and a side hustle. I chose 12 hour days and multiple side hustles. This a huge trend in America right now, whether it’s for coolness or out of necessity, most millennial's are practicing this religion. But I’m here to tell you, Rise and Grind is not the way to go. It’s causing exhaustion and eventual burnout in everyone who pursues it. I clearly have found my limit with 12 hour days for 5 months straight.

Working too much is mentally and physically dangerous. WebMD notes that the risks of overworking oneself include “stroke, heart disease, mental health issues, diabetes, and abnormal heart rhythms” and even a possibility of death. Overworking looks different for everyone. If you are taking on too many extracurricular activities, 40 hours a week could burn you out. If you don’t enjoy your job or just plain work too much you can have a break down. Overworking oneself leads to becoming burnt out. What does being burnt out look like?
·         Sleeping fine but still being tired during the day
·         Chronic stress or depression
·         Turning to alcohol or other substances to help you relax
·         Excessive weight gain or loss
·         There are many other symptoms of being burnt out. Listening to your body is key to discovering if you’re overworked.

I have nothing against those that are hustling out of necessity, sometimes we have to get s**t done. For those of us who can afford a cheaper lifestyle; Why are we doing this? What purpose does it serve. Sure money, if you need the money you may have to grind harder than others. However, there are times when we need to slow down for our souls benefit. Similar to creating boundaries with exhausting people, we need to keep the same practices within our working life. Understand you don’t have to be hyper-productive to be successful. This life is here to be enjoyed and “Work Hard, Play Harder” has an emphasis on ‘play harder’. Vacations are great for distressing but they don’t help if we come back to the same heavy baggage we left. We need to balance work with play. There are a few suggestions I have for this.

1.       Leave work at work.
2.       Do everything you can in your power to ensure what you need comes into fruition. Afterwards leave it to God, or the Universe, or whoever you think is looking out for you. Stressing about things that are out of your control is putting unnecessary strain on yourself.
3.       Prioritize things that make you happy when you aren’t working. They don’t have to cost money but they need to be fun, whatever that means to you.
4.       Prioritize healthier eating habits, sleeping habits, and exercise habits. This will help your body maintain health when you have to work longer hours.

In the end of this life are you going to wish you had worked harder? Are you going to wish you had pursed your passions even if they didn’t make you a ton of money? What are your thoughts? Health and happiness, at least in my mind, is the key to lifelong success. I struggle to balance this with anxiety but every day I recommit to this. Overwork builds on your body and can cause mental or physical breakdowns. Take care of yourself and make sure your making yourself a priority. Even learning to listen to what your body is telling you and making small changes can have life changing affects. Let me how you handle work-life balance in the comments below!


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