As self-made entrepreneurs and business bombshells erupt from the foundations of hashtags, viral posts, cliche quotes about success above sleep, and Twitter threads — scrolling down our timelines can feel like a game of hustle Olympics. We pull at our muscles trying to stretch ourselves to find our “true” purpose, turn the honest art of hard-work into overkill, and compare our journeys by destination instead of direction. Within this problematic process, we kill our authenticity and spirit — twisting it into the standard instead of trying to create our own. When we mistake the spirit of determination for deprivation, the passion that once lied in what we are working so hard toward can wash away with the sweat that collects off our backs. At a point, we must ask ourselves if pushing to certain limits in order to make ourselves feel good is based on motivation or masochism.
In life — there are reasons we do not swallow some things whole. We must pace ourselves to prevent choking on what we can not handle. While yes, you can grind toward your goals — it is imperative to not grind yourself into them, so that in the end there is something left to reap the work you have endured. As we take a look at how “hustle culture” and its influence has dominated the media, we must acknowledge that it is enough to kill not only your spirit but your health. In 2017, a research study done by the American Journal of Industrial Medicine found that working 61 to 70 hours a week increased the risk of coronary heart disease by 42%, and that working even longer hours increased the risk to 63%.
As a society that is highly dedicated to our professional pursuits, we must realize that true grit can not exist without allowing yourself grace. This is your sign to look away from the figures, close your laptop, or get a breath of fresh air. If you are hesitant about how to balance your health and your hustle, BAUCE has a few tips on how to care for yourself and your professional endeavors.
Stop killing yourself trying to Uphold a Fantasy
Social media should be just what it is: a space where we, as a community, socialize through different forms of media. Yet, over the years its meaning to many has transformed into something that can be potentially harmful. When nothing is documented but huge wins, “ rest when you are rich” inspirational graphics, and unrealistic entrepreneurial guidelines — it can be tough to establish a healthy relationship with one’s work ethic. Many then fall into the trap of trying to prove their drive by working themselves into the ground so that their success can bloom as fast as a photo is uploaded while masking the pain with lightroom presets. The dangerous tactic where we see big business moguls promote the highs while withholding the lows is known as impression management. This practice has affected others to grind until they believe to see outcomes without flaws being a factor.
Pretending that perfection is the only synonym for success can result in you striving toward something that does not exist. Reality is made of faults, failures, and flaws — for anything so spotless would only be a dream. Stop “flexing” for others on your timeline and realize that they know nothing of you or your journey, and everything of what you post. Surround your social media circle with those that promote transparency, self-care, and balance while purging your feed of those who set unrealistic standards that can cause your body, your mind, and your work harm.
Always Make Mindful Moments of the Day
One of the keys to discipline is knowing when to allow yourself a moment to breathe. Overworking yourself could not only cause harm to your physical health, as it can take a toll on your mental health too. Several studies have found relevant links between depression, anxiety, and working long hours; showing that working more than 34 hours a week has increased the chance of experiencing depression and anxiety. While sometimes we can not control the hours we take on, we can incorporate breaks within our days to make space to recharge.
Guided meditations and breathing exercises, motivational podcasts, and a morning run before you get your day started to burn off some tension can all be beneficial mindful practices. Taking time to actually fix yourself breakfast or not skip out on lunch due to a workload can work wonders for productivity. You can even take time to journal within your days to write down thoughts that may be too difficult to voice. Or, you may just need room to be completely silent and still — as taking time to breathe is not as complex or consuming as we make it out to be. The more natural it feels, the more natural it will become — and soon enough can be something that is unconsciously written into your daily habits.
Create a Healthy System and Stick to it
Hustle culture can be a result of feeling like you haven’t gotten as much done as you’d hoped. You can feel this way because you’ve set unrealistic goals — or have not set any particular goals at all, hoping to work until you accomplish as many things that satisfy you until you feel as if you have done enough. It is beneficial to create a realistic system to abide by in order to prevent yourself from burnout.
When you look at all that you need to do for the week, divide tasks evenly by days and the hours that allow you time to rejuvenate yourself, rest, and prepare for the next day to come. Without allotting reasonable time to complete the things you need, you find yourself hopelessly staring at your computer while losing your BAUCE sleep. Our bodies are not equipped for burn out, no matter what motivational autobiography tells you otherwise. When you cause constant burn-outs, every system of your body is affected from your muscles to the compromisation of your immune system.
Establishing systems and schedules that balance work and life creates control over your well-being, your occupation, and your impact. After all, how can you expect to be powerful if you have drained the life from yourself?
Create a Space Between Home and Work
Currently, as we find the four walls of our own homes are becoming or newest office buildings, we must create a difference between our workspace and our home space so that one does not seep into the other. We may find ourselves cozying up with the plush fur throw we pulled from our bed, and when we recognize this action — we must stop. While there is nothing wrong with creating a comfortable workspace, you can not bring elements from the things you ease yourself with outside your office, inside your office. It makes it so much harder to realize that as you type away at 3 am in said fur throw, you may have wasted the day away cozying up and have squeezed your work-load into after-hours.
Creating a difference between home and work doesn’t have to be fancy, only necessary. Choosing a spot in your house with a ton of natural light during the day, a hard surface to lay your planners, laptops, and taste on, a comfortable chair and something that keeps you focused can be as simple as it gets when painting that much-needed line. Separating the two could increase productivity and work-quality while eliminating the need for burnout.
Affirm that You are Enough
One of the best and most important things to do while striving toward your goals and knocking out your tasks is to speak kindly to yourself. Whether that be reciting positive affirmations in the mirror, speaking progress into reality, or reminding yourself that your journey to what you deem success is completely your own. Hafiz, a Persian poet, once stated that “the words we speak become the house we live in.”
To build businesses, empires, and legacies — we must begin with the foundation we call our dreams. We must prefer structure, system, and sanity over the quickness of completion and remind ourselves daily that the hustle lies within the journey and not the finish line. Hard work should never be measured by weight, and only by balance. By reminding yourself that you are enough, your effort is valid, and that you should only be competing with yourself, you open more space for care, quality, growth, patience, and your best self.