I want to talk with you about the work-life grind, a tricky balance. When you have a 9-5 job, you have a set schedule to follow. You know when you are supposed to be at the office, how long the day would last, and how long it would take you to get home. But being your own boss or freelancing means you have to schedule your own time, which can be a blessing and a curse.
On the one hand, it’s cool because you can be more flexible with your schedule. If something comes up, it’s easy for you to drop what’s in front of you and go handle that. But there is a downside to not having boundaries set by someone else. For instance, I find that sometimes I’m capable of pushing myself hard for hours because no one is watching over me. But my body reminds me daily that I need to make sure that I also take care of myself so as not to get burned out from all this hustling.
It’s important to recognize that we all live in a time of great change and transition. We’re trying to find new ways of working, new ways of communicating, new ways of supporting one another, new ways of being present for our families and for ourselves. And so it is difficult. There’s a lot on our plates.
I think what we have to do is we have to kind of give ourselves some grace. We have to be kinder to ourselves than ever before because there’s so much going on, and it can feel like life is spinning out of control in a way that it hasn’t felt in previous times.
We also need to fill ourselves up with creative pursuits and non-work activities that are important to us. I’ve been doing things like reading every night before bed, which puts me in a good place, even though I’m exhausted. I’m sure you all are experiencing the same thing — you’re exhausted from the day and from everything else going on, but you’re still grinding through because there’s no choice. The work-life grind is brutal.
I know that if I don’t take the time to do these things, I’ll burn out.
Hustle culture is toxic.
Hustle culture, in this context, refers to a belief system that says the way to succeed is to work as hard as you can all the time. If you don’t hustle, it implies you are lazy and not worthy of success. This mindset has become an epidemic in our society — especially among young people — and it’s a terrible way to live.
I know because I used to think this way.
A quote from rapper, The Notorious B.I.G. “Every true hustler knows that you cannot hustle forever. You will go to jail eventually.”
It hit me like a ton of bricks: My soul was not happy working 80-hour weeks that revolved around my job title and paycheck instead of my values and interests. I was in a personal mental jail.
How can we not just survive but thrive? If you’re like me, this is a question that haunts you constantly. At times, it even makes you crazy.
We know we must do so many things to take care of ourselves (exercise, eat well, sleep enough, have friends, etc.). Yet no matter how much we know about healthy habits and self-care, it’s still difficult to live them — especially if we have other demands on our time and attention.
As I continue my journey of “living the life,” I’ve realized that the key is to remember that we are not machines. We are human beings who need and deserve to take care of ourselves.
We are the only ones who can do what needs to be done to create the life we want — and yet most of us don’t take action until something breaks down or stops functioning properly within us.
I’m going to wrap up by saying that it is important that we care for ourselves. This is not selfish; this is human. It doesn’t matter what you do, who you are in business with, whether it’s a hobby or a job—if your health isn’t good, nothing will be. I want to encourage you to look after yourself first because there will never be great work without a great worker. I want to leave you with this: the work life grind hustle is toxic. Take care of yourself.