Handling Hustle Culture

            When I entered my senior year of college, I realized that now was my last chance to get involved and do everything I dreamed of doing before it was too late and I'd be walking across the stage at graduation. I was studying full-time, working two jobs, joining extra clubs, and maintaining a social life. I looked down at my planner, which didn’t have an empty time block until 10 p.m., and then used that time to finish my assignments before falling asleep around 3 a.m., just to wake up at 6 a.m. for my class at 7:45 a.m. I only ate dinner and maybe a belVita biscuit during the day. I thought I was thriving because I was finally doing everything that I wanted to do when really, I had fallen into the hype of hustle culture.​

            An article in Forbes described hustle culture as “the collective urge we currently seem to feel as a society to work harder, stronger, faster. To grind and exert ourselves at our maximum capacity, every day, and accomplish our goals and dreams at a lightning speed that matches the digital world we’ve built around ourselves.” Seeing how successful and busy our friends, classmates, and social media influencers seem to be can feel and be inspiring, but it can also be misleading. Being a “girl boss” that never lets a minute in her day go wasted due to the dutiful scheduling in her color-coded planner is celebrated and encouraged online. However, it can also become unhealthy to think that you need to be hustling in order to enjoy life, which is what happened when I fell into the hype of hustle culture. I became burned out and made myself physically sick from exhaustion by doing too much every day and not allowing myself the time to decompress and relax from stress.

            During my burn-out, I fell into the complete opposite side of the spectrum from hustle culture and practically became a couch potato due to how sick and tired I was. I skipped classes, called out from work, and ignored my responsibilities for a little longer than recommended. Falling into the hype of hustle culture made me prideful of how much I was doing, then sick and burned out. I was abandoning my responsibilities in the name of self-care. There was no balance in my life or schedule. If hustle culture isn’t the answer and neither is being a complete homebody, where is the middle ground? How do I continue tending to my responsibilities while not triggering my mental and physical health? I had to find a balance and it all started with figuring out what my priorities are and how they compared to what I was spending my time on.

Monica Stressed

            As a student, I decided that my priorities are currently as follows: school, work, and time for myself to relax from school and work. In efforts to ensure I don't fall back into an overwhelming but also nonexistent schedule, I had to keep it simple instead of always hustling. Simply go to class and do the assignments, go to work, and give myself complete freedom to do what I wanted after I got home. The meetings for the clubs I joined were no longer a priority. Attending every social event that I’m invited to because of FOMO is no longer a priority. Being caught up on all the latest news, entertainment, and social media posts are no longer priorities. I love doing all those things, but there are only 24 hours in a day and there’s always the next time. Maintaining my mental and physical health matters more than keeping up with whatever is not on my priorities list. If I have extra time in the day and I am feeling well and able, then more power to me. Then, the activity is because I chose to do so for pleasure instead of having forced it into my schedule to keep up with appearances.

a pink neon

            Working to make your dreams come true is important. Nourishing your friendships and creating a healthy social life is important. Living a life you love is important. Your mental and physical health is important. You are important. You’re not going to live your best life by hustling all the time because that’s not going to give you the time to enjoy the life you’ve created, I found that out the hard way. You don’t need to always hustle to be considered a successful girl boss. Keep it simple, focus on your well-being, and know when to say “no” without feeling guilty. Don’t let hustle culture and the desire to “keep up” make you feel like you’re not doing enough.