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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

We need to stop normalizing the grind and prioritize downtime instead. 

Today’s society has created a narrative that working nonstop is desirable and something everyone should strive for in order to reach success, and personally, I would like it to stop. Social media posts about the importance of “the grind,” or consistently pushing yourself to the brink, have a way of reaching my timeline, each one providing tips on how to succeed that are more elaborate than the last. They make it seem like if you’re not working at least 60 hours a week, either on school work or in a professional setting, then you are somehow “slacking” and not as good as people who do. 

The concept of a healthy work-life balance has been skewed to focus solely on work and just barely squeeze in time for life events when you can. Despite the fact that overworking yourself is commonly known to cause burnout, many people have normalized this idea that you should constantly push yourself until you reach your goal, and, only then, can you take a break. And I’m guilty of this too. As I’m writing this article, I have two essays to write, two textbook chapters to read, a midterm to study for and not a break in sight. As much as I hate the saying “the grind doesn’t stop,” it seems to be true, but I’m ready for that to change. 

So, I’m taking matters into my own hands and deciding that we should normalize relaxation and downtime instead of working until we inevitably crash. 

Research has shown that relaxing and de-stressing can lower anxiety and blood pressure, improve your sleep quality, boost your mood and performance and increase your ability to focus. These things are essential for your health and well-being, so we need to start treating downtime as an aspect of our daily routine, and not just a reward we get for completing our work. Taking a break shouldn’t be viewed as treating yourself; it’s a necessary step in uplifting and maintaining your health and happiness, something we all need in order to function at our highest level and succeed. This is the real key to success, not how many hours you can spend working without a break. 

I don’t want you to think that I’m advocating for everyone to just stop pushing themselves, that’s far from the truth. Challenging yourself and stretching your limits a bit to see what you can accomplish is very important for personal growth and will lead to future success. The problem lies in only focusing on these things, and forgetting to enjoy the little things in life. Do I still have lots of assignments I need to complete? Yes. Am I going to place taking a break and watching Netflix with my roommates near the top of my list of priorities for tonight? Also yes. Because that’s a break I need to take for myself in order to reach my full potential later on, and that’s okay. 

Just remember that the grind can and should stop, at least for a little bit. 

A psychology major who loves dogs, Disney movies, and making Spotify playlists that no one listens to.