Would you say that you’re part of the hustle culture and on your way to burnout? Do you ever feel like you just can’t let go of the urge to be productive? Even when you’re home, and technically “off the clock”, do you have a hard time leaving the hustle behind? Or maybe you’re problem is that although your job is considered a 9-5, you’re the early bird to the office and the last one to leave.
Do you answer work emails and texts, even when you’re at home sick for the day? Maybe you’ve been known to read emails on vacations when you’re supposed to be “getting away from it all”. Or how about that time you were on call during the holidays and felt like you just couldn’t relax?
I’m not here to judge you. I’ve been there, too. Up until a year and a half ago, I was the same way.
I worked in the financial industry, which never, ever sleeps. I’ve been known to go home early due to a migraine, only to spend the afternoon on the phone arguing with a retirement company about getting my client’s plan set up on time. I went to work with such a severe allergy attack that I almost ended up in the hospital because my lungs got so swollen from the allergens and my coughing – I ended up needing 2 weeks off and got demoted because they needed to get the job done and filled my place while I was gone.
Then there was the time I walked 1.5 miles after getting hit by a car because I had missed the bus and didn’t want to miss work (I ended up going to the ER after the adrenaline wore off and I realized how much damage was actually done!).
So yeah, I know what it’s like to feel like you’ve always got to be “on” and not know how to shut out the work when you can finally relax.
It’s still something I struggle with, even as an entrepreneur. The fact that I can work whenever and wherever I want can definitely create the temptation to work when I really shouldn’t – like during the holidays, when I’m sick, or when I’ve got a case of insomnia.
But I know that the hustle culture is actually making us more stressed-out than ever, and it actually reduces our productivity by reducing our brain’s ability to function properly. We make think we’re actually getting more done by going from one task to the next, constantly, but in reality, we’re not giving any of these things our full performance because we’re working from a place of burnout most of the time.
In this day and age, feeling frazzled and living with chronic stress is the norm.
This article talks about how we mentally put a dollar value on our time, which makes it hard for us to do things that aren’t considered productive, and to do things just for the fun of it. Like I mentioned above, this can be especially hard for freelancers and entrepreneurs who don’t have the structure of regular hours or the need to only work in the office to help them set healthy boundaries. Even stay-at-home parents or homemakers can have a hard time relaxing because there’s always someone to care for or some chore to be done. No one is immune to hustle culture.
By now, you’re probably wondering what, if anything, can be done to combat the burnout caused by the hustle culture.
As with any problem, the first step to solving it is awareness. We must take a really good look at our habits and priorities, and consider where they may need to shift. And then, we must make time for REAL self-care. What do I mean by that?
If you search on Pinterest or Instagram, you’ll probably find a million different ways to practice self-care, mostly focused on expensive spa treatments, yoga retreats, or some other lofty experience that isn’t available to everyone. These are nice splurges when you can do them, but there are even more ways to practice self-care that are more tangible and will have a real lasting impact.
Here are 10 of my top recommended ways to combat the burnout caused by hustle culture:
- Declare an actual end to your workday
- Get comfortable with tasks being undone, and give yourself permission to relax
- Set an actual bedtime – and stick to it
- Try going to bed at the same time every night, and allow yourself at least 8 hours of rest
- Develop morning & nightly routines
- Try not to start your day with electronics. Instead, begin with self-care practices like meditation, reading something uplifting, or journaling about your hopes for the day.
- An hour before your set bedtime, make it a habit to turn off your electronics and wind down with a warm bath or shower, a fun novel and a cup of herbal tea, a gentle yoga practice, or anything else that feels relaxing to you.
- Schedule self-care & make it a commitment to yourself – just as important as other tasks in your calendar
- Set reminders in your phone to get up and stretch for 5 minutes every hour, to hydrate, and to take a break to do some deep breathing.
- Create an event in your calendar for larger chunks of time devoted to your favorite hobbies or self-care routines, and hold yourself accountable for sticking with those commitments.
- EFT Tapping
- EFT Tapping (or Emotional Freedom Technique) is a quick and easy way to center yourself, reduce stress, tension, and anxiety, and can help you process your emotions more effectively, as well as being an easy way to include spirituality in your day. For more info, check out this blog post.
- Gratitude journaling
- Make some time each day, either when you wake up or before bed, to write down what you’re grateful for. Studies show that having a gratitude practice can actually improve our physical and psychological wellbeing, as well as strengthen our relationships, and more!
- Re-evaluate priorities with a life audit
- Check-in with your priorities on a regular basis. Where are you putting too much of your energy, and where aren’t you putting enough?
- Get help being accountable
- Enlist the help of family, friends, or a coach like me to support you in your endeavors to combat the burnout caused by the hustle culture. You don’t have to be on this journey alone!
- Get moving
- Physical exertion by way of cardiovascular exercise or even gentle movements like yoga and Tai Chi help the body create endorphins, the feel-good chemicals. This helps reduce the amount of stress hormones the body produces, thereby helping us feel happier and more relaxed.
- Have a hobby that’s just for fun
- No, you don’t have to turn your favorite hobby into a “side-hustle”. Hobbies are meant to be just for fun and can be something you do alone or with others. Whether you’re into sports, crafts, or cooking, making time to do things just for the joy of it is an important part of combating burnout.
By practicing real self-care and incorporating one or more of these methods into your daily life, you’ll be able to say goodbye to the hustle culture and combat the burnout that so many of us can feel. You’ll be able to fully relax on your time off because you’ll actually be “off”. And you’ll be even more productive in every area of your life!
Until next time,