I hate your “hustle harder” slogans.
I know it as well as you do: all work and no life isn’t cutting it. And the consequences can be dire.
I’ll try to keep this brief (I know you have work to do). If creating a podcast about self-care has taught me anything, it’s that people are tired—emotionally, physically, spiritually. They feel like the sweating, toiling workers on the coal face of the fourth industrial revolution.
I know, because I’m one too! I worked my twenty-something ass off and I’m proud of that. What I’m not proud of is that I’m also dealing with chronic migraines and bad TMJ. Is it the stress of modern life that afflicts me? Pretty sure.
I mean, I don’t believe my grandparents walked around avoiding loud noises and bright lights, with their jaws clenched like they’d been wired shut. And they were working on a *literal* coal face.
I’m no psychologist but it might have something to do with the way we work. That is, always. Our brains are working to consume vast swathes of (largely useless) information from the moment we wake up to the moment we close our blue-light-damaged eyes. For most people (especially hustlers and anyone working online—e.g. most of us) “work-life balance” doesn’t exist because work never actually ends.
Most of us, young and ambitious as we are, work hard, squint into screens, and sit still all day (and all that sedentary time is shortening our lifespans, by the way). And then, we go home and work even more. Does this meme ring a bell? It you.
— alyssa bereznak (@alyssabereznak) September 5, 2018
It’s a health concern, as well as a psychological and spiritual one. And look, fair enough if you’re in the middle of inventing the next big thing—hope you get rich and/or happy!—and plan on hustling now, so you can R&R later.
But if you’re just showing up everyday, coffee in your veins and nothing going on behind those bloodshot eyes, then (wild idea) maybe the hustle isn’t helping you. Maybe it’s hurting you. And maybe admitting that is more than OK.
There’s a reason the stuff that I love talking about—self-care, tarot, and, let’s call it “new thought” because I’m classy—is reaching wider than ever before, right now. It’s because we’re all feeling fucked, frankly. And something needs to change.
I don’t have any answers you can’t find in yourself, beyond saying this: Look after yourself (better and more than you think you need to!) maintain your boundaries (especially with your GD phone), drink more water, and get out of your chair and stretch once in a while.
Work-life balance may not exist, but it doesn’t mean you should totally abandon the latter in favor of a bunch of empty “hustle” slogans.
Originally published as a newsletter for Girlboss.