How Hustle Culture And Self-Care Are Affecting Your Mental Health (Plus 8 Stress-Free Ways To Reach Your Goals)

Hustle culture is still alive and well in 2021, even during a pandemic.

With the staggering affects of unemployment and loss of income on mental health, the idea of staying productive is #trending and the popularity of self-care products continues to rise.

What Is Hustle Culture?

Photo: Pinterest

Hustle culture champions the notion that we always need to be working harder, smarter and faster to achieve success. Every minute that isn’t spent working towards a goal is a minute wasted.

These days, everyone is an entrepreneur, aspiring entrepreneur or side-hustler. Millennials are all about owning their narrative, carving their own path, and rejecting the rigidity of traditional nine to five jobs that reigned in previous generations.

A “you can achieve anything you set out to do” attitude has been ingrained in us from day one. As a result, hustle culture is a value system born from a generation that’s trying to reach their own (high) expectations.

Millennial worth is measured against what we can deliver and not who we are, setting the stage for a very stressful environment only made worse by current circumstances.

The Comparative Effects Of Social Media On Hustle Culture

Photo: Pinterest

Though many of us are currently struggling mentally and financially, we are still expected to optimize every moment of the day and are subsequently judged by our ability to do so.

Jen Kirsch, a celebrated relationship columnist from Toronto, relates this to the comparative effects of social media.

“We have a much more captive audience on social media than we’ve ever had before” Kirsch said. “We’ve had more time to watch and be influenced by what we think we should be doing by comparison.”

Is Self-Care The Solution To Hyper-Productivity?

Photo: Pinterest

In the tireless pursuit of achieving our goals and keeping up with our peers, we eventually face burnout. Being “on” at all hours of the day takes a toll, increasing our stress levels and dramatically reducing our productivity.

Relief often comes in the form of indulgent and expensive luxuries, which have been branded and marketed as “self-care”. #Selfcare is one of the most popular hashtags on Instagram with 32.2 million search results, and the self-care industry is valued at more than $11 billion.

We use self-care to overcompensate for the exhaustive nature of hustle culture and alleviate the stress associated with a non-stop lifestyle. But are meditation apps, expensive bath bombs and lavish designer purchases really helping?

Balancing Realistic Goals With Wellness Practices

Both hustle and wellness culture promote their respective lifestyles to excess, which can have toxic effects on mental health.

Achieving goals is important, but it’s just as important to be patient and kind to yourself in the process.

Here are eight ways to successfully check off your to-do list and stay healthy too: 

Photo: Patrick Schneider via Unsplash.

1. Meditate

Practicing self-care shouldn’t require you to spend money. Try spending at least 10 to 30 minutes a day meditating instead. Find a quiet place to sit each morning and focus solely on your breathing. Over time, this will train your brain to focus on positive and productive thoughts.

2. Focus On Three Goals

Setting too many goals will overwhelm you, deplete your resources, and waste your energy. Focus your efforts on three and map out what actionable steps you can take each day to bring you closer to them.

3. Don’t Compare Yourself To Others

Truth is, you don’t know what people are really going through. Hustle culture is performative and displayed on social media – it is not an accurate indication of the work or success they’ve actually achieved. The only person you should be comparing yourself to, is you.

4. Know When To Say No

Only say yes to opportunities that align with your goals and happiness. Do not waste energy on projects or meetings that won’t serve you. Politely declining an opportunity won’t deter someone from coming back to you with another proposal.

5. Set Your Own Hours And Plan Ahead

Studies have shown that we’re only productive for roughly three hours of the regular eight-hour workday.

Instead of forcing yourself to be productive for long periods of time, work in two and a half-hour intervals. Plan out which tasks you’re going to tackle in advance.

Optimize the energy you have and conserve the energy you need.

Via Pinterest

6. Eat Well And Sleep Well

It seems obvious, doesn’t it? But how many of us actually get the rest and nutrients we need?

Eat your greens, don’t consume too many processed foods, and try to get an eight-hour sleep in as often as possible. More importantly, don’t beat yourself up if you have an off-day.

7. (Occasionally) Treat Yourself To Some Retail Therapy

Indulging too often puts a strain on your financial security and by extension, your mental stability. However, ensuring that you’re not depriving yourself from things you really want has been proven to lift your mood. So, treat yourself! Sometimes.

Photo: Pinterest.

8. Be Patient And Manage Your Expectations

During the pandemic, it’s important to trust the process and understand that everyone’s timeline has been disrupted. If you set out to achieve your goals and take little steps toward them every day, you will get there, even if it takes a little longer.

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