Hustle Culture: The Toxicity of being a ‘Go-getter.’

Let’s see if this feels familiar. You wake up, check your phone, reply to texts, Brush your teeth, rush to the gym or to whatever exercise you have to do, allthe timemakimg a to do list in your head, Come back, take a shower, rush to work, Spend hours working and thinking about work that is to come, Rush through meals, Come home to relax but  do some laundry first, reply to some texts, maybe watch a movie and then pass out. Even if you don’t follow this exact routine, you know the feeling of having one that is similar. The excitement, the rush, the energy, the exhaustion, the constant feeling of the grind. This is the manifestation of something known as the ‘Hustle Culture.’

Hustle culture is the collective urge that we feel as a society to keep pushing ourselves to do more, overworking, being ‘go-getters’ who always want to better themselves, one-up themselves, usually at the expense of our mental and physical health, relationships and  rest time. It comes from a need to achieve more and more which has been ingrained in us since our early years. Science has proven that this mindset is very debilitating to our mental and physical health and is literally the cause of so many of our problems. Multiple research papers highlight that the sense of urgency, the idea to keep pushing yourself, overworking and keeping at it endlessly are overall crippling in the long term.
No-one realizes that that is not the only way to live a life. No-one realizes how toxic it is as everyone around them is doing it.
This is why so many of us feel guilty when we don’t do much in a day, where rest is looked down upon and seen as a waste of time. This us why we feel low when we are not able to fit into our schedule, our work, exercise, socializing, hobbies and interests as well as taking care of the household. This Hustle Culture has been the norm and has been encouraged and reinforced for so long that it is ingrained in us as the ideal lifestyle, or in most cases the only way to live and flourish. But if you ask yourself, are you really flourishing? Are you really satisfied with filling your each day, hour and each second with something to do just to satisfy the need to achieve? Are you not mentally burnt out and doesn’t everyone keep talking about taking a break and going on a vacation? Don’t you see people around you who live for the weekend?
Even in the midst of this, people still find enough coping mechanisms, social support and motivation that keeps their physical and mental health balanced. But overall, it is still coming at a great cost. We barely have the time for ourselves, for introspection, for rest, relaxation, or leisure time, for emotional processing, for our loved ones. More and more people are getting depressed, suffering from anxiety, self esteem issues. With this comes the higher levels of stress which is a direct consequence of the Hustle culture. Repeated stress makes the body weak, worsens the immune system and over a long period is responsible for the aggravation of most physical problems. More and more issues are being attributed to lifestyle nowadays. The unmanageability of physical or mental pain, the self depreciation, negative spiralling of thoughts and feelings and compulsive need which manifest in addiction to the screen or to substances. The impact on our mental and physical health is enormous
Mental health awareness and information online is abundant and focusing more and more on these issues. But one of the root causes is missed- the toxicity of this hustle culture and what it is doing to our individual and collective consciousness from our early years.

What can You do?

You might wonder that if this hustle culture is a societal issue what can you do about it. What’s the use of even knowing something which you cannot change as an individual? But that is exactly what societal conditioning makes us believe as well. That change is too big, too vast, too global and out of our hands.  While it is true that you may not be able to change the minds of other, but you can start to become more aware of how this hustle culture influences you and your day to day behaviors. You can mitigate the toxicity effects of this societal issue but putting up protective factors for your self. You can process your own stress or anxiety or emotional issues by delving into your own psychology and healing yourself piece by piece.
At ZorbaWellness Rehabilitation Center, our focus is to work on the issues of the mind such as depression, addiction, anxiety, negative thinking, etc. Many clients here realise the toxicity of the lifestyle they were leading. A rehabilitation center gives them the environment and space to explore themselves and change their lifestyle into one filled with more introspection, self care, self kindness and strike a balance in all areas of life.
To reduce the impact of the Hustle culture, we provide certain tools and guidance to our clients, which can also be practiced by you in your home. Some of the easiest ways to do that are:

• Meditation:
More and more scientific research is proving the mental and physical health benefits of meditation. It actually affects the brain areas responsible for stress and negative thinking, reducing anxiety, cultivating the ability to be present and processing one’s mind activity.

• Regular Counselling:
Mental health requires regular assessment, support and servicing just the same way that physical health does. You don’t have to wait to feel low or let mental health get worse or cause issues to go for therapy. Counselling helps in identifying, achieving clarity and working on patterns of thoughts and emotions that are conscious or unconscious. Overtime it leads to long term changes in one’s coping, perspectives towards oneself and the world around us as well as our adaptability to our world.

• Journaling and Writing work:
The process of writing down your thoughts and feeling, taking account of behaviors and motives is a deep exploration of one’s own psyche. It is a very effective tool to reflect and contemplate about oneself. It removes us from the normal autopilot state that we are in usually in which we mechanically react to situations. Identification, Processing and healing happens through making journaling or writing a discipline that is incorporated in one’s lifestyle. There are many ways to journal or write about thought and emotion that are available online and on our blog as well.

• Emotional expression and Sharing:
Many of us suppress what we feel and are uncomfortable being vulnerable in front of people. Others are open to being vulnerable but feel a lack of meaningful relationships or bonds where they can be. Even some, don’t see the point in burdening someone with our issues. But emotional expression and sharing are parts of the healing process which cannot be skipped. Verbally admitting to certain issues, thoughts, fears, doubts and emotions is a great way to reflect, feel lighter  and gain social support which we all need. For people who feel like they don’t have anyone they can confide in, there are always mental health professionals, support groups for anxiety, depression or any issue, online groups and communities that they can connect to.

• Movement and Creativity:
Exercise and movement based activist such as dance are great for one’s mental health and build resilience and coping for stress. Moving our body brings us in the present, offers respite from the incessant chatter of the mind, and express our stored emotional energy in different ways.
Creative arts and hobbies are recommended to everyone as all of us have intellectual needs and the need to create, to express our intellect in the world. But that need gets suppressed many times due to fixed roles and jobs. Starting a creative hobby such as learning music, painting, photography, etc. Or  even gardening, can be incorporated in one’s routine so as to disengage from the urgency of the hustle culture and live a well rounded life.

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