Exposing “The Hustle”

By: Kaitlin Cleary

Hol3health takeaway: Remember, your success is not defined by others. Life is about a lot more than striving for a picture-perfect lifestyle. 

Hustle, Drive, Innovate. These words cascade off the tongue like a waterfall of productivity and who doesn’t want to be productive — right? 

The Hustle mentality is a mindset that has been around for ages but resurfaced around the early 2010’s. Along with monikers like “Girl Boss”, this way of thinking promoted the “Work Hard, Play Hard” mentality among consumers. This often meant pushing yourself to take on more responsibilities and fighting to excel in your current field. The mentality seems to really thrive within the ‘go-go-go’-getters’, those who seemingly manage balancing work, health, fitness, and lifestyle habits perfectly. And for so long I really wanted to be that person. I wanted to be the girl who had it all together when it came to…well, everything! I didn’t realize how unrealistic it was to assume that I could run myself ragged trying to balance everything and each time just chock it up to ‘Hustling’. Every time, I reasoned with myself that so many others just like me were “making it work”, “pushing through.” But what I failed to see was that I am an individual and cannot compare myself to others. More importantly, I didn’t feel secure enough to know that just because someone else was juggling eight things at once didn’t mean that I had to, too. 

Don’t get me wrong, I definitely see that “The Hustle ” has some merit to it, but I feel like what the ideal lacks is a real focus on mental health and well being, especially when it comes to self-care. When an internal drive to hustle pushes you to the point where it overtakes your life –it’s a sign. And when that sign appears, trust it! After all, why should we glamorize a system that pushes people way past their breaking point for the chance at being labeled a success? Who cares! The importance of downtime is not a joke, and it doesn’t make you any less of an individual when it comes to taking a break. So- allow yourself to sleep in a little longer or skip the workout to catch up with friends, because looking back on it, I doubt you will measure life-based on the number of checks off a to-do list. Instead, prioritize slowing down and taking life one step at a time. Instead, trust your body and allow it to intuitively guide you when it needs to wind down. I know this can sound scary, especially as an “ex-hustler,” but this doesn’t mean you have to stop being productive. All that I ask is that you fight for some kind of balance in your life in order to experience the self-care you truly deserve. 

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