The hustle doesn’t have to be the burnout. Mental health awareness has become prevalent in today's conversations, this shift in society allows us to look at the way mental health intertwines with our work. This shift has allowed me to re-evaluate the way that I hustle and how my work ethic can sometimes push my needs and wellbeing aside.
I developed my work ethic through school, as most of us do. I never missed due dates, I was always overly prepared and organized in what I did. This looked like a hopeful student with great grades. I now realize that I was an anxious student who couldn’t bare to have bad grades, or else everything would fall apart … or so it felt.
I operated on the notion that if I didn’t work as hard as I possibly could, then there wouldn’t be a place for me in society. I needed to give my work everything I had to become someone who mattered, even if that meant neglecting my mental health. When I was a child, mental health was hardly a conversation. I am so happy with how far our society has come in recognizing the importance of mental health in our schools and our workplaces. We definitely have a long way to go in terms of mental health accessibility and inclusion, but our progress is a hopeful sign of change.
In many workplaces, performance and the hustle is valued above balance and personal wellbeing. I’ve seen many people I love struggle to get the help they need from their work or from school. I think the best thing we can give our loved ones who are struggling, as well as ourselves, is space to process emotions. If we can’t get support from our system, we can at least give it to each other by letting go of some of those powerful expectations we put on ourselves and the people around us.
I still struggle with putting my personal needs above my work. I carry the belief that if I stopped working, the world would keep going and I wouldn’t be able to catch up. However, what I have begun to realize is that taking breaks or time away from your work, is actually really healthy and effective.
I love my work and I have big dreams for Inkling Publishing, but I also know I need to take care of myself in order to continue to follow those dreams. For me, this looks like valuing my time away from work, journaling, connecting with loved ones and reaching out for help when things feel too heavy. Sometimes, life is a chaotic balancing act and I find that the more work I put into my overall wellbeing, the better I can balance lives hardships.
The hustle is not inherently bad, it’s how the hustle can exclude ones individuals needs that is dangerous. We do our best work when we are feeling our best and when we are compassionately supporting ourselves and the people around us.
In a healthy environment that acknowledges the importance of mental health, we can hustle with purpose, balance and self-awareness.