Are you the driven, ambitious type who believes “nothing is impossible if you work hard enough”? Chances are you’ve heard that achieving success necessitates dedicating yourself to hard labour, clocking in long hours, and maintaining unwavering concentration on your tasks. This mentality has gained significant popularity in the last few years, with entrepreneurs, CEOs, and social media influencers praising the benefits of grinding and hustling. But, are we entirely realising how it can take shape within a realistic and healthy lifestyle? Women and hustle culture seem like the perfect combination for success. But maybe it’s time we, as women, began to rethink hustle culture.
How women approach their visions via hustle culture
Hustle culture is a societal mindset that glorifies and values overworking, often at the expense of personal well-being, family life, and social connections. It encourages individuals to dedicate themselves relentlessly to their work, often with long hours, a constant “grind” mentality, and an unyielding focus on achieving one’s goals.
“Hustle culture” is often associated with the entrepreneurial and start-up world. Long work hours and a willingness to sacrifice personal time are often seen as necessary for success. However, this mindset has become increasingly popular and pervasive in many other areas of work and life, leading to concerns about burnout, stress, and the impact on mental and physical health.
Why is it harmful?
Although many view it as the most effective way to achieve success in the workplace, hustle culture has significant drawbacks. Studies have shown that working long hours can lead to poorer mental health, increased anxiety, and symptoms of depression. There is also a strong correlation between these symptoms and sleep disturbances. Therefore, it’s essential to recognise that “hustle culture” is simply a new name for the age-old concept of “surviving the rat race.” Unfortunately, the price of this mentality is usually recognised too late. As such, it can be challenging to break free from its grasp.
Why women and hustle culture aren’t the best fit
1. You feel guilty for taking breaks or resting, even when exhausted.
If you feel guilty for taking breaks or resting, consider yourself a prisoner of the hustle culture—hustle culture values overworking. As a result, you may find that you are constantly pushing yourself to the limit. You take on multiple deadlines or meetings to achieve the highest possible output. You relentlessly focus on achieving your goals and won’t stop until you get there. However, balancing productivity and caring for your physical and mental health is crucial to avoid burnout and achieving long-term success.
2. You are constantly working to prove your worth or success.
While striving for success and working hard to achieve your goals can be positive, constantly feeling the need to prove yourself can lead to burnout, anxiety, and self-doubt. It’s essential to recognise that your achievements or the opinions of others do not define your worth as a person.
The ‘have it all’ motto by itself is not unrealistic. However, the definition of what ‘all’ entails has grown by ridiculous proportions. Often, it doesn’t stop with chasing after the six-figure salary (or seven, depending on where you live). The pursuit extends into a race to win a certain kind of perception. Think about the credos of hustle culture: “work it”, “go for gold”, “in it to win it”, “only grind on the mind”, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”—the list never ends. These are not always harmless hashtags. But, to many women, especially those with an unbalanced fixation on social media, these levels of merit determine their worth.
3. You prioritise work over your personal life and relationships.
Personal life seems to have slipped away from your grasp as work consumes your thoughts relentlessly. Yet, regardless of the activities you engage in, the impending work looming over you always manages to infiltrate your mind. Though you believe you are eagerly awaiting the weekends, the reality is that you are merely passing through them to get to another work week.
There always seems to be one more email to send, one more call to make, or one more checkbox to tick off, even on vacation or a day off. In the end, what remains is little room for any leisurely pursuits.
4. You take up new projects or tasks, even when overloaded.
While learning a new skill or getting more work done in one sitting may seem like a good idea, forcing a heavier load upon yourself than you can handle is never a good idea. The inevitable consequences are burnout, decreased productivity, and poor quality of work. It can also hurt your mental and physical health, leading to stress, anxiety, and other health problems.
Women and hustle culture: overcoming the mindset
1. Recognise the signs
You must acknowledge all the symptoms mentioned above if they apply to you. Then, if you are already aware of the harmful effects of the toxic hustle culture, set a goal to distance yourself from it gradually.
2. Practice self-care
Practising self-care is an essential step towards self-awareness. And self-awareness is the key to freeing yourself from hustle culture. Start by decluttering your mind with the help of regular journaling. Then, narrow down some grounding techniques to help ease your mind when it gets crowded with anxious thoughts about work. Additionally, you can talk to a friend or, if needed, a therapist.
3. Practice time management and productivity techniques
Time blocking can improve your productivity, reduce stress, and make you feel more in control of your time. Instead of constantly interrupting your work to check your phone for emails or social media notifications, set aside dedicated time. This way, you also remove factors that contribute to attention deficit. With practice, you can develop a more efficient and effective way of achieving your goals while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
By regularly centring yourself and reflecting on what’s important, you can gain clarity and make decisions that align with your values and goals. Eventually, this will put you on a path that appreciates mental and physical harmony over the urge to be one among the women of hustle culture.