Toxic Productivity and Hustle Culture

Hustle Culture: Why we can’t stop working was published on Youtube by Wisecrack on November eighth. I have to say it really got me thinking and I realized, that I do have a level of toxic productivity. For the past few weeks now, I have been tired and have actually gotten my eight hours of sleep more often than not. This is a huge accomplishment, considering I have averaged about five hours for the last 5 years or so. You would think that I would be proud of myself. I have not been … I am not. I actually see it as a problem. 

Not knowing how to feed the spirit, we try to muffle its demands in distraction …
What matters is that one befor a time inwardly attentive. -- Anne Morrow Lindbergh

So what it comes down to is that I get upset with myself for falling asleep so early or for being too tired to really do anything else after work. Why should I beat myself up though? Allowing myself to get the rest my body needs is an important aspect of wellbeing, but here I am being my own personal tyrant. This is mainly because, in my mind, I am wasting time- time that I could be using to be productive. Note to self: Sleeping is 1000% productive by the way. It is healing for our mind and our body. It is necessary. 

The youtube video talks about how hustle culture has permeated every facet of our lives and we are no longer in a place where we can just relax. Particularly, marginalized groups are expected to work to the point of exhaustion. Also if it is about making extra money, many marginalized people have had to always work extra to make ends meet. Today, it has become mainstream simply because the wealth gap has continued to grow and more and more people are having to work more to have the illusion of the “American Dream.” We do not even notice that it is now American culture to work to the bone. 

Social media does not help either. We look at all these celebrity pages and social influencers and curated images that depict a materialistic life that we aspire to. So we work harder, hustle hard to one day make enough money to live that life. This environment decreases our overall well-being and increases our stress level. Even when we have the opportunity to get rest, we feel guilty. I feel guilty and cannot even enjoy or appreciate the time as I should. Interestingly enough, the video also points out that most people never make enough money on the side hustle. 

I have to actively tell myself that it is okay to rest. It is okay to take a day off simply to get some me-time. There is nothing wrong with taking a staycation and working on your overall well-being. Get a message. Go for a walk. Do a Zumba class. Dance around in your underwear. Write in your journal. Read a good book. Take yourself to the movies. Stretch. Breathe. Sleep in late. Fast. Watch your favorite comedy program. Laugh. Make that appointment to see that counselor you have been thinking about. Did I mention breathing? Do any or all of these things without inflicting unnecessary guilt onto yourself. Remind yourself about the things that bring you joy in life and make a plan to engage in them. Reset and balance your life again. 

Of course, you probably cannot give up the side hustle or working some overtime hours, but take a moment to reevaluate how you spend your time and reframe your expectations. Start with small adjustments. Even the slightest change can do wonders to help with improving your stress and contribute positively to your overall wellbeing.

Check out the video mentioned below.


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