Hustle Culture and HS
“You have as many hours in a day as Beyoncé”
“Rise and Grind”
“Sleep is for the weak”
How many of us have heard this as ‘inspirational’ advice on social media or other platforms? I remember hearing this in college and feeling bad about myself because I was not able to do everything I wanted. Although I was a full-time student with a part-time job and a part-time internship, I regularly felt as if I was failing at life. Even now, as an adult, I regularly feel unaccomplished. But why should I feel this way?
Hustle culture leads to burnout
Hustle culture tells us that to be respected or successful we must put work above everything and actively be working at all times. And if you aren’t doing this, you are considered lazy. But hustle culture can lead to burnout, stress, depression, anxiety, and more. This is not conducive to a healthy life, and for those of us with HS (and/or other chronic health conditions), it is downright impossible at times. I consider myself ambitious, but I have had to draw firm boundaries so I don’t overwork myself. Overworking myself leads to higher stress, more flares, and negative mental health symptoms.
It can be hard to keep boundaries in place and face the overwhelm of hustle culture when we see it every day. Social media bombards us with posts that tell us to work harder for our 'ideal' life. But living with a chronic illness means that I have to take things one day at a time. Some days I am overcome with a bad flare and can’t even get out of bed. Overworking myself during a flare can make things worse. The only solution is medicine and rest. But this culture tells me that every minute I am not working, I am wasting. It can lead to a chronic state of anxiety. This is the danger of hustle culture.
Prioritize yourself and your health
To combat this, I have extensively worked to filter my social media channels so I do not see unhealthy messaging. I have drawn firm boundaries for myself and those around me. For example, if I have a bad flare or mental health day I give myself permission to take a sick day, guilt-free.
I have been in therapy on and off for many years to work through the guilt I feel when I am sick and unable to do things. These are just some things that have worked for me.
Hustle culture is here to stay, at least for the meantime. However, we do not have to tolerate or be a part of it. It’s taken me many years, but I can finally prioritize myself and my health. Fighting hustle culture mentality, taking care of myself, and honoring my limits is what I can do to ensure my own wellness.
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