Is Your Career is Hurting Your Mental Health? Here's What to Do Next
Do you give yourself time to relax and take care of your needs? Or are you simply too busy? Are there times when you get cozy in bed, ready for a deep, restful sleep, only to experience a surge of anxiety about whether you turned in your report or finished a work project correctly?
While many will praise your enthusiasm and willingness to work hard, you may be wearing yourself too thin.
What is Hustle Culture?
Many of us around the world are officially living in a hustle culture—a society that praises the entrepreneurial spirit above all else. Some might say this is a result of capitalism, a system that places more emphasis on what you can produce and accomplish than how well you’re doing mentally and emotionally. Regardless of the source, we often push ourselves to the point of exhaustion or burnout just to meet a deadline.
Sometimes, it feels good to give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back for all of your hard work. But is that small moment of accomplishment worth the consequences? What if your work is slowly seeping into your personal life, leaving you little time for self-care, time with your family, and even play?
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the warning signs of work-place stress and burnout, the pros and cons of hustle culture, and the steps to take to promote mental and emotional wellness in your daily life.
After all, what’s the point of all that hard work if you can’t make time for yourself to relax, unwind, and follow your bliss?
The Pros & Cons of Hustle Culture
While some might argue that individuals have become more commodified than ever, there are some benefits to the entrepreneurial spirit that flows through our society. There are more unique and creative ways than ever to make a living for yourself—and more than enough platforms to work with.
We are experiencing a surge of creativity and innovation like never before. The consequences of this hustle culture, however, are very real.
While it’s easier than ever to find an outlet for your passions, it’s also harder to make time for relaxation. There is more pressure than ever to “make something of yourself,” to gather followers, to become influential in some way. Even if you aren’t on board with social media, you may feel the need to bend over backward within your current professional position to maintain your sense of self-worth.
It’s perfectly healthy to feel proud of your hard work, but it’s important to remember that you are a living, breathing spirit that exists outside of your profession.
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Is Work Spilling Into Your Personal Life?
It can be difficult to draw the line between working hard and overworking yourself. And it’s important to remember that some people truly enjoy hard work and might feel lost without it. That does not, however, negate the fact that you have to make time for yourself every now and again—preferably every day. It’s time to stop thinking of self-care as optional and start looking at it as a necessity.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself when trying to determine whether your work is spilling into your personal life:
- Do you have a hard time letting go of work matters after the workday is done?
- Are you constantly exhausted?
- Do you find your mind drifting from conversations with friends and family, subconsciously focusing on work?
- Do you find it difficult to relax at the end of the day?
- Do you think of your hobbies and passions as secondary to work?
- Do you feel like self-care activities cut into time that could be “more productive”?
- Do you often feel stressed, nervous, or even depressed during work or outside of work hours?
- Has your sleep been disrupted lately? Do you wake up feeling groggy or fully rested?
- Do you experience frequent aches and pains throughout your body?
These questions are merely a starting point for recognizing a pattern. While work can be stressful—and this can be perfectly healthy—it shouldn’t be so stressful that you have a hard time enjoying your life outside of work.
How to Make Time for Yourself
It’s time slowly back away from the desk, put your phone (and the emails it contains) down, and do something for yourself. While it might feel foreign or even naughty at first, you’ll be amazed at how rejuvenated and refreshed you can feel simply by taking a moment to indulge in something you love—whether that’s doing a puzzle, reading a good book, or binge-watching your favorite series.
Take a moment to put your imagination hat on and play a game with your children or call your parents and chat with them for a while.
Feeling Guilty is Normal - Move Past it
This can be difficult at first, and you might even feel guilty for a moment. After all, isn’t there something more productive that you could be doing? That’s the flawed thinking that’s been moving you closer and closer towards emotional, physical, and mental burnout.
Sometimes the silliest things are the most productive. Imagine missing a beautiful moment with your parents, your partner, or your growing children for the sake of a more “productive” task. Life, as they say, is short; and the people in your life, including yourself, can never be replaced. It’s important to participate fully in these small moments of joy.
What is equally as important as work, if not more so, is your self-care routine. Activities like meditation, yoga, and chakra balancing are excellent methods to release negativity, balance the body and the mind, and help you feel stronger and more capable than ever.
Positive affirmations are another great way to set your intentions and remind yourself that you are unique and brilliant. Creative writing, journaling, exercise, leisure activities—it does matter how you choose to take care of yourself, only that you make this choice.
You are Worth it!
You are worth it. You deserve to take a moment each day to pamper yourself, to challenge yourself to something beyond your profession, to explore your spirituality and personal philosophies. While your job may be wonderful and fulfilling, you are more than what you do for a living.
Take time for yourself, take care of yourself, and remember that you deserve it.
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