“Just one more article…… and I’ll go to sleep”, a constant battle with our own body and will at the cost of our mental health; how much hustle is too much hustle?
Thousands of researches and seminars later, we conclude that mental health should be our priority, whilst writing this, we survive on four hours of sleep, overdosing on caffeine, bundled up with internships and internals; aiming to reach our goal.
A research pointed out, working eight hours a week is sufficient to gain the well-being benefits of employment. Well, college teaches us multi-tasking, eight hours a day working is an average college student’s bare minimum. Popular culture has its fair share in glorifying hustling, or over-exerting oneself beyond their rational limits in order to achieve more than others. From Harvey Specter in Suits to Dr. Yang in Grey’s Anatomy, all of them glorify ‘Type-A’ Personality, or burning oneself out to ‘aim greater’ in life. ‘To each his/her own’ is not applicable at the stake of one’s mental health.
The need for constant productivity comes along with a bundle of stress and pressure which also gives rise to the culture of converting every art into a capitalist pursuit. Somewhere we believe that our midnight exertion would someday lead to a comfortable (read: rich) life. The skills that we acquire throughout our tenure become our own personal Unique Selling Point. This commodification of our skills makes us aim to sell ourselves for greater pursuits, thus, pursuing an inevitable vicious circle of burnout and glorifying hustling.
Working hard is not supposed to ruin your mental health. Hustle culture is exploitative. It points towards a notion that those who don’t hustle, they cannot succeed. The pursuit of greatness or happiness or success should not be inspired by the desire of being valued at the cost of our skills. The rise of capitalism and private work ethic forces an individual to go beyond one’s working hours to produce results. Not to mention the over-exploitative unpaid internship culture only for our CVs. A constant ‘work-mode’ is a hindrance to good health, self-care or maintaining relationships. The pride in claiming “I stayed up all night to finish this..” is not only a form of ego boost, but provoking a constant competition.
Chronic stress as young adults is detrimental to not only our mental health, but to our physical health. The harms to physical being due to stress combined with our over-the-top ‘healthy’ lifestyle and environment add to total disruption. Hustle culture reduces human beings to their worth measured in terms of their productivity, as machines of money-making ability, exploiting them to their ultimate shred. The priority given to ‘working it out’ for a better future paves the way to an impending doom of our health and social reality. The replacement of human dignity with human capital is evident and surmounts an individual’s skills over their mental health.
With trending hashtags of #riseandgrind #hustle #werkit #slay, a question raised by The New York Times becomes more pertinent than ever, when did workaholism become performative? No amount of success can substantiate the lost years of relationships and health. Aiming for a greater reality whilst keeping oneself at stake, is not just imbecilic, but equally detrimental.
Feature Image Credits: Scopio