“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

Anandi Sen

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Much like a dystopian plot, a young and passionate 16-year-old girl full of fire has taken the world by surprise. Greta Thunberg, a teenager from Sweden has been in the limelight for voicing herself out on the issue of climate change. Dig in deep to know how she’s come into the centre all of a sudden.

Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old girl from Sweden, has emerged as a leading global climate change activist. She came into limelight after she started protesting outside the Swedish Parliament in attempts to call for stronger action on addressing the issue of climate change. Her actions led to a wave of movement which was later coined as ‘Fridays for Future’ wherein students organise a school strike in order to raise concern over climate change.

Due to her sharp words, she has gathered all the more attention with people coming out both in favour of her and against.

Amongst the people critical of her actions, there are various arguments proposed.

“She is highly divisive, while living her stolen dream pretty incoherently. She gives some people something to applaud, but nothing to learn from and emulate.” Quotes a writer on a web platform.

People talk about the rationality and practicality of actually following the path Thunberg is treading for instance-travelling by a zero-emission boat which has a multimillion-dollar expense and tens of crew just to transport one person. The idea revolving around her nomination  for the Nobel Prize is also under scrutiny by the people whose views do not resonate with the Greta-Thunberg-type-of-climate-change activism.

These people have brought ahead two key examples, one from China and the other from India.

The first example is of the “Stubborn Couple”, Mr. Fu Zhiqiang and Mrs.  Chen Ailan from Xinjiang, China who have been working on ground as environmentalists since 1983 and have planted an entire forest on their own. Working tirelessly towards their goal, the couple has left no stone unturned in giving back to the earth even when there are on a hard crunch for resources and money.

Image Credits:  Image Caption:
Image Credits: China Xinjiang
Image Caption: The “Stubborn Couple” in action

The second example is of Mr. Jadav Payeng from Majuli, Assam, who pledged at the young age of fourteen to plant a tree every day in order to treat the problem of soil erosion in his area. His consistent efforts over a period of 40-years have led to the creation of a 550-hectare jungle. Due to his efforts Majauli is free from the problem of soil erosion and ecosystems have been restored in the place with rhinos, Bengal tigers and elephants returning to their territories.

Image Caption: India TV
Image Credits: India Today

But here’s the catch.

He had been working ‘silently’ far away from the media glare and right onto field, taking action. No one brought his actions, and of many more people who are working away silently, to the forefront.

At the end of the day, it’s a conflicting state of emotions. On one side there is a Greta, single handedly bringing sudden global attention to climate change. While, on the other hand, there are others who devote their entire lives for the protection and conservation of the environment. It is not about a war between who is a true environmentalist. Everyone in their own actions is one equally.

The real question stands that what remains the purpose of this movement. Will the climate change activism boil down to addressing the following questions?

‘Is it about PR and power?’

‘Is it about name and fame?’

‘Is it about action or just rhetoric?’

It’s a strange turn of events, a unique, one of its kind crossroads ahead of many people who are wary, sceptical or all too clueless of what is happening.

In the end it’s wise to leave you on an unbiased note. What is your take, your view and your vision?Is there truly a middle path?

Feature Image Credits: Harpers bazaar

Amrashree Mishra

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“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go, they merely determine where you start”

-Nido Qubein

The constant pressure to succeed can cause turmoil in the heads and hearts of even the best. Stepping into the ‘real world’ after school is a stressful, scary experience, leaving most quaking in their boots. For the most part, individuals are certain of their capabilities till they remain sheltered by parents, teachers, friends, and the comfort of a hometown. The insecurity sets in once all this is taken away, and replaced with a completely foreign environment and alien people. Everybody has their own coping mechanisms to deal with various adversities. For many people social settings or situations, or a change in them, are triggers for anxiety, which in turn may lead to serious mental health concerns. Apart from anxiety, the foreign environment and University culture, may give rise to other stress-induced mental health concerns as well.

What follows are examples of stress-inducing scenarios that many encounters over the three years of college, and how to actively cope with them.

Year one is stressful mainly due to the new environment, foreign people, different methods of teaching, and (for outstation students) the alien city. You may feel overwhelmed by the fast moving busy life of a metropolitan if you’re from a small town. People may not be as kind, and the diversity in people may scare you. The pressure to get into college societies, at the same time, coming to terms with the fact that there are people smarter or more talented than you, can be hard. The best way to maintain some peace of mind in between all this chaos would be to have no expectations. Expectations most often if not always, lead to disappointment. Having a clear head and ‘going with the flow’ can really help in terms of relieving stress-inducing thoughts to ‘be the best’. Understanding that there will always be someone better, and that you have to learn to accept yourself for who you are, are key to staying sane.

Year two is known for one of the most important stressors, namely internships. For most people this is the first time they are interning, inducing anxiety about the work environment, bosses, and mainly, securing an internship. Understanding a work environment and how things are done can take years if not months. Not worrying about ‘fitting in’ or impressing your boss, are solid steps one can take to relieve anxiety. People may even experience disappointment upon not getting substantial work whilst interning. Instead of focusing one’s energy on what is not happening, looking at the job as a learning experience is a step in the right direction.

Year three could easily be deemed as the most stressful of all three years. Important decisions regarding working, studying, or taking a gap year, are inevitable. Watching your peers get their desired jobs/Universities may add to the already mounting pressure. Taking things at one’s own pace and understanding your own capabilities come first and foremost. Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on what interests you and match that with your aptitude for best results.

College is a rollercoaster ride, with many ups and downs. Going with the twists and turns, and learning from every up and down, will make you more self-aware as a person and help you cope better with the pressures of life.


 Feature Image Credits: Hindustan Times

Meher Gill

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Saying no to work is different from your friend’s “Abe chordh na, yaar!” and your parent’s “Please don’t work yourself up!”  This is some solid advice from a fellow workaholic who never knows when to say no to work.

It may sound extremely contrary to how the popular advice goes. Ideally, you must take up as much work as you are given, fulfill the tasks, and keep adding to your achievements. However, the practical know-how of things has proven that it is not feasible or beneficial, in the first place.
These are some circumstances under which a no is better than a yes.
1. When it is not under your jurisdiction
Sometimes you are ready to take up tasks that you are not supposed to do, just because the ones responsible for it couldn’t do better. Rather than taking the task of completion upon yourself, it’s better to teach the people responsible how to do it for themselves. It will reduce your workload in the future and help increase the other person’s skill set. Humbly give away your magic tricks!
2. When your health begins to suffer
When your eyes hurt due to lack of sleep, your immunity goes down, or even if you are unable to wake up fresh in the morning, then you should realise you are exhausting yourself with all the work. You are not allowed to spoil your body for a job that will replace you within days if something happened to you. Prioritise your health over everything else and your body will thank you later.
3. When you do not receive corresponding growth or benefit
If you stay stagnant at a place for a long time despite giving your best, you need to say no
to working in that environment. This does not mean you should say no to the work altogether. However, this indicates that you need to explore more options. You deserve better and it’s crucial to move away from the table that no longer serves you.
4. When the deadline is your only motivation
When you are doing the work for the sake of it, or only because you have a deadline, you need to question the entire purpose behind doing that work. Are you even doing it well if you start it just one hour prior to the deadline? Is your work fueled more by panic and not by excitement? Try to learn what nature of work leaves you unmotivated enough to be done only because it needs to be done. Say a huge no to that work and rather go struggle with something you are passionate about.
5. When you are unable to break new ground
Loving your job and being good at your job is a great thing. But if you’ve been doing the same thing for a while now, without learning anything, then that’s a problem even if you’re brilliant at the job. Redundancy kills growth and if you do not have the time or energy to break new ground or open new horizons, then it’s about time you moved away from the stagnant situation. You need to put off some tasks at hand to be able to give enough time, thought, and energy to whatever little amount of work you can efficiently do. Even if the quantity of your work is less, you would benefit more if you are able to do it with a personal touch.
6. When you have no ‘me’ time
It is a huge red flag if all you do every day is jump from one job to another with little time for yourself. If you are unable to indulge in ample self-care, you urgently need me time. If not, you would neither be able to understand your emotions and thoughts well nor have time for them. Remember you work to fulfill and enrich yourself. You are your topmost priority and work needs to hear a no when it tries to hamper your mental health.


Feature Image Credits: Shutterstock

Khyati Sanger

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Half an academic year is over, and now you have a few weeks of leisure before the next semester begins. How can this period be utilised for maximum efficiency?

Before the season of examinations begins, and as soon as one opens their books and readings, there is a strong urge to make plans regarding the post-exam season. The mind wanders off towards things that cannot be done then- the shows and movies that cannot be watched, the restaurants that cannot be gone to, the pointless sleeping that cannot be done, and so on.

Now the word ‘productive’ has different interpretations for different people. It can mean taking up multiple internships and earning, doing social work, spending time on hobbies, and so on. But no matter what you hope to accomplish, unless it is pointless sleeping, you should set a pattern to your activities. What usually ends up happening is that with multiple priorities, we end up having only a rough idea of what we want to do. There is never any clear structure given to things. Periods like a winter break begin with a lot of hope about what all we hope to accomplish. However, with a lot of things happening in our heads, combined with the inertia we have regarding starting a task, not a lot ends up happening. We meet a few people we wanted to meet during exams, watch the same three movies rather than diversifying our tastes, and end up saying how bored we are. It needn’t be like this. After you get done with exams, you can start by making a structured layout which should include things like the order of your priorities, their urgency in terms of completion time, and the tasks you need to do in order to cater to them. Make further divisions on what you hope to achieve the most and set deadlines and timeframes for those activities, to achieve them realistically.

It’s only through making concrete, time-bound plans that you will be able to accomplish all you want this break, and nothing is more satisfying than a period where one can proudly claim of time well-spent.


Feature Image Credits: Law School Toolbox
Rishika Singh
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People are prone to estimate their self-worth and efficiency as an employee in terms of the hours they dedicate to work. Being swamped with work is regarded as a fashion statement, a parameter to judge one’s self-worth. How did such a concept popularise and why exactly is it so dangerous?

Capitalistic forces have glamourised over-working in the past half a century. Television regularly shows protagonists staying up all night pouring over files and documents, dedicating their lives to being the model employee, solving problems, achieving feats that no one had previously done before. These people make the idea of being married to one’s job seem desirable. Have you ever seen someone humble-brag about their lack of sleep, their caffeine fuelled lifestyle, in everyday conversation? What is this one thing that makes us proud of slaving away our golden years and why do we want it? The term workaholic sounds pathetic, why do so many of us subconsciously want to be one?

Capitalists have propagated a myth that overworking will make you successful and consequently happier. But unlike what television will tell you the cost of an all-nighter is not just a cup of coffee, some takeaway, and a wrinkled shirt. Popular media will never show the real price of overworking. The sleep you lose, meals you skip, the sick days you work on, the hobbies that you don’t pursue anymore, the resentment, the pain and joyless existence that it ushers are things that nobody talks about. Is it really worth losing all this to become the “Employee of the month” so to speak?

This self-serving corporate ideology- that absolute dedication to your job is the only way to be successful is one big, fat lie. The modern paragons of success- Mark Zuckerberg, JK Rowling, Falguni Nayar and their respective brainchild’s- Facebook, the Harry Potter series, Nykaa were not the result of slaving away to a job. They were the product of a “Eureka” moment that ended up changing the course of their lives. Life-changing ideas do not come from slaving away at a desk job, they come from happiness, creativity and pursuing things you love.

The next time you see someone say they haven’t slept in twenty-four hours because of work, feeling envious, inefficient or being inspired to do the same would be a problematic response. Over-working at the cost of your well-being is neither an achievement nor something to be proud of. Human beings are not efficient machines meant to produce a certain amount of work in a particular time-frame. Do not feel inadequate the next time someone brags about their tiring work, instead remember there is more to life than work. I say- that there is more to life than deadlines and projects and, if by the end of our lives, all our achievements could be summed by promotions and raises, then perhaps we wouldn’t really have lived.

Image credits– Jamie Grill via Getty Images


Kinjal Pandey

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August, 2016

Phone rings at 1 am, laptop is on, but the plate of food lies cold despite my mum shouting for 10 times incessantly. 14 years of schooling and nearly two years of college and now the moment of truth is in front of me, standing and staring at me, looking deep into my eyes, as if mocking me silently, asking me what am I really doing ? And for whom? If you were one of those kids back in school who used to take up everything with passion, from a small responsibility of decorating the class boards, to now taking up roles in and outside college, you would understand that it is more like an obsession. To be omnipresent. Yes, we are the workaholics and we are proud of it, but of late, I have been strongly reconsidering my position.

College opens up avenues to really push one’s passions beyond imaginable limits and for someone who loves to dawn new roles, oh it’s Christmas! While the cut throat competition, deadlines, struggle for perfection and lack of sleep really takes the better of you initially, but there comes a point when all this becomes a part of the monotonous routine cycle and isn’t fun anymore. It is this time when you start self-introspecting and questioning yourself for your decisions. Do you really enjoy working day and night for things you may not really care about deep down? What is this perfection you are striving to achieve? Is perfection an illusion? Maybe, maybe not.

But deep down, a very strong feeling remains unsettled. The feeling of uncertainty. We can’t deny that many a times, when a crunch situation strikes, we miss being the careless kid from kindergarten where mom and dad could answer for that fight we had at school or when we broke that test-tube in the lab, remember? The realisation of growing up with the blink of an eye and working robotically each day, in a regimented setup, can make anyone irritable and if you, by nature are a workaholic, it becomes difficult for you to sometimes define the boundaries for yourself and you don’t know when to stop being a robot.

When all these questions and situations were striking my head, there came a moment where I just sat alone and a sudden realisation dawned upon me that time has to fly anyway, so why not enjoy every moment fully. The very next moment I realised I was running down the stairs of my room and was hugging my mom in the kitchen, who was looking so pretty, and damn I didn’t realise how much time had it been since I looked at her face so carefully, as my phone’s screen was the only thing that my face was constantly bowed down to. And let me tell you, for a workaholic, more work is like more energy, but, the satisfaction I got when I hugged my mom after a hard day, no amount of work could energise me as much as that moment did and I want to do this more often. We live in a world where many families fear persecution, they don’t know whether they will see the light of the day, and here we are, on the other end of the globe, worried about the latest iPhone in the market, those fancy shoes we saw the other day on an Instagram account and don’t really enjoy the bounties of life, the presence of a family and the significance of this temporal dimension called time.

Life is a puzzle and every piece is a phase that holds its own significance to the larger picture of the puzzle. So don’t get stuck finding the ends of a particular piece. Enjoy the creation of this puzzle by giving equal importance to each of the pieces.

Featured Image Credits: www.wetslipper.com

Riya Chhibber

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