The balance between hustle and self-care

 

If you were going to get anything embroidered on the collar of a millennial pink shirt it would be a tough choice between ‘hustle’ and ‘self-care’. They are the watchwords of the twenty something, used to motivate or justify across whichever social network is in vogue. Hustle is the idea of coming home from your day job and launching straight into your second (most likely creative) self started job. It doesn’t necessarily relate to money or fame, more the idea of relentlessly improving your current position entirely on your own terms. Self-care on the other hand is all hugge, its cutting yourself some slack and listening when your body or mind says enough. It’s getting some sleep, making your world smaller, treating yourself like you are worth taking care of. But here is the problem; in terms of how you live your life those two millennial concepts are at opposite ends of the fucking scale.

If I want to be taken seriously in my career, or even on this blog, it takes a significant amount of time and effort. It’s hours and stress and not giving in. I have to be bloody minded and determined, it consumes all my energy. Everything you hear about successful artists or entrepreneurs is that they had to have a singular focus in order to succeed.

The fucking irony of the hustle is that it feels damn good. The thought of maybe getting to the end of the emails in my inbox and starting tomorrow with a fresh slate keeps me at my desk. The dream of one day holding my book in my hands makes me have wild Saturday night’s writing at my coffee table instead of Tinder dates like a normal kid. The hustle makes you keep climbing even when you have no energy left because it just feels like you are on the right path, and it keeps on feeling good right up until it doesn’t. Ambition isn’t kind when you burn out.

Then comes self-care. Stress is one of the number one killers, it impacts every part of your body down to a molecular level. So self-care seems like the ultimate solution, no problem so big it can’t be solved by an Anthropologie candle and a Lush bath bomb. Ok, slightly facetious. Eating nutritious food, getting enough sleep and taking time away from screens DOES make you feel better. Emotions are more even, life seems easier to tackle. For me even washing my hair can me the secret to feeling better (we all know that my hair is big because of all the secrets).

So treating myself kindly is happiness, but achieving something with my life is also happiness. If I wanted to get the sleep I need, work the hours I need to pay my rent and feel like I am making progress with my creative pursuits I would need around an extra 3 days a week. I have had an application in with the big guy to make this happen for three years and so far no dice. Instead I have a system to balance the two, I do what I can when I can; and if I find myself watching five hours of YouTube on a Saturday instead of doin’ the hustle I don’t beat myself up. It just is what it is.

Hopefully one day my jewellery line will be a success, hopefully one day I will hold my published book in my hands, hopefully I can manage to post on this blog every week. But if all that takes longer than it should, or I have to drop everything for a month its ok. Maybe self-care for the dreamer is just cutting yourself some slack every now and again.

P.s. I have spent this entire post spelling it ‘hussle’ which makes complete sense in my brain…spelling is something I definitely cut myself some slack on.

2 Comments

  1. April 14, 2017 / 9:56 am

    It felt so good to read this post! I’ve been struggling big-time with the balance between hustle and self-care. I teach English full-time, do non-creative freelance work to pay for my student loans, and try to pursue my own creative projects. The tension between the three is exhausting to THINK ABOUT sometimes. And then I look at other people being successful with their passions and that’s when the wine bottle opens and the Amazon Prime binge starts.
    So thanks for being transparent about it. It’s a relief to know that other people feel the same way!

  2. April 14, 2017 / 10:46 am

    This post speaks right to me as I’m in the same boat – full-time job, writing on evenings and weekends then fitting in the gym, a social life and rest somewhere in between. But self-care is just as vital as hustling to avoid burnout, so you hit the nail on the head when you say take a bit of time out and don’t beat yourself up about it. It allows you to come back stronger and hustle harder! Keep up the great work and good things will happen 🙂

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