Relaxing in the Age of Hustle Culture

Even if you’ve never heard of hustle culture, you’ve probably still encountered it at some point. While it can make for a compelling rags-to-riches story, however, a hustle culture mentality can do more harm than good to your body, your gut, and your productivity. So how can you resist the pull of hustle culture? Relax, of course!

What is Hustle Culture?

So what exactly is hustle culture? Hustle culture, or grind culture, is a mindset borne of an increased blurring of the lines between work life and personal life. It’s the idea that working longer, faster, and harder is the way to succeed as fast as possible, whether it’s launching a business or shooting through the ranks of a company. Hustle culture isn’t just about working hard; it’s about working to excess, constantly. 

The rise of hustle culture has been traced back to the 1970s, and it’s been blamed on everything from working from home to the celebrity status of billionaires and entrepreneurs. The New York Times defines hustle culture as “performative workaholism” and an obsession “with striving”.

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with working hard – and there’s definitely nothing wrong with loving your job – the problem with hustle culture is in its glorification of consistent overwork in the name of getting rich and successful as fast as possible. Its insidiousness comes from the idea that every spare minute should be spent on self-improvement, a side-hustle or other financial pursuits. So why is this an issue? 

Why is Relaxing Important?

Because your body is not a machine! Humans need relaxation and downtime to continue to function at a high level and remain productive. So what happens when you don’t get the relaxation you need? Burnout is one of the best-known results of long-term, consistent overwork, but at Fody, we’re all about your gut, so let’s start there.

The colonies of billions of bacteria that live in our intestines can impact our mood, our cravings, and even our stress levels. If you’re freaked out by the idea of your gut–or second brain, as it’s also known – strap in: it’s a two-way street. Your stress levels also have an impact on the well-being of your gut bugs, which impacts your mood, which impacts your stress, which impacts your gut, and so on.

Two things happen if you’re consistently overworking yourself without relaxing. Firstly, you’re probably not taking the time to mindfully feed yourself and your gut bugs nutritious, bloat-free food, which results in a vicious cycle of harmful gut bug growth, cravings, and so on. Secondly, overwork and chronic stress also have negative effects on overall gut function. This is especially pronounced in people who live with digestive issues such as IBS, for whom stress can result in aggravated symptoms.

The Eternal Question: How to Relax?

Relaxing in the age of hustle culture can feel like a big task; it may even make you feel unproductive or guilty. No matter how much you love your job, however, relaxing and taking time for the other things you love is just as important. To find space to step away, relax and unwind, you can:

  • Assess your working habits. Do you regularly put in extra work outside of your normal hours? Do you feel overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do? Do you regularly skip breaks? 
  • Talk to your boss about how you feel. Whether it’s your workload or your company culture, constantly working to excess is a danger sign that needs to be flagged.
  • Schedule time for what matters. When it’s time to close the laptop and go, you can feel good about taking a break knowing that your life also includes friends, family and hobbies!
  • Make time for self-care. Whether it’s sleep, exercise, meditation, yoga, or taking the time to prepare gut-healthy, bloat-free food, taking care of your body is the best way to make sure it continues to perform at its best–whatever that means to you!

To learn more about relaxation and gut health, check out our blog, and visit our recipes to find more ways to take care of your gut every day! From all of us at Fody, relax – you’re worth it! 

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