With how busy work has kept me, every post I put up on here has started to look similar. Maybe because I’ve run out of ideas or I have more to say. But now that we’re here let’s talk about it.
I keep mentioning how difficult the pandemic has been for me mentally, and while I am glad that I can find ways to stay busy, I’ve understood that taking on too much has also contributed to my poor mental health. I was recently working on an article for work, and it made things blatantly clear for me. Without giving away too much, I was writing about how hard a lot of us are on ourselves.
And this isn’t just for work, regardless of whether we write, sing, draw, or whatever, we’ve learned to put immense pressure on ourselves because we believe we can do better. While there’s nothing wrong with that, in my case, it has done more damage than good.
Before we go any further, let’s talk about Landslide. I wrote that not too long ago to talk about myself [Big surprise]. But while I was drafting this particular post, it made me think about, and question so many things. Most of all, it made me think about how I conduct myself.
The one thing that remained constant was the need to keep writing. Not only because I had something to prove to myself, but also because I had somehow found a way to romanticize overworking. However, it was this constant need to write that eventually led to me having an ill-timed meltdown. It’s ridiculous now that I think of it, but I started panicking because I didn’t have the time or the energy to write. Work was taking over, and I could see my blog take a backseat. And for some reason, this affected me so bad that I had to take a few days off, to find a way to calm myself down.
Dramatic? Sure. But it also made me understand, that while hustling can be admirable, consistently pushing yourself without leaving any room for you to destress, or relax is worrisome. And yet, I still fall prey to this, because I’m not doing enough.
You’re Missing Out
I’ve mentioned the need to churn out blogs and the unnecessary pressure I put on myself time and again. But let’s dig in deeper and see why that backfired on me.
Hustle culture has a massive impact on how we portray ourselves on the internet and in real life. For most of us, pushing ourselves to do various things often helps. Not only do you get to be the Jack of all trades, but it also helps improve the skills you’re picking up. However, for some of us, it’s a lot more than improving our skills, it’s about this need to push for perfection.
I’m not trying to call anyone out. You are allowed to do whatever you want to, but from my experience, I’ve realised that I’m slowing chiselling away pieces of myself. While a few people I knew were thriving due to the grind, I couldn’t keep up. And instead of stepping aside, knowing I don’t want to deal with it, I decided to push myself harder. And that is where things went downhill quick.
Do I think that hustle culture is self-destructive?
In my case, it 100% was. Instead of understanding what I can and can’t do, I let it harness all this self-doubt and self-hatred in me. Not worth the trauma. I still get anxious thinking about doing better at work or for the blog, to the point where I’m silently crying while I frantically look for things to write about. I mean, I scraped the bottom of the barrel for this one. And while I write about and talk about being enough, I’m having difficulty believing it myself.
And not only have I been stuck with my extremely sad existence during the pandemic, but I’ve also been dealing with another situation called FOMO. All of us know what it is, I’d go as far as to say that it is very 2018, and even then it’s a reach.
But in this instance, the fear of missing out was regarding picking up a hobby or keeping up with the expectations many had on social media from us. In How I’m Surviving This Lockdown, I’ve talked about how stressful certain memes have been. Not only were they shaming people for not doing much during the pandemic, but it also increased stress and self-loathing for many, including me.
Along with feeling miserable about not doing enough in 2020, when I did end up achieving various personal goals – it didn’t make me feel any better. We’ve obsessed over completing something so much that when we get there, it feels more like a task on our to-do list instead.
While I was very excited about being more consistent with content for Funky Poet, it started affecting me at regular intervals. I wouldn’t say it’s a habit, but I decided to post content twice every week. And sure, to most people, it would seem easy seeing how they assume I churn out content regularly, but it didn’t seem that way at all.
Sure, I had content for like the first month, but then everything I wrote about felt the same. And after weekly mental breakdowns and anxiety attacks, I wasn’t having fun doing the one thing I loved. So while this habit seemed to be a good thing, I ended up being wary of writing and the joy it brought me. I say that because I did eventually get busy enough to avoid putting out content on here, but even then, occasionally working on it has given me more anxiety than I’d like.
Along with coming up with more topics, I’ve been worrying about what my audience would like rather than sticking to being authentic. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, there are moments where I do feel like an imposter. A part of me wants to keep things authentic and treat it like my virtual diary, but another part of me wants validation, compliments, and more.
But let’s ignore my first world problems for a bit and talk about how being comfortable seems like a bad thing. We’re so accustomed to pushing ourselves to the point of no return, that slowing down or staying where we are for a bit is never an option. Not only do we hear it from people around us, but most importantly, we feel that way. And that happened to be the last nail in the coffin for me.
Easy From Now On
While I enjoyed pushing myself all coffee’d up and on very little sleep, I cherish what I have now. Not only does it feel like I’ve found the right balance between kicking it back and working – but I also understand how much I can take on. So while it may seem like I’m lazy, comfortable, or not curious enough, what I truly am is content.
And sure, it doesn’t have to be this way for everybody, but it is essential to understand that it’s okay to take it slow. This hustle culture has made unhealthy habits incredibly attractive. It’s like staying in a toxic relationship, despite knowing how harmful it is for you. And it’s alright if some of us don’t feel this way. I’ve come to realise that I don’t want any part of this.
In Expectations Vs. Reality, I dig deep into what happens when we have all these expectations, yet nothing comes out of it? It’s alright to assume things will go the way you want, but it’s short-sighted if you don’t prepare for various outcomes.
Your expectations don’t necessarily have to mould you or your life. They might not even become a reality, but what you do beyond this point, is solely on you. The inability to find the right balance between your aspirations and real life will not only demotivate you but in some instances can inflict a lot more damage.
And this may seem like I’m grasping at straws for just anything to write about, but despite still struggling with finding that balance, I needed to pen it down. I’ve come incredibly close to pushing myself creatively to the point of no return. And even then, it feels like I’m not doing enough. And here’s what I’ve come to understand.
It’s okay for people to expect different things. I may be a writer, but I don’t have to aspire to be a novelist, screenwriter, a script doctor, or more. Sure, other writers might want to go down that path, but it’s not something every single one of us has to do. And it may seem like I’m trying to stick to what I do best, but if I can achieve what I want to, without stretching myself a little too thin, then why shouldn’t I?
TDLR; Pushing yourself too hard has its Pros and Cons, but that doesn’t mean that you will always get the result you’re looking for. Being comfortable or lazy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You need to understand what works best for you and go with it.
What’s your take on hustle culture? Have you experienced FOMO during this pandemic? Let me know below!
And if you’re into my incredibly long ramblings, then you can find more of those here!