How To Honor Your Mental Health In A 24/7 Hustle Culture
At Office Hours, mental health is a year-round conversation; not a buzzword that falls in and out of trend. And, the more we talk about the hurdles we experience as self-starters, the less alone we will feel.
“Sometimes, those who speak about mental health don’t want to give off that persona that they’re weaker,” explains Tiffany Elise, coach, mental health advocate, and blogger of Becoming Elise. “Unfortunately, the discussion around mental health has that negative stigma. If someone wants to discuss their anxiety, depression, or any other mental illness that they have, society can say they’re not strong enough or they’re not [cut] out for this. And, as a self-starter, you don’t [want] to feel like you’re not [cut] out for this.”
I am so grateful that Tiffany took some time out of her busy schedule to unpack the complicated relationship self-starters have with mental health. But, make no mistake, we’re only scratching the surface here. For more resources and guidance, please reach out to a licensed professional or callSAMHSA’s National Helpline: 1–800–662-HELP (4357). And, please know I’m sending you a big virtual hug. I have your back!
Know When To Pump The Brakes
As self-starters, we often fall victim to the 24/7 hustle culture. We put so much pressure on ourselves to make a lot of money, have tons of clients, and work around the clock. And, to be honest, it makes a lot of sense. When it comes to our businesses, we get what we put into them, and don’t we all want to be the best? However, pushing ourselves too much can wreak havoc on our mental health. That’s exactly why Tiffany says it’s so important to watch out for those burnout warning signs.
“A tell-tale symptom is feeling more anxious and worried than normal, or starting to feel really unhappy,” she explains. “I battled depression, so I know when my depression is stagnant and it’s just actually [that] I’m really unhappy.”
Other signs to look out for are an out-of-whack sleep schedule, irregular eating habits, and feeling withdrawn from your personal relationships and hobbies. Okay, but then what? Tiffany says that if you start to notice these symptoms, reduce the amount of work on your plate or take a day to decompress.
“You can’t pour into anyone else’s cup, or pour into anything, if there’s nothing in your cup,” she adds.
Move Your Body
Whenever I have a day packed with deadlines, I’ll rarely get up from my desk. Sure, I might squeeze in a quick, 30-minute spin session on my indoor bike, but I barely move otherwise. (And, I definitely don’t go outside.) Moving your body or going for a walk might seem like a waste of time — especially if you’re overwhelmed with assignments — but it does make a difference. After all, how can your business thrive if you don’t take care of its CEO?
“It’s also really important to eat well, drink a lot of water, and get fresh air,” Tiffany says. “With a pandemic, a lot of us are working remote [and] staying inside. That definitely has an effect on your mental health because [if] you’re not moving, your body is not producing any endorphins.”
Be Honest With Yourself
In today’s hustle culture, it’s all too easy to blur the line between “busy season” and “burnout” — and ignoring how you’re feeling does your mental health zero favors. When you are your own boss, there’s this unique pressure to appear as if you got it together all of the time; that you’re thriving even though you really feel like you’re drowning. That’s exactly why Tiffany says it’s so important to be honest with yourself.
“You may not want to share that with your client, but at least be honest with yourself,” she says. “Know that you’re not okay if you’re not feeling okay, what’s making you not feel okay, and how can you make yourself feel okay.”
Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask yourself how you’re really doing. Can you identify the root of your anxiety or stress? What boundaries can you establish in the future? And, most important, what do you need right now? (Psst…you don’t even have to wait until you’re feeling anxious, stressed, or unlike yourself. Check in with yourself on a regular basis!)
Take A Break
Up until recently, I would rarely take breaks. I’d wake up early and go to sleep late because I never wanted to let any clients down. But, after spending a few too many days running on fumes, I realized I needed to give myself some TLC. After all, I’m a big believer in doing my job right — even if that means I’m a little behind schedule — and it’s impossible to deliver when I’m feeling like a living, breathing zombie.
“The American Dream has drilled that work hard, play hard mentality into us,” Tiffany says. “But, you can also work hard and rest hard. It’s okay to rest! Society tells us that we have to just be grinding 24/7 and, unfortunately, that can really deplete you.”
Do yourself a favor and carve out some time to take care of you. Take a nap! Watch Netflix! Meditate! Stepping away from your laptop will allow you to come back to work with a clear mind and revived ambition.
A huge thank you to Tiffany for such an important and insightful conversation! You can give Tiffany some love by following her on Instagram and checking out her website. (Pro tip: Sign up for one of her discovery calls or subscribe to her newsletter!)
Hustler of the Week: Ashlene Nand
What inspired you to become your own boss?
I’ve always been inspired by entrepreneurship. I guess that comes from being an immigrant family and trying to build something out of nothing. It’s not easy because we are conditioned by society that we need that regular paycheck. I have a 20-year career in marketing and there were times I left the 9–5 to do consulting and sell my own services. That took a lot of courage and mental training. Every day, I would have to hype myself up! Like, you got this! Otherwise, the self-doubt would creep in and next thing you know, I’d be applying for jobs on LinkedIn without even realizing it. I’m still not completely there yet, but it’s a work in progress.
What is your favorite part about being your own boss? Least favorite?
My favorite part is knowing I don’t need to wait for anyone to make a decision. My least favorite is that I don’t have the structure and team around me. I like being accountable to people. When I’m accountable to myself, I tend to be too relaxed.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since becoming your own boss?
There isn’t one version of success. Success is a daily goal. “How were you successful in your day?” is more meaningful than “Are you successful at your business?” The latter can be overwhelming.
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