Written by Leslie Stevens, M.Ed., LCMHC
I started working when I was 15 years old. I have held at least two jobs simultaneously since I started working. I haven’t always known the value of a dollar. My value was in making money, and since the age of 15, I purposed to do just that. I made many mistakes with money: squandered it, lost it, misunderstood it, went into debt despite having enough for all of my needs and some of my wants.
This year, my personal hustle culture narrative had to be dismantled. I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease in February of 2020. I was hospitalized for complications in August 2020. I had to slow down tremendously. At first I rejected it, then I embraced it. I declared that everything I did needed to be done from a posture of rest. I believed that God was calling me into deeper rest and trust in Him. Therefore, I could no longer rely on my own hustle culture conditioning to get me to that next level. Rest, for me, means healing, sleeping, slow intentional movement, reflection, contemplation, and most of all trust in my Higher Power. But recently, I’ve been grieving the loss of my personal grind culture.
I used to get 6 hours of sleep, drink two cups of coffee per day — black. When I worked in retail, I would zip around Banana Republic checking on my employees and clientele like a squirrel on speed. When I started my practice, I outlined eight therapy slots per day in my planner, I prayed and set intentions and worked until I filled all eight of those daily slots (4x per week). This is the first time since I started working that I’ve had to slow down and rest. I know the research, I know the benefits. Rest and balance are better than extreme over-working any day. I believe that I got sick because I was horribly out of balance and years of stress took a toll on my immune system.
But here recently, I’ve wanted nothing more, than to pull up at a Starbucks, get a grande red eye coffee, and seize the freaking day. Right now, I’m lamenting over relinquishing grind culture. I know that rest, balance, and my overall health are much more important. As I explained to my therapist, there is a fallacy that my brain just wants to believe right now: extreme productivity will give me what I want. This isn’t my truth, again, it’s a fallacy. But for those of you who are also trying to give up the hustle culture narrative, I hear you, I feel you. Rest and balance are much better companions, but I have to be patient on this journey for the pay off.