Go get it.
Never stop pursuing your dreams.
Keep going, no matter what.
Yup. You’ve heard these things a hundred times. You’ve probably said them to yourself in an effort to inspire and encourage yourself when you’ve felt like quitting.
I know I have.
10 years ago, I chose self employment for my lifestyle. And while my situation has changed some over the 10 years (I now incorporate part-time work, teaching into my schedule), the thing that has remained the same is this: if I don’t work, I don’t eat. I don’t have a roof over my head. And more than that, I’m also responsible for my child as well.
It’s just me. I don’t have any rich relatives, I don’t have family to help, I’m solely responsible.
As you can imagine, it’s a responsibility I take pretty seriously, and I push myself all the time. Because while I love being self-employed, there’s also an instability that you have to be okay with to run your own business. You never know when something will go south, when you’ll lose a client, lose that income. So I work very hard to try to keep my clients, because I like the notion of stability.
But lately, there’s one thing that’s been echoing through my head, over and over. And that is I’m tired.
That’s followed by other thoughts chasing each other around in my brain. Like: at what point to I give up on something because it’s just not working? We’re taught to pursue our dreams no matter what–that the hard times will just make victory that much sweeter when we actually make it. But… what if we never make it?
And even if we do make it, what then? We spend some time resting on our laurels, I guess, but then there’s another goal to pursue, and off we go again. The same cycle. The same hustle.
Did I mention I’m tired?
I’ve been taking time off this summer. I went and bummed around London and Paris for a while, I spent some time at a cabin off the grid in the Okanagan for a few days. And it was wonderful. I read books. For pleasure, not for work. I drank coffee and swam and ate when I wanted, and had naps and drank wine. It was pretty blissful. Michael and I never wanted to leave.
The thing about the hustle, you guys, is that it can easily lead to burnout. I can’t tell you how many days of the last 10 years I’ve woken up with a kind of panicky feeling in my chest, thinking about my to-do list for that day, anxious about how I was going to get everything done.
And 10 years of that will take its toll. Yes, I take breaks, I take vacations, but honestly I suck at self-care. This past year was crazier than most; I was teaching 3-4 classes, writing a book, running my business, momming, managing a relationship, trying to grown my instagram… so yeah. By the time I got to the end of June, I was feeling crispy. Burnt out.
I of course feel better now, having taken a couple months off, but honestly, I’m loathe to wake up with that familiar panicked feeling in my chest.
I want to try to preserve some of that “vacation feeling” even though I’m back to work.
Maybe it’s my age. Maybe it’s the time of year, but I’m intrigued by the Danish concept of hygge. It’s all about cocooning, chilling. About finding joy in the simple things in life. Slowing down. Spending time with family and friends in a low-tech kinda way. My Okanagan vacation was very hygge, even though it was in the summer.
I also do so many things. This is partly due to my artistic/creative personality that constantly needs new things, but splitting my attention like that is also not good for me.
As I move into fall, I know I have work to do. I’m back at my teaching commitments (which is cool because I love it), and I have a few clients that never stopped taking care of over the summer months. I have a book that needs promoting. I have blogs to maintain. But I also don’t want to lose that feeling of calm.
I need to do some assessments over the coming weeks. What’s feeding me? Financially, and spiritually (even if I never make a cent from my food blog, I’ll still continue to write it because I love it). If something’s not working, maybe it’s time to cut it lose. It’s time to learn to say no.
In all honesty, I want to spend more time in hygge than I do in hustle over the next few months. And I feel vaguely guilty about that, slightly uncomfortable. I mean, what if there’s something goes wrong and my financial reserves aren’t enough? I of course have failsafes and nest eggs, but… there’s always that niggling doubt in the back of my mind.
But I’m seriously questioning what all this hustle culture is doing to us. Are we pushing ourselves so hard all the time that we’re just going to be a nation of burnouts?
I asked Gary Vee a couple years back on Snapchat how he dealt with burnout, and his response was “I just don’t go there.” I guess that’s fine–but sometimes these things have a way of catching up with you, whether you want to go there or not.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you feel immense pressure all the time to hustle-hustle-hustle? At what point is your enough? Please comment below.