When the Hustle goes Haywire
10 steps to avoiding burnout and setting healthy boundaries
There is a fine line between the hustle and burnout. Do you know where your line is? If we’re not paying close enough attention, it can get blurry, go unnoticed, and be detrimental to our physical, mental, and emotional wellness.
A healthy hustle keeps you challenged, stretches you, and brings fulfillment and purpose. When we find meaning in our work, in a cause, or we are passionate about an idea or project, it’s easy to get into the flow, and time escapes us. We look to move beyond our comfort zones, we see moments of failure as a learning opportunity, and we effectively balance work and play (most weeks!). By setting the right boundaries and intentionally building in time for regular recovery, the hustle can be exhilarating, inspiring, and full of potential. A hustle can stay healthy if it continues to fuel energy and we are present enough to give our body and mind what they need.
The hustle can turn toxic when you don’t set boundaries for yourself. It can turn toxic when your work begins to define you and becomes your identity. It can turn toxic when you start to feel a loss of control. It can turn toxic when you lose perspective and subscribe to society’s definition of success. It can turn toxic when you buy into busy. It can turn toxic when you prioritize work over health, over connection with family and friends and over your values. Before you know it, you’ve crossed your line. You start to feel resentment, exhaustion, perhaps physically ill. You are easily triggered and make poor choices. You are experiencing burnout.
Here are 10 steps to setting healthy hustle boundaries to build resilience:
1. Listen to Lead
Get present. Check-in with yourself regularly. Listen to your body and recognize and understand how your body responds to stress physically, emotionally, and mentally. Get to know where your line is and give your body and mind what it needs to recover. Breathe.
2. Sleep is the new Black
Sleep is foundational to our overall well-being. When we get enough sleep, we eat better, have more energy for physical activity and make better food choices. Eat well and sugar-free. Drink lots of water. Repeat.
3. Stay Anchored in your Values
Your values are the GPS of your life. The moment you begin to compromise your values is the moment you take the wrong turn and head down the wrong path. Reflect regularly on what you are doing to honor your values and course correct as necessary.
4. Manage your Energy, more than your Time
Energy is our most important currency, be careful where you’re spending it. Focus on taking time for recovery and to recharge. Notice and engage in moments, activities, and people who give you energy and say no to what drains your energy. Practice gratitude.
5. Connect Daily
It’s easy to move from screen to screen with a whole day passing by, and you haven’t made any face-to-face contact with another human being. Build in time to connect with family and friends. Make eye contact, get present, and disconnect to reconnect.
6. Focus on what is in your Control
Stay focused. Every day we are faced with decisions. Even on days when you think you don’t, you always have a choice. You are in control of making a change. Don’t subscribe to drama, playing into busy and caring what other people think. Show up with courage. Get comfortable saying “no” or “not today.”
7. Develop a “Solution-First” Mindset
The way we speak to ourselves matters. Instead of saying” “I can’t,” “It will never work,” “It’s impossible” etc. Start with: “How can I make this work?” “I will try my best” This will give you the space to become more open to possibilities.
8. Conduct a “Should Detox”
We tend to make a long list for ourselves of things we “should” do. And end up feeling guilty when we don’t do them or feel we haven’t done enough. Replace “should” with “I will.” Identify 1-2 things you “will” fully commit to at a time. Let go of the rest.
9. Get Moving
Engage in some type of physical activity of your choice daily. Even fifteen minutes of walking outside and getting fresh air will make a difference.
10. Keep Learning
Make time for learning. Continuously challenge your mind and seek to learn something new and gain new perspectives. Share your knowledge with others and pay it forward. Give yourself permission to fail and treat it as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Do you have a Mental Wealth Plan?
Prioritizing our well-being requires us to be intentional about building a Mental Wealth Plan. We focus on building our “financial wealth” over time; however, our “mental wealth” is just as critical. Consider how you can bring the right activities and ingredients to your mental diet that allow you to rest, reflect, recover and recharge. Your health and relationships will thank you.
Wellness radiates from the inside out. Identify your line and listen to it. When you find yourself getting too close, pause and pull back. Your well-being depends on it!
— Originally published in Thrive Global