From side hustles to double-booked calendars, busyness has become the norm for many. While being passionate and committed to a goal can certainly provide a sense of meaning and purpose, it can also have a negative impact on our health if left unchecked.
If the daily grind seems unavoidable, you’ll be happy to know there’s an alternative. Carving out time periodically to reassess how you’re spending your time and energy can help prevent burnout and exhaustion. That’s where your journal comes into play.
What does it mean to hustle?
Just ask any high-achiever what it means to hustle, and you’ll likely hear about working long hours, finding ways to maximize productivity, and sacrificing sleep to achieve success. Within this hustle culture, there’s a “win at all costs” mentality.
In short, hustling means working tirelessly and relentlessly to achieve a goal—no matter what.
Why Hustling Hurts
Hustling—the constant rushing around from place to place and task to task—can quickly lead to burnout if you aren’t paying attention to how your body is responding.
Ignoring the signs that you need a break can cost you. Beyond feeling tired, hustling can also lead to longer term health consequences as well, such as anxiety and sleep disorders.
The human body is not designed to operate 24/7. Pushing yourself to work beyond your capacity will eventually catch up with you if you aren’t self-aware enough to course correct when you need to.
In fact, those who adopt a “work hard, play hard” mindset have been shown to have higher rates of alcohol consumption, unhealthy eating habits, and depression.
It’s essential to slow down and allow your body to recover from what you have demanded from it.
If you don’t slow down, life has a way of slowing you down—often in the form of illnesses or accidents.
Knowing the Signs of Burnout
Hustle culture can lead to burnout, which is described by the World Health Organization as an “occupational phenomenon” with the following characteristics:
- feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
- increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job
- reduced professional efficacy
Knowing how to recognize the signs that you’re overdoing it is the first step to halting the hustle. And that’s where establishing a journaling practice can help.
Learning to Slow Your Roll
Learning how to slow your roll takes practice. But it isn’t complicated, and it certainly doesn’t leave you feeling depleted.
Journaling offers a simple way to help you slow down long enough to notice the signals your body is using to get your attention.
Sitting down to a blank page can be incredibly powerful. The open space is an invitation to be honest about how you’re feeling and to see if the path you’re on is the right one for you.
Slowing down requires honesty and the ability to recognize when you’ve taken on more that you’re able to manage without sacrificing your health.
You can use your journal as a “what must happen now?” space to solve problems and consider new ways of being. You can also use your journal to dig deeper and understand why certain patterns tend to play out in your life over and over again.
Halting the Hustle Through Journaling
Your journal is a powerful tool that you can use to check in with yourself on a regular basis. Creating a daily journaling ritual can help ensure you’re giving yourself enough space and time to rest and recover.
Sometimes the simple act of emptying your thoughts into your journal is all you need to release the heaviness you’ve been carrying.
Journaling can also help reconnect you to your body by inviting you to pause and check in with how you’re feeling—physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
But in order to halt the hustle, you must be able to recognize when you’re being stretched too thin. As you become more self-aware through your journaling practice, you’ll be able to pick up on the subtle signs that your body needs a break.
As you begin to explore how your daily habits contribute to your overall well-being, you may discover that you need to reprioritize sleep. Or that you need to delegate some of your responsibilities to someone else. Or that you need to schedule some vacation time to put life back into perspective.
In many ways, journaling helps you reorganize your life, helping to create more space for what matters most.
- Halting the hustle might look something like…
- Aiming for an extra hour of sleep each night
- Carving out more white space on your calendar throughout the day
- Scheduling a mid-day meditation
- Improving your eating habits
- Giving yourself more time between appointments
Simple Journal Prompts to Halt the Hustle
Need some help with your journaling practice? Journaling prompts can help you focus your writing intentions. Here are some prompts to use when you feel overwhelmed and need to slow down:
- What I’m noticing about myself right now is…
- Why am I feeling rushed?
- I have a habit of…
- What is the most important thing that must happen today?
- If nothing else gets attention today, it has to be [fill in the blank].
- Where is the greatest source of my frustration right now?
While it’s normal for life to be hectic from time to time, living a hurried lifestyle can hurt your health in a big way. Transitioning to a healthier hustle will help you achieve your goals without neglecting your health.
So, as you hurry off to your next meeting, soccer game or errand, remember to check in with yourself every once in a while to make sure you’re giving yourself enough space to rest.
If you’re ready to slow down and get realigned with your goals and priorities, crack open your journal and begin the process of reconnecting with what matters most.
Whenever you feel overwhelmed or frustrated, take it as a sign that you need to return to your journal to sort through what’s happening. Think of your journal as if it’s a close, trusted friend that you can share your deepest fears and thoughts with. It could save you from overcommitting yourself and feeling resentful about it later.
Journaling can help you identify unhealthy habits before they become bigger problems that get in the way of your health and happiness. In this way, journaling can help you work smarter, not harder.
To learn more about how to halt the hustle, download the Reset & Recharge Your Life in 7 Days eBook and get started today.
Information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as providing or replacing medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Author bio: STACY FISHER, RDN, LD, CDCES is the founder of LivingUpp, a lifestyle design company that teaches women how to use a self-care planning system to create more ease and better health.
She is a registered dietitian and lifestyle coach with 20+ years of experience in the healthcare industry, where she’s worked with large companies such as Dell, Boeing, and Nike. Stacy is the author of The Lifestyle Design Planner, a flexible life organizer for high-achievers who value self-care and simplicity.