Hey you guys! Hope you had a great weekend! I’m writing from a warm, cozy spot in CityFit, on a blue box and with the winter sun of a chinook streaming in. It’s beautiful and I’m loving this little break between clients to get some thoughts down on paper.
See? 🙂 Many people commented that I look comfy and cozy from my little corner – so true! Who knew a gym could be such a relaxing atmosphere. 😉
So, spurned by a few podcasts, conversations and observations recently, I wanted to talk a little bit about #HUSTLE. The business group I’m a part of here in Calgary (CBRG – we’re recruiting, too, if you fit a need in the group and you’re local in Calgary!) always joke about this idea of “hustling” as small businesses owners. It doesn’t resonate with us and we try not to use the word hustle or even “busy.” We’re all aware that our society glorifies being busy, but even more than that it seems many of us love to show others how hard we’re working all the time. Sleep? Who’s got time for that? Resting from the gym on a weekend? No way, bro! No days off, remember? Sending emails after 10 pm? Of course I do.
Search on Google under images for “hustle.” Oh man. Prepare to be bombarded!
“The hustle” is a mentality. I’m not referring to when we’re in a busy phase that sometimes requires longer-than-usual hours or when extra time is dedicated to studying, writing, or networking in favor of leisure activities – that happens to all of us. I’m more referring to the need to always be on the go – both with work and from the standpoint of this blog, from a fitness perspective. It’s tough for many to take a rest day, and there’s value on every level in our lives: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
Sure it makes you appear successful and hard working, and there’s nothing wrong with both those things. But you know what? I gotta agree with Steph Gaudreau when she says that they “hustle is fake.” Check out her podcast about that here (season 2, episode 1) to see more about what I mean, and read her post about it here. I don’t have too much to add on top of her thoughts, but I had a few ideas that floated through my mind this last weekend as I rested and chose NOT to hustle.
I’m not wired to constantly work, unlike my husband, who can zero in with a laser-like focus that allows him to accomplish a lot! I am present in my work and then like to unplug in between clients or at night, not taking extra classes or courses on top of my work as a personal trainer. But you know what? He’s a learner, and I love that about him! He’s also taking his PhD right now so he needs to spend spare time outside of his work prepping for class and reading articles. We need each other – him to help me sit down and get my tax info in order or plan ahead for my clients, and me to help him take a break, go for a walk or watch a movie. A little of both is good, too much of one probably isn’t ideal. So while I’m not wired the same way Mikey is, I still make conscious decisions to avoid the hustle – and by now you know what I mean when I say that (my husband doesn’t hustle – he plays just as hard as he works and loves unplugging too!).
One way I do that? By not putting on workout clothes on the weekend. I seem to have 2 weekend modes: go hard in the mountains in the backcountry or (hopefully) for a walk, sometimes that means meandering around Costco, on Saturdays and Sundays. When I can, I choose not to put on workout clothes partially because I live in them Monday to Friday and partly because I don’t need a constant excuse or opportunity to workout.
Weekends spent enjoying the outdoors and NOT in “workout clothes” are my favorite! I’m not one to work all hours of the night or on the weekends; I value rest and understand that my body needs it! To me, NOT wearing fitness clothes (thereby giving me an opportunity to workout whenever or wherever) on the weekends, means I enjoy movement for the sake of movement and not for burning calories or getting a workout. I often choose to walk, like I did this past weekend quite a bit, to help me to relax, to listen to podcasts, to spend time with friends, to breathe and be.
I am NOT all about that “hashtag hustle,” and this is one way I help myself stay out of the fitness flow on the weekends. Some people are totally the opposite and love a Saturday morning spin class, which is neat, and probably fits their schedules well! But choosing not to wear do-anything clothes means I’m able to allow my body the freedom to walk and move and be without any expectations – no hustle required.
I also recognize that NOT resting physically is pretty bad for our central nervous systems (CNS). Our bodies are meant to experience stress, but because we live in such a state of constant stress (think: over-caffeinated, under-slept, exposed to light when we shouldn’t be at night, often over-exercised and getting dopamine hits from Facebook likes and not from meaningful conversations and relationships within real-life communities), we are often in a continual state of fight or flight. When we take moments of pause to rest and breathe, we can help resent our CNS and take ourselves from this state of stress to a parasympathetic state, when we are able to let down and relax.
Remember how I said we were meant to endure stress? Well, we are! But we’re meant to have moments of high-energy and high-output followed by moments of rest and recovery, not by more of the same stress at such an intense level. Like Mikey does – work hard, play hard! And sometimes “play” means sleeping in, taking a drive along the coast instead of hiking, going to a movie, getting out into the mountains, or having coffee with a friend. This looks different for everyone – both their level of output and how they decompress. But it’s vital that we allow ourselves the
gift right of sleep, meaningful connections with other people, moments of pause and deep breaths, and the chance to recharge. It’s important for our physical bodies, our minds and our hearts, because how can you meaningfully enter into life with others when you’re so busy and stressed (or hoping to appear so) that you can barely sit down with a friend, with your Bible, with your spouse, to reconnect?
The hustle comes with sacrifices and just might not be worth it. But again, this looks different for everyone. For me, it meant sleeping in this weekend (raise your hand if you acknowledge that this is not the reality of those with kids and you don’t take it for granted…I do – and I love my friends’ crazy mornings because it means they have awesome little bodies running around making life joyful for them!), meeting a friend for dinner and mall walking, meeting another (73 year old!) friend for fitness talks over coffee, walking to meet friends for dinner in my favorite little community of Inglewood, joining a friend for a walk and talk (which increases serotonin – go walk AND talk to be happier!) and got lost in a big park in north Calgary wandering up hills and listening to inspiring podcasts in windy, warm weather. It was wonderful! Some weekends I want to huck it huge in the mountains (that’s where Mikey was on his annual guys’ ski trip!) and sometimes I want and need more rest.
But because others around us are on crazy merry-go-rounds, and because we adapt to what we’re living, it might be hard to recognize the hustle. Here are some helpful tips from Steph in terms of recognizing if this is you:
“Signs you’re in The Hustle:
- Feeling emotionally triggered or defensive by reading this post.
- Feeling as if the pace of life is spiraling out of control.
- Proclaiming, “I don’t have time for that,” on a regular basis.
- Making little progress despite working harder and longer hours.
- Believing that if you slow down, you’ll fall behind.
- Feeling the constant crush of keeping up with others around you. Aka FOMO.
- Being unable to sit still for more than five minutes.
- Skipping work breaks. (Or if you’re self-employed, failing to give yourself breaks throughout the day.)
- Skipping meals to keep working.
- Suffering from comparison-itis: the belief that you’re so far behind everyone else, that you can’t stop or you’ll fall further behind.
- Requiring sugar, caffeine, and other stimulants to make it through the work day.
- Multitasking as your primary workflow.
- Frequently getting sick.”
So…what can we do about it? You might WANT to put on workout clothes on the weekend, so that tip may not work for you. But you can always:
- Set clear boundaries. My spry 73 year old friend reminded me over coffee on Saturday that I need to be firm with my boundaries. That’s important for me to not get overcommitted with my training- and cancer-related activities and roles, and sometimes saying no is a way to do that. Don’t worry about pleasing people or what others will think, but set boundaries that allow you to be your best you!
- Take time to unplug. Set yourself up for success – so unplug at night (great for winding down and encouraging quality sleep!), in the morning before the “hustle” of the day begins (pun intended) 😉 or during the day by taking little walks and breaks from your work.
- Stay engaged in an intentional, loving community. One where you can let your guard down and be vulnerable, be yourself, ask for help and stay accountable to others. This takes effort and commitment but is so, so worthwhile – others will benefit from your support, too!
- Nourish your body with movement and food.
Remember, sometimes this means a milkshake, other times it means a homemade, 2 minute flourless English muffin (from the weekend – so good); sometimes that means a long run or brutal HIIT session in the gym, other times it means a walk or not even leaving your house for the day!
- Have a clear purpose. This is another post for another day, but knowing who you are and what your bigger purpose (bigger than your work and roles, even if they give you much purpose and fulfillment) is so important in not getting swept along with the top-speed river that is life in North America. Take time to ask the hard questions (and I’m happy to share a great formula as a starting point to asking these questions that we take time to do and talk about on every Survive & Thrive expedition!).
I am not made to hustle. I AM, however, made to work, but also to rest; the two aren’t at odds with one another. What a beautiful thing!
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for man…” (Colossians 3:23)
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
…perhaps I could have just shared those verses rather than the personal examples above! They say it all. I’d love to dialogue further on the subject should you want to drop a note in the comments or email me! Feel free to connect on Facebook too, and let’s live in the freedom that hard work and rest brings us, especially when we can rest in the one who has control of it all and knows the bigger plan, Jesus Christ.
Live well & be well (and practice some belly breathing today – in through the nose, out through the mouth, and repeat…),