“Slow living” is trending for a reason, and it’s because most of us are burned out, exhausted and straight up over the “hustle culture” craze

Hustle culture came into the mainstream world about a decade ago; she strutted into our lives as workaholism disguised in a fancier, yet just as unsustainable, outfit. We mistakenly let her through our doors and just like other toxic friends in our lives, she started spreading lies.

She whispered, You’re not doing enough. You don’t have enough. You’re not successful enough. Keep going. Buy more. Be more.

Our new normal this past year has taught us to take a long hard look at what our lives used to be, how fast we were moving, and to redefine how we want to move forward. Hustle culture doesn't just affect us mentally—it promotes and encourages an entire way of life that is completely unsustainable. And we’re over it.

It starts with social media comparison

social mediaWith the increase of social media use, we’re seeing an increase in mental health challenges and over-consumption. This is because we’re watching social media influencers and moguls thrive with perfectly clean homes, beautiful meals and seemingly flawless lives.

Social media has completely detached us from reality and started an unrealistic perception of what life should look like and what it should be filled with. Spoiler: it’s mainly a lot of stuff and things.

Actively comparing ourselves to others has increased our need to consume in order to fill a void. We keep trying to fill this need with objects, but it doesn’t work. More isn’t better, and more definitely isn’t sustainable. At this rate of consumption, we’re running out of resources.

It’s easy to glorify these lives that we don’t actually lead, and we don’t realize what the exchange is.

The exchange is: more work, more stuff, less time

To supply these idealistic lifestyles, we need to overwork. Bigger homes and bigger lives require bigger paycheques. The exchange for having more stuff is having less time. We have less time to enjoy our luxuries, and end up catching ourselves in an endless loop of: overworked, depressed, over-consume, repeat.

What also gets lost in the “busyness” shuffle is our sleep, our food choices, our community connection, and engaging in pursuits that make life worth living.

The idea of the hustle or the grind is that the harder we work, the better we’ll feel. But when that never seems to happen, now what? How do we get back on track for a slower, more sustainable way of life?

Getting back to our roots and connecting

naturePhoto by Anatol Lem on UnsplashSomething that’s been severely missing in our lives in the last year is human connection. As much as social media can tell us it’s the same, it’s not. Here are a few tips to help break the hustle culture habit and slow the heck down:

  • Establish boundaries with social media: Follow people who are real. Follow accounts that lift you up, and establish boundaries with your social media time.
  • Connect with people: It’s not always possible in person nowadays, but hop on the phone, go for a distanced walk and, when we can, participate in community-based activities. Community is the key to feeling fuller and needing fewer material objects.
  • Connect with nature: Nature never rushes, yet everything gets done. Nature reminds us to take our time, and to take time for ourselves. Step into the woods, start a garden, and remember what we’re taking from when we’re over-consuming. We’re further limiting our resources and exploiting our land.
  • Rest: Testing and actively taking breaks is sustainable. The world has created a narrative that tells you that you need to be productive all the time. That you need to leave your mark on this world. But maybe your mark can be kindness. Maybe your mark can be caring for the land. Maybe your mark can be having time for your family. We leave our mark every day, and that’s enough.

Hustle culture is so deeply rooted in our systemic issues of overproducing and over-consuming. There’s nothing healthy or sustainable about it. We need to slow down and think about shifts we can make in our own lives that encourage sustainable living. Sustainability can’t be bought, and it can’t be saved by consumption. True sustainability is found in challenging our social norms, questioning the speed of our lives, and simply slowing down.