Can we talk Hustle Culture for a moment? How did we get to this place that the corporate world was allowed to create a toxic, hustle environment and that the health and fitness industry has done the same?
I have had some interesting conversations over the past year with many different women and here are some of the takeaways:
Women are not small men (Dr. Stacy Simms coined this term and I can't think of anything more fitting.)
Women’s bodies need nourishment, support and fuel, and this varies based on cycle.
Women can build a thriving, successful business without hustling, and without leaning too heavy into the masculine.
If you need massive amounts of caffeine to get it done, you probably need to take it off your plate.
Humans aren’t robots. Were we really created to work 40-80 hours per week?
Is it a disease (chronic fatigue/EBV) or does society expect way too much from us with 24/7 communication, non stop social media, and massive amounts of expectations from family, businesses, work, community?
Perhaps, these illnesses, and the breakdown of bodies is the body communicating a few things:
Boundaries are healthy.
You have X amount of hours with full energy. You get to decide how to use them.
Simple is better. Always.
Eat enough nutrient dense food and enough calories to fuel you for your day.
Rest is vital. Don’t feel guilty or shame for resting.
A successful life can be easy and fun.
Some days you will have more energy, and some days less. It’s perfectly ok.
It’s also perfectly ok to live a life you don’t have to caffeinate up for it.
For the past 3 years, the hustle spirit that I loved so much, or thought I did, came to a complete halt.
The world shutting down was an inconvenience to so many, but it was a blessing to me. I don’t know where I would be if things hadn’t abruptly paused.
It gave me great perspective into my health and business.
What I found was getting up at 4:45 AM to teach fitness 40 minutes away at 715 AM was way too much on me. I admitted recently to some friends and colleagues about this former lifestyle, that is so common among fitness instructors. I had been drinking pre-workout, then also drinking coffee before teaching , while fasting (hustle health culture pushed fasting and I fasted my way into depleted hormones and depleted metabolism) and then I would have a latte after teaching with a smoothie.
Ending that cycle was a blessing to my health. Although, without knowing, later I would experience activated EBV, SIBO, perimenopause and insulin resistance all AT THE SAME TIME from hustle culture catching up with me!!!
That was intense to say the least.
I also found, during this shutdown time, I had gone into business with a partner that God had not ordained. After a very bumpy experience (I learned the hard way to seek God before making business decisions, even if both parties profess to be Christians), I was left holding the business (the sock brand) and the debt while the partner skipped town so to speak. Better then than later, am I right?!
Just after that happened, my mom had surgery and had a tumor removed that wasn’t cancerous, praise God, but had begun to start showing signs of dementia that year.
Stressors were starting to add up.
But, instead of doing what I would offer to my clients, I did what I learned from hustle culture. I began to work more. I caffeinated more. I fasted more. I tried carrying the sock business alone to pay off the debt while operating my private practice. That led to me traveling, doing shows, while still working with my clients in my private practice. I carried the most massive weight on my shoulders of so many things happening outside of my body, from watching people, whom I knew, die to wondering if our rights would be taken away, to grieving the loss of the business partner and the friendship, to my health symptoms feeling out of control.
I kept condemning myself. I would say things to myself like "What is wrong with you? You healed all the PCOS symptoms, your thyroid is now perfect, you lost 80 pounds. You are a hypocrite to have these symptoms again." I know, not nice. And I have since healed that. I shamed myself for having been a fitness instructor to barely able to walk 100 yards without my heart racing. I didn’t even recognize my body or me anymore.
I said so many times to myself and others "This is not my body. I don’t recognize it."
But just like a butterfly has to go through a period of change, I did too. All the unhealthy relationships were removed from me whether I wanted them to or not. The symptoms that had been just below the surface had to come up to the surface to be healed. I had to learn better techniques to heal emotionally which has benefited not only me, but my clients as well.
As hard as those days were, as debilitating as the battles were, as scary as those symptoms were, without them, I would not have learned how to know and honor my limits. I wouldn’t have stopped hustling. I wouldn’t have healed the eating disorder I had acquired from the health and fitness industry. Without the hard days, I wouldn’t have learned how to thrive in my femininity and I wouldn’t have healed my body at a much deeper capacity through play, laughter, forgiveness and faith.
I invite you to search your soul.
Do you need to take things off your plate?
Could you nourish your body better?
Are you in tune to know what your body wants and needs?
Do you need to play more?
Do you need to say no more?
Do you need to say yes to you more?
My friend, there is no better time than the present to look at what’s working, what’s not working and make adjustments as needed.
Maybe you are wondering where a good place to start is.
I would say start with these simple tasks:
Feed your body enough nutrient dense whole foods and hydrating.
Make sure you get the proper electrolytes.
Start being kind to yourself.
Forgive yourself, every day until you experience the shift.
Smile. Laugh. Hope. Dream.
If you resonate with any of this, I hope my story inspires you to hope and believe you will get better.
In what areas do you need help?
Do you recognize any of this in your own story?
What have you battled?
What lessons have your learned?
What are you most proud of?
I would love to personally invite you to my Facebook group and connect with you. I offer daily tips on mindset renewal, emotional regulation, healthy living, and I love throwing virtual parties and offering a place to connect and laugh and enjoy each other's company.
Come join the fun by clicking below:
Amanda Surratt, BS, CECP, CBCP, CHLC, CHHC