It’s no surprise to anyone that our society fixates on toxic and bizarre habits, nor is there a lack of justified criticism of those habits. However, one new culture has been popular for a while and surprisingly seems to have gone largely criticized, but has also been praised and accepted: the rise and grind culture.
The rise and grind culture focuses on productivity and success, but has been warped to an unhealthy obsession with being more productive, accomplishing more and gaining more success. People ignore the idea of relaxing or socializing, neglect nutrition and exercise and pull all-nighter after all-nighter.
I’m sure that at least some of those sound familiar, especially the last one. Already, I’ve heard people complain that at least you got to sleep too many times to count. It’s a badge of honor and an indication that you’re hard at work because you don’t even have time to sleep. It’s also an incredibly toxic and unhealthy mindset.
The mindset leads to real problems, physically and psychologically. If you don’t get enough good-quality sleep, it can lead to having difficulty thinking clearly, irritability, increasing or worsening depression and anxiety, and health problems like heart issues, diabetes or high blood pressure, according to The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Isolating yourself from others increases stress hormones, leads to poor sleep and depending on how isolated you are, lead to serious psychological consequences, according to Psychology Today. Meanwhile, relaxing has been shown to relieve stress and anxiety, improve mood and other physical benefits, according to Mental Health America.
Obviously, these are the extreme effects, but neglecting yourself for work ultimately harms you in the long run. It’s not even necessary to be successful, as many successful people note that they make sure to incorporate self-care into their daily routines.
Huffington Post co-founder Ariana Huffington said, “Stop burning the candle at both ends and renew your estranged relationship with sleep. You will be more productive, more effective, more creative and more likely to enjoy your life.”
Daytime hosts Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah have both said that meditation is an important part of taking care of yourself. Kelly Ripa from Live with Kelly and Ryan has said that she uses exercises as a self-care method in emotionally difficult times, according to an article from the Purple Carrot.
The most successful students I know are the ones who take care of themselves, whether it be making sure they go to bed by a certain time, exercising frequently or making sure that they take breaks to relax and interact with friends. One of them is going to law school, another is going to graduate school and three of them will be RA’s next year.
The actual way to be successful is far more simple, boring and something we’ve all heard about before: managing our time wisely. As cliche as it may be, it’s a cliche for a reason. Most people mismanage their time and are left scrambling to finish a daunting project shortly before it’s due. Managing your time wisely means working on the project in small increments, because you have the time to split it up in parts to work on it consistently.
If you manage your time, rise and grind is a lot harder to accomplish as the obsessive culture it’s become. You simply don’t have enough work to spend all of your time laboring over it, but you do have time to take care of yourself and relax in your free time.
If you enjoy the association with rise and grind, you can still do it in a much more moderate way without the obsessive tendency the culture has turned towards. Getting up early to focus and get down to work is not an inherently bad thing, but doing it in moderation allows you to take care of yourself and enjoy the success you’ve cultivated.