On Hustle, Wellness, and Hustling-Well

Hi. My name is Iyore, and I have suffered from sleep guilt. 

It has everything to do with Hustle Culture vs. Wellness Culture. With enthusiasts firmly set in one of the two camps, I see the strengths and merits in both. I grapple with how to create the winning balance between both lifestyles.

Hustle culture, according to the New York Times, is the societal standard that says you can only succeed by exerting yourself at max-capacity professionally. As a result, full nights of sleep are an anomaly to me. During those rare occasions, I lay in bed wondering what would happen if I took my foot off the gas. Who would look out for me? The path to ultimate success and career growth can seem undefined for a woman in the hyper-competitive industry of tech.

Wellness culture, on the other hand, promotes a balanced lifestyle, focused on physical and emotional wellness. It’s “self-care.” I cannot deny how great I feel, inside and out, when I exercise, sleep, and eat the way I should. My work calls for me to be perceptive and strategic, requiring a clear and alert mind.  The clearest path to that is rest. I am a better person and professional when I take care of myself.

It's all connected, right? If I don’t sleep, I am less effective in professional commitments. When I sleep “too” much, I accomplish less and risk missing out on opportunities. So with an understanding of how each has an impact on my life,  I have decided to strike a balance.

I have decided to Hustle-Well. Here are a few ways how:

  • Hustle and wellness sprints. There are some weeks that I know are going to be busier than others. In the weeks leading up, I maximize rest and “me time.” While medically speaking, it is impossible to “store” sleep, I still feel better knowing that I am fresh off TLC and proactively fighting burnout.
  • Make my sleep count. I used to fall asleep with the lights on, behind my laptop, phone in hand, and to-do list at the top of my mind. That wasn't great, and I realized how I sleep is just as important as how much I sleep. I now turn off the lights, clear my bed, meditate to clear my mind with a few deep breaths, and inform my body it’s time for sleep. 
  • Catch the redeye. When I travel for work or personal leisure I typically choose red-eye flights. For some reason, I can’t stay awake while in flight (even if I have a good night's sleep). Day travel, for this reason, feels like a time suck, since I am unable to use the time to my advantage. A red-eye flight allows me to get to sleep in air and spend my day on the go once I land. 
  • Intermittent rest. If I can't sleep because Hustle is calling, I will lay down on my mattress for a bit and just breathe or sneak in a series of naps throughout the night. Taking a second to unwind is essential, and I am most comfortable in my bed. If I do drift into a slumber that lasts longer than I planned, I embrace it and give myself a break. 
  • Nights in. Nothing’s better than a Friday night in my bed. I check the FOMO at the door and take the time I have waited for all week long. I find the night that demands the least of me and unplug. 

That’s how I’ll be listening to my gritty, ambitious self posted up on my left shoulder, while also consulting the wellness guru yoga-posing on my right shoulder. What will you do to find a balance?

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Iyore N. Olaye
Iyore N. Olaye

Iyore N. Olaye is a product expert who creates technology solutions at top consumer technology startups. Iyore was named to two Forbes 30 Under 30 lists and has received the attention of major media outlets and publications, including Entrepreneurship Magazine, Forbes, BET, Mic, and more. As an advocate for women and underrepresented minorities in Science Technology Engineering and Math (S.T.E.M.), Iyore shares her personal and technical journey to inspire and motivate others.

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