With social media and influencer culture, it’s easy to think that everyone is constantly on the grind and that you should be keeping up. Hustle culture seems more like an evolved form of peer pressure that results in rest shame and, eventually, burnout. In this episode, Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen confront how the millennial concept of hustle culture impacts their own personal and professional careers. Years and years of self-worth being anchored on external validation has most of us caught in a toxic loop of feeling not enough. In reality, and as research has shown, self-compassion and sleep lead to increased productivity. So, why do we keep falling into this trap? Today, Jason and Whitney open up on their own limiting beliefs and the ways they’ve been dealing with them. Tune in for more of their realizations and hear how Jason was able to verbalize his concerns with workaholism on another eye-opening episode of This Might Get Uncomfortable.
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Fear Of Rest In Our Hustle Culture
Workaholics Setting Time Boundaries To Thrive
I decided to not set the alarm to wake up and let myself sleep however long I wanted to sleep. I ended up waking up at 12:00 PM. This was an interesting experience because, on the one hand, my body needed to sleep. Not setting an alarm was something that I hadn’t done in quite some time. I don’t even remember the last day I didn’t set an alarm to wake up. Not using an alarm to wake up, I anticipated that my body would be like, “We’re in alignment with this regular wakeup time,” which was not the case.
When I woke up and looked at the time, it’s interesting to observe how my state of being shifted because I woke up feeling rested. I was like, “I feel great.” I knew I had slept and I didn’t know how long. As soon as I looked at the time and saw it was a few minutes before 12:00 PM, my state of being immediately shifted into feeling guilty, feeling angry at myself for sleeping in that long and for feeling half the day is already gone. I’m an hour away from recording the show with you, Whitney. I’ve got all this bullcrap to do. Instead of celebrating the fact that I had allowed myself to rest, I was angry and guilty. I felt a lot of frustration.
I want to touch on this for this episode because it’s a good touch-off point to discuss a few things. One, as I go through life, I realize that for as much work, time and energy as I spend sometimes healing old wounds, limiting beliefs or things like that, I will think that I’ve done all this work. There are situations where I will find myself making progress. In the grand scheme of things, it’s nothing. I slept until 12:00 PM on a Saturday so what? It’s the old, deeply embedded beliefs around hard work and worthiness.
A lot of the tentacles of our capitalist system infect us with the mentality that it’s not okay to rest and if we take too much rest, that’s a bad thing. If we decide to take care of ourselves too much, that’s a bad thing and we should feel guilty about it. It’s interesting how something as innocuous as sleeping until 12:00 PM has brought up all this stuff for me to look at. It’s interesting because, on the one hand, I know that I haven’t been getting enough sleep. I’ve been working too hard and too much. I haven’t had a day off in probably a month. I’ve been working every weekend and I’m sick and tired. I’m grumpy as crap. The one day that I decided to sleep in, these belief systems are like, “Jason, you can’t do this.”
I realized I’m exhausted on a deep core level and I’m frustrated with life. I don’t even know what to do about it. I know I’ve said this before but I’m at a point where I want to quit everything and for a month. On one level, that is probably something that would be good for me because I’d have to face all of these limiting belief systems and all of this old rhetoric that makes me want to feel guilty and shameful for taking time to rejuvenate. I need a lot of time to recharge because I feel drained every day. I feel drained on every level.
I talked to my family about this back in Detroit. I was talking to my mom and everyone back home who’s working has been dealing with this thing of their employers feeling like, “You’re working from home so we can reach you and ask you to do anything anytime. We know you’re home, your phone and your computer is on.”
I know it’s not just me because even my family has been reflecting on the fact that they are exhausted. They’re fed up, tired and being ground into the dirt by their employer and bosses asking them to do stuff constantly. I don’t even know what I want to say about this anymore. We are in such a vicious cycle of overwork and no one is taking time to psychologically, mentally and physically recover from everything we’ve been going through. It’s push and push, more and more. What’s the alternative?
You and I talk a lot, Whitney, about the mechanistic brutality of corporatism, capitalism and everything that we are under but I don’t see a way out of it other than to say, “Screw it,” and move to the forest. I’m at a point where it feels like I’m trapped and we’re all trapped and there doesn’t seem to be a way out. It’s funny how sleeping in for four hours longer than I usually do would bring all this stuff up but it did. I know that’s a lot to kick off this episode. I know that’s a thick sandwich. In times like this, what I always default to is it’s time to try new things and do things differently.In terms of fitness and wellness practices, there's no one-size-fits-all. Click To Tweet
I feel excited because I’m about to dive a little bit deeper into our sponsor, which is EmbodyMe.live. It’s an online wellness platform. I feel like there are a lot of things that I want to get deeper into, Whitney. For you, dear reader, we have a free seven-day trial and a 20% off your first month when you use the code WELLEVATR. That’s our brand and website, Wellevatr.com.
The cool thing that I’m ready to jump into is they offer EFT tapping and meditation classes. They’re specifically structured to get into feeling trapped by limiting beliefs and feeling trapped by feelings of unworthiness, which I’m swimming in and trying to figure out different ways to frame this feeling I have. That I don’t have enough time to take care of myself and even sleep in because I feel like I’m being ground into the dirt by my clients, my business and everything. I’m in survival mode.
How do I overcome this feeling of being deflated? How do I overcome these feelings of feeling guilty? When I say overcome, it doesn’t mean ignoring them or devaluing those feelings but acknowledging I feel trapped, unworthy and ground into the dirt by this hustle culture. What do I do with that?
I want to try an EFT class and a meditation class because I need some new frameworks and perspectives on how to deal with all these things. I was talking to our mutual friend, Jackie and she’s like, “You’ve been spending too much time on your own and trying to figure this out without anyone’s support externally.” It’s an old habit system of mine, “I can figure it out. I’ll get through it. I don’t need anyone’s help.”
The idea of taking a live class with Embody Me, you go and you log in. You get that free seven-day trial. You get 20% off your first month if you use the code WELLEVATR. As you dig in, you will find a schedule of live classes. They have less on the weekends and more during the week but its live classes that you do virtually over your computer. I am going to dig into whether or not I can find the right class for me.
I’m frustrated with everything that I need some new tools and perspectives from other people that are probably going through the same thing. Maybe one of the reasons why we even do this show is to share what’s going on with our lives, consciousness, perspectives and struggles that you, the readers, can resonate with these feelings. I want to get your perspectives with this whole idea, Whitney.
Many episodes ago, we talked about your challenges. Against the mainstream, your sleep schedule has been in different parts of your life. I remember you said that you’ve been feeling judged by certain people based on your sleep schedule. I know that this idea of rest, sleep and doing things that are against societal or cultural norms is something you’ve thought about and you’ve wrestled with. How do you feel about everything? I find myself strangely wrestling with these guilt feelings, shame feelings and feeling like I’m not doing enough. It’s exhausting. I feel exhausted.
I can relate. It’s interesting because I’m having a bit of the opposite experience where I’m prepping myself for the big road trip I have. Normally on my road trips, I want to cover a lot of ground each day. Also, I’m visiting national parks. The biggest recommendation that I’ve seen across the board for national park visits is to get up early because you can beat the crowds and you can have more time to explore. People talk about how amazing it is to watch the sunrise. That’s also when the wildlife is out.
Luckily, I planned months in advance for this trip. As part of my planning, I have been waking up early. My goal is to keep waking up early until I get to 6:00 AM. Mind you, I’m someone who would typically and naturally wake up around 10:00 AM. Sometimes it would be later and sometimes earlier. 10:00 AM has been my average. That’s what my rhythm is.
One thing we’ve discussed a bit on the show a while back when we were recording in my closet, back when we used to do the show in person is you found a study or something about certain hours not being great for longevity or sleeping too much not being good for longevity. In that episode, I said, “I’d rather enjoy my sleep and live a shorter life if it wasn’t significantly shorter.” You were like, “What? That’s crazy.” I was like, “Yes. I want to enjoy the present moment.”
To share more about where I’m at in mid-August 2021, I’m finding a lot of joy in waking up early, which is surprising to me. It ties into what the reason is that I’m a big why person. I have a purpose for waking up early. My purpose is that I can enjoy myself in the future. I’m also finding benefits in the present. I’ve noticed a huge shift in the way I feel each day when I get up early because I feel like I have a head start compared to what I used to do.
Now I’m up at least three hours earlier than normal. I don’t feel as rushed like you’re explaining, Jason because I know that feeling so well. When I would wake up around 10:00 AM, depending on what my day was like, I would feel a bit rushed. I wouldn’t feel like I had a lot of time in bed, which is something I’ve noticed tapping into my rhythm. I tend to spend the first hour of my day doing “nothing.” To be honest, most of that “nothing” time is spent on TikTok. You have to remind me because I always get serotonin and dopamine confused. When we’re talking about something that gives you pleasure like TikTok for example, is it raising your dopamine, raising your serotonin or both? What is it? I know you know the answer.
An act like TikTok that brings someone like me joy is raising my dopamine.
Dopamine is the chemical messenger that’s responsible for pleasure.
What is serotonin then?Everything has just become a task on a list. Click To Tweet
Serotonin is also a feel-good chemical but it’s different. Dopamine is a pleasure and reward center. Serotonin also does that, too. Serotonin is different in the sense that it’s mood and well-being, whereas dopamine is more rewarding. Serotonin is well-being, all is well and mood stabilizer. Dopamine is like, “I did something. I got a reward for this. I feel good.” Serotonin is more chill and relaxing, whereas dopamine is more of an achievement thing.
I’m almost unsure which one to use for TikTok as an example. Maybe using TikTok raises my serotonin, do you think or no? I’m not accomplishing anything using TikTok.
Serotonin is a mood stabilizer. Serotonin usually reduces depression, regulates anxiety, stimulates nausea and maintains bone health. It helps with bowel movement and sleep. Dopamine sounds a little more accurate when we’re talking about social media. Unless you feel less anxious, less depressed and feel more stable in your mood afterward then I would say it’s serotonin. I don’t think that’s accurate.
It’s interesting because I have gained a lot of perspective on social media over time. I have a lot of emotions that are constantly changing around it. I’m not to get too tangential here but the reason I bring this up is I know that I experience a lot of pleasure using TikTok. I get pleasure in the morning from coffee. Coffee is not something I automatically do. It’s something I know I enjoy and have most mornings but I can wait. I can prolong my coffee drinking.
TikTok is a little bit of addiction or maybe it is an addiction. When I wake up and laying in bed, I’m like, “I want something pleasurable. TikTok.” That’s what is going on with my brain. TikTok could cause me to feel anxious or depressed. Depending on the content, it’s rolling the dice because you don’t know what you’re going to get when you open it up but that’s part of pleasure.
The reason I bring this up is not to talk about social media. It’s to talk about how there are a lot of perspectives on morning routines. When I was looking through the class schedule for Embody Me, they do have classes specifically in creating morning rituals. This does tune into the conversation in the sense that, for so long, people are like, “Don’t use your phone first thing in the morning or right before you go to bed.” There’s almost a rebellious side of me where I’m like, “It makes me feel good.”
I don’t want to be dependent on it and addicted to it. In my life, I experience a lot of joy. It feels like a little jumpstart to my day. It’s almost like a drug. I’m aware that it’s not the best behavior for me. I am bringing this up because sometimes we do things that other people don’t recommend that we do. If they bring us joy in the present moment and we’re aware and we have some control around it. What’s bad about that? That ties into sleep.
That aside, going back to waking up early, I found that waking up early has been helpful for me because I don’t feel as guilty about spending an hour or so in bed relaxing, watching TikToks, making coffee or whatever else I’m doing in the morning. I can ease myself in more. I can get on my email before the flood comes in. It’s an ease that I didn’t have an experience at the 10:00 AM wakeup time, which I’m enjoying. I’m wondering how long I’ll sustain it. Knowing myself, I probably won’t sustain it.
Going back to this question, Jason, it reminds me of intuitive eating in the sense that I am also coming to believe that our bodies tend to go towards a certain weight that is based on a lot of factors that we can’t control but we try to control through exercise, diet and lifestyle choices. Our bodies have this intuition and this natural state that maybe if we stop fighting, it would be better for us. We usually fight it because of societal standards. Intuitive sleeping could be the same thing.
Over time, I had to push through the judgments people have on my sleep schedule or whatever it is because it fluctuates like my eating style fluctuates a lot. I have to know if I’m doing it out of purpose or intuitive flow that that’s my own and not others. I think about this a lot in terms of food, fitness, all these wellness practices. There’s no one size fits all. Anyone who’s trying to tell us, “This is the ideal way to do it.” It’s like, “For who?” Unless it’s a scientist or a doctor. If I’m getting multiple opinions and they’re all the same, all lining up and they’re truly accustomed to me, maybe then I would feel like, “I should probably do things this way.”
In that sleep episode, it’s okay with me if some of these choices shave off a year or whatever off my life because that’s a year that I’m not even guaranteed. The only thing I’m guaranteed is the present moment. If in this present moment I’m truly enjoying something based on my intuitive flow, that’s more important than trying to do all of these optimization things to please other people when we don’t even know for sure. Much is constantly changing in what we understand about our bodies.
We’ve talked about how the climate is changing so much. Who even knows that we’re going to have the luxury of living to a certain age in case we get that extra year of the cumulative effect of all these decisions that we’re making that maybe we don’t even want to make at the moment? That thought process in this time of my life is like, “Why don’t I focus on the present moment and the near future of how some decisions can add up to make me feel good?” Do I want to make those decisions? Are they worth feeling good in the future?
The delayed gratification mindset of like, “It’s uncomfortable for me to wake up earlier and earlier every day but I know it’s going to be worth it because I’m easing my body into an earlier wakeup time so that I can enjoy the traveling that I’m doing.” That delayed gratification feels worth it for me. In general, if I didn’t have that in mind, maybe I should wake up whenever I feel like it.
Jason, I wonder if this is helpful for you. I sense that some of the anxiety you have is due to some of the work obligations you’ve taken on. I’ve been experimenting more with setting boundaries especially with my freelance clients. My newest freelance client was inviting me to all these meetings. This seems similar to the work environment you’re in. I sat there and I was like, “A) I don’t think I need to be at those meetings. B) I don’t want to be at those meetings. It’s not the best use of my time. C) This is my opportunity at the beginning of this client relationship to set some boundaries.”
I wrote and I said, “I’m happy to attend some meetings but I want to let you know that I find them mentally draining and that impacts my productivity. I would like to only attend meetings that are the highest priorities and limit meetings that are lower priorities. I’d be happy to watch recordings. I’d be happy to communicate with you before and after to make sure you have any information you need from me.” In crafting that email, I felt nervous and uncomfortable. I had this moment of like, “What if this pissed off this new client? What if they decided they didn’t want to work with me?”
I realized at that moment that I was willing to lose that client to honor my boundaries because I would rather have clients that respect my boundaries and the way that I work than try to fit some mold. Also, I found a lot of people will continue to push your boundaries especially in the beginning of working together or even in romantic relationships. I’m that way. I’m a boundary pusher. I will always test the boundaries to see what I can get away with.This idea of not having enough time and always having to squeeze out every moment of the day has infiltrated us. Click To Tweet
I respect people that tell me what the boundaries are early because that solidifies the relationship. When somebody allows me to cross their boundaries but resents me for doing it, it destroys the relationship. Romantic, friendship, work environments, I’ve been on both sides of that. I want to honor the person that I’m working with and saying, “These are the hours that I will be reachable. This is what I would like to do with my time and how I will best spend my time.” It’s letting them know how we can set up the dynamic for success so that I can thrive and not survive through pushing myself in ways that don’t feel good to me.
Jason, I am curious if you’re open to doing that. Would that help you out? What if you’re discovering intuitively that you may need to sleep in late some certain days? Could you communicate that to others and say, “I’m guaranteed to be available after this time. Before that time, I may or may not be available.” That gives you some leeway. What you’re describing is your body is asking you to rest but yet your mind is afraid to rest almost.
It’s body versus mind. My mind comes up with all of these reasons for needing to get things done. It’s never fully done. Nothing is ever fully done. There’s this fallacious idea that I’m somehow going to get everything done and I know it’s not true because there’s always more to do. I need to scoop out the litter boxes, take the dog for a walk, clean the dishes, write that email, pay those bills and send in my taxes.
What I’m struggling with as I go on in life, in general, is feeling that everything has become a task on a list. Everything in my life feels like it’s a task on a list, even leisure activities. Things that ought to bring me joy feel like things that I need to scratch off my to-do list. Everything in life feels like a to-do list. It’s honestly heartbreaking. One of the reasons that I feel exhausted and needing so much rest is because everything feels like work.
Even play feels like work. Even carving out time to do something that would be considered play feels like work. I’m exhausted because nothing feels playful. I feel little joy in my life. Even the stuff that ought to bring me joy feels like work. I’m caught in such a toxic loop and I don’t know how to get out. Truly, I feel like I’m in a loop where everything feels like it requires so much effort and work to accomplish.
When I do have downtime and I do have the ability to sleep in on a Saturday morning, I feel awful for doing it. It’s almost like I don’t know where the release valve is in life because everything feels heavy, everything feels full of pressure and everything feels like work. It’s scary. I have to try new things because what I’m doing isn’t working. If everything feels like work, feels full of pressure and feels heavy then clearly I have to do something new.
It goes back to our sponsor, this wonderful online wellness platform, Embody Me because they have things that I’ve never done before. They have different wellness classes. I haven’t done a lot of EFT. I’ve taken two classes in my entire life, Whitney. I never gave it the time to go deep enough to look at some of these limiting beliefs. A big one for me is maybe I’m a workaholic. If everything feels like work and everything feels heavy, I might be a closet workaholic. I’ve never even considered that for myself. Maybe I need to go deeper into that. Maybe I need to explore what that means and what the framework of that system is inside my mind.
With these classes with EFT tapping, meditation, mindfulness, one thing I want to dig into with Embody Me and trying these classes out is maybe I have a belief system that I have to destroy myself to make life feel worth it. Maybe I have a belief system that I have to be the hardest worker and outwork everyone to feel like I’ve earned it, “I’ve earned my money. I’ve earned my praise.” I’m excited to dig into this.
If you want to check out Embody Me, their website is EmbodyMe.live. You can get a seven-day free trial and 20% off your first month of this online wellness platform. They have yoga, mindfulness, meditation and EFT. They also have empowerment for entrepreneurs and financial resources. If you want to start your own business, you want to have a business with purpose, with passion, with direction, something that’s going to help uplift the world and help people like me. They offer many empowerment resources. Check them out. You can use the code WELLEVATR to get that seven-day free trial and 20% off your first month.
In this whole workaholic conversation, Whitney and this whole belief system, I don’t know that I’ve ever put that label on myself. I’m starting to wonder how much I obsess over things that need to be done and how much I obsess over feeling bad about taking breaks. I don’t even know what the definition of a workaholic is.
I’m fascinated Jason because I haven’t heard you verbalize this in the way that you’re doing it at the moment. The way that you’re describing this reminds me so much of my sister. We were talking about this. She started going to therapy and talking to her therapist about this. I’m curious if you’ve addressed this with your therapist or, if you plan to, Jason. Her therapist was recommending Brené Brown’s work.
I’ve been interested in burnout for the Millennial generation. You’re not a Millennial, Jason. You’re on that cusp. Some of the other generations have the same experiences. I’m curious if you reflect on this, Jason because I’ll ask you the same question based on the reflections I had with her. As we were discussing her workaholic tendencies and how she struggles with rest, I remember growing up and my sister was terrified to wake up late. She felt like sleeping in meant that she was wasting the day. She was like that as a little kid.
Also, I have this memory that caused me some sadness. It was a bonding moment. I told my sister about this and we hadn’t talked about this in years. There was this Disney movie coming and I had got my license. My sister is significantly younger than me. I picked her up from school in my car and I surprised her by taking her to the movie theater right after school. I planned this whole day for her. It was sad for me because the entire time we were there, my sister was panicking about the fact that we went to the movies during the day. She was like, “I’m glad that you took me to this movie but I wish we had gone at night because now I feel like I’m wasting my whole day here at the movies.” She was probably ten years old or somewhere in that age range.
I told her about this and she was like, “I did not remember this experience.” She was shocked that I was providing evidence of her having these feelings since as young as ten or maybe younger. I remember at that time, it didn’t surprise me that she’d responded that way. I was sad because here I was thinking she was going to be excited that I took her to the movie theater but instead, similar to what you’re describing, Jason, she couldn’t enjoy it because she was concerned. I don’t even know what she wanted to do. She didn’t have a job. She’s ten years old. I don’t think she wanted to do schoolwork either. It was something else that she felt the need to do, a panic. Maybe she wanted to go home and play.
This didn’t even occur to me. I want to ask her this next, Jason but in the meantime, I’ll ask you, maybe play did feel like work to her. With you saying that even play does not feel like play and it feels like work to you, perhaps that is a characteristic of a workaholic where she needed to get home and have her playtime during the day. Otherwise, she felt like she wasted the day. It was this panic of not having enough time. This is something I’ve heard a lot of people express in our age ranges. Are you a Gen X, Jason?
Yes. I’m a cusper. I’m close to that border of elder Millennials and early Gen X.All the money in the world, all the popularity, all the fame, all the love is not going to be the thing that's going to make you feel safe. Click To Tweet
That’s a common thing of many generations, maybe generations that grew up with Boomer parents. This idea of not having enough time and always having to squeeze out every moment of the day has infiltrated us. For someone like me who doesn’t feel that way, I feel the pressure from other people. I’m like, “Maybe I do need to wake up at sunrise because then I can get the whole day and all the daylight.”
The truth is I don’t care that much. I do care in the context of my trip. Most days, I don’t care when the sun rises. I don’t need to be up that early. I enjoy being up at night after the sunsets. Why do I have to conform to that? Let me bring it back to you, Jason, given what I shared about my sister. Does that resonate with you? Mostly, as a kid, do you remember what you were like? Is it possible that you’ve been like this for a long time? Do you think this is a new experience for you?
Here’s what I think and I had this thought as I was in my own inner turmoil beating myself up for sleeping in. One thing that has been motivating me to externalized success but mental detriment has been this idea that I have never fulfilled my potential. There’s always been this background music of, “You have all this talent. You have all of these gifts. You have all these people that believe in you and support you.”
I feel like I’ve never lived up to my potential and it has motivated me almost like a chip on my shoulder but not quite the same. A chip on my shoulder would be more like people telling me I can’t do something or I won’t do something or I’ll fail at something. This is a bit different. I had a memory that I hadn’t thought of in years and it’s an example of this idea of not living up to my potential and how I’ve used that in maybe a toxic and negative way a lot of my life. I remember years ago, the first time when you and I were at Natural Products Expo East.
That was 2012.
I remember meeting Chris and Jon from The Vegan Zombie for the first time. One of the things that Jon said to me that I clearly did forget for a little while because I hadn’t thought about it in years is we were talking about YouTube. 2012 was still very much the early days of YouTube. It had been around for seven years at that point. It’s not what it is now. I remember Jon looking at me and he said something to the effect of like, “I don’t know why you don’t have more followers or subs. You’re amazing. You put out all this great content.”
I remember at that time, I had gotten the green light to shoot the pilot for my series on Cooking Channel. That was public. Jon was like, “Why aren’t you bigger, more famous and more popular?” I’m like, “I wish I had an answer for you, Jon.” When people ask you something like that, “Why aren’t you bigger?” How do I answer that question? I remember at the time, that’s an awkward thing to ask someone but it sat with me.
You asked about childhood. I have had this element, Whitney, of not living up to some potential, either my own self-creative potential or what I thought I needed to accomplish to be loved, acknowledged and appreciated. Other people like that conversation with Jon, which I’ve had different versions of that over my life of, “Why didn’t you get a better grade? Why didn’t this do better? Why didn’t the TV show keep going past some crap like that my whole life?” It’s always the same. I don’t know how to answer that question.
I’ve been fueled by the amorphous idea that I need to be better, more successful and more influential. I’m at a point where that stuff is crumbling now in a way that I’m looking at it deeper. I often wonder if I’m not motivated by not-enoughness and this idea that I have to reach some lofty goal of achieving my potential If I’m not motivated by these things that I’ve been motivated by for decades of my life. I don’t know what I’m going to be motivated by anymore. That’s scary.
We get habituated as humans, what motivates us, what fuels us and what we’re passionate about. When we find those motivations, that fuel and those passions are linked to things that are not healthy for us on a mental, physical or spiritual level, where do we go from there? Overall, I’m in a place of I don’t know what’s next if I don’t want to be motivated. I’ve acknowledged those motivations are toxic and debilitating. I feel like I’m a little bit in a void to answer your question.
It also reminds me of our conversation with Celeste who wrote the book Do Nothing, which is one of the best books I’ve read. I’ve read that and I could read it again. It’s good. It’s fascinating because no matter how many books I read on this, it’s still a tough thing to work through. We’ve had countless conversations about this. You’ve done a lot of work and it’s tough. That’s why therapy is incredibly important. Have you talked to your therapist about this and why not?
Why haven’t because I don’t think that I’ve been able to verbalize it or put it in a framework that I wanted to bring to him. In this conversation that we are having on this episode, at this moment, I’m verbalizing and creating frameworks for communicating it that I haven’t previously. That’s why I haven’t brought it to him.
Thank goodness you have the full transcript. You can copy and paste the transcript and give it to your therapist.
“Gary, what do you think about this? Take time to read this and get back to me.” I’ve never considered that I might be a workaholic. I’ve never considered that as an option. What do we do about it? It’s always tricky when we dig up studies and things on the internet. The internet is dubious. Nonetheless, I did bring up an article on Forbes.com called 7 Signs You May Be A Workaholic. I want to dive into this real quick. I don’t want to read a massive article. “Workaholism has been studied for 45 years.” I didn’t know that. High-pressure environments, overwork, deadlines and consumerism.
“The dangers of being a workaholic. Productivity decreases. Relationships break down. The stress takes a cumulative effect and the addiction can increase health risks and even contribute to premature death.” That’s pretty hardcore. “People identified as workaholics ranked high in terms of these personality traits.” Ready for this, “Agreeableness. Workaholics are more likely to be altruistic, generous, compliant and modest. Neuroticism. Workaholics tend to be nervous, anxious, hostile and impulsive. Intellect/imaginative. Workaholics are generally inventive and action-oriented. The study on Forbes said that they found that younger workers were more likely to be workaholics.”
The work addiction scale. “Researchers in this study uses seven criteria to assess the likelihood that you may possess a work addiction. Number one, you think constantly about how you can free up more time to work. Number two, you spend much more time working than you initially intended. Number three, you work to reduce feelings of guilt, anxiety, helplessness, fear and depression. Number four, you have been told by others to cut down on work without listening to them. Number Five, you become stressed if you are prohibited or limited from working. Number six, you deprioritize hobbies, play, leisure activities and/or exercise because of your work. Number seven, you work so much that it is negatively affected your health on a physical, mental or spiritual level.” Do I identify with some of those? Yes, I do. I might be a workaholic, Whitney.There’s something deeper, more soulful, that can lead to a feeling of safety and security. Click To Tweet
It doesn’t surprise me. It does a little because I’ve never heard you describe it this way but I’m also not surprised. Why do you feel like it surprises you and why is it upsetting you to discover this about yourself?
It’s upsetting to even consider it as a possibility because people who I know personally who call themselves workaholics are aware of their workaholism and almost celebrate it or don’t do a thing to change it. They’re like, “It is what it is. It’s how I’m wired. I’m a workaholic.” For me, to have a framework that may be an aspect of my personality makes me afraid. It makes me afraid because I don’t want work to consume my life.
If I look at some of these, like deprioritizing leisure activities, deprioritizing play, I barely work out, play music or do anything fun. I feel like I am stuck in this miasma of fear and pressure to get things done all of the time. It bothers me because on a soul level, I don’t think that is how humans ought to live. That is unnatural and it’s unhealthy. It’s certainly not how I want to live. It’s almost like waking up to like, “I might be living under a construct I wasn’t aware I was even living under.” As opposed to what I said where people know they’re a workaholic, they acknowledge it, celebrate it and don’t give a crap.
For me, it’s almost the shock of, “Am I a closet workaholic and didn’t know it?” That’s why I’m a little bit upset and shocked by it. I didn’t know that this was a framework I might be living under. It’s my judgment that I don’t want to be a workaholic. To me, that has a negative connotation to it because I observe other people in my life that I know that are “workaholics” and they don’t seem like they have a lot of balance in their life. They default to some addictive behaviors to compensate for the sadness and the emptiness they feel because they’re working so much.
The people I know who are workaholics make a ton of money. I don’t know many people who are self-admitted workaholics that are scraping by, interestingly. This is a small sub-segment because it’s my life we’re talking about and the people I know. People I know that are “workaholics” and acknowledge their workaholism make so much money. I wonder if that is part of it, like, “If I want to keep banking and keep making this cash, I have to keep the machine going.” It’s the fear that if I don’t keep the machine going, I won’t make all this money.
It’s almost like the deeper you go and the more money you make and there’s a propensity to feel even more trapped by it. I’m not making that much money, all things considered but I even feel trapped. I do want to bring it to Gary during my next therapy session and be like, “I had an interesting realization and I wonder if it could be true. If so, what do I do about it?” I’ve never even broached that conversation with him before.
I’m glad that you’re uncovering this because it feels like it’s a big thing for you. Maybe you’ve helped others who are reading to uncover the same thing. I pulled up some notes from that book. It is called Burnout. This was the one that my sister recommended to me via her therapist. I have not read it yet but I did find some little summaries of it. One thing that resonated based on some things you had said is that self-compassion is difficult because we believe if we stop beating ourselves up, we’ll lose motivation and become complacent or lazy.
It’s almost like this default mechanism of, “I have to push myself.” Also, from my perspective, it’s a twisted self-parenting archetype because I didn’t have my father around growing up. My mom didn’t push me. It was almost like this thing I developed, “If no one is going to push me, I got to push myself.” I adopted this overbearing parent archetype that I never had because my mom wasn’t overbearing and my father wasn’t around. There was this psychological hole where I wasn’t being motivated. My mom was encouraging verbally.
This whole thing of pushing yourself you described in the book was overcompensation for not having that presence in my life so I took on that role of parent and child trying to parent myself but in a toxic and unsustainable way by being unkind to myself. That’s real. That’s something that resonates for me as a compensatory mechanism as a child. It’s like, “No one else is pushing me. You’re a piece of shit, Jason. Do better. You’re not good enough.” I think about this sometimes and I have no idea where that came from because I don’t have, in my memory, a family member who had that persona in childhood. Maybe that was a thing from the media or society. I don’t know where it came from but that resonates with me.
It also brings me back to this memory you have from Jon saying those things to you because it’s part of the not-enoughness equation. In a way, he was saying, “How come you don’t have enough?” That’s how you interpret it and I’m sure he didn’t mean that. Jon has such a great heart. He was probably curious. His curiosity stems from the curiosity that I had. I probably said those things to people because for a while, I was in this mindset of like, “If you do this, you’re going to get that. If you do these things online, you’ll get this many subscribers.” It was this formulaic approach to my career, which I don’t resonate with anymore because I’ve tried a lot of things over the years and this does not always equal that.
It’s like that one size fits all approach. He’s like, “You’re doing more than I am with my YouTube channel but we have more followers than you. How does that work out?” I’m sure it’s not meant to be rude by any means. It’s pure curiosity. That’s why we have to be careful about how we phrase things to people because they can be triggering. I brought up the weight stuff earlier. When people comment like, “You look great.” Whether they’re commenting on what you’re wearing or how you look or what your weight is, they’re comparing you to what you were before and then you’re like, “I look better at this moment than you perceived me in the past. Does that mean that my past was not good enough? Do I now have to maintain how I look now in order to feel enough around you?”
Similarly, that plays out with work, too. It’s like, “Are you getting great results compared to the past?” It’s a big comparison trap ultimately. It’s somebody comparing you to yourself or you to someone else. That’s something I want to see a shift, Jason because perhaps that would be helpful. If we recognize that life is fluid, it’s not stable. It’s constantly changing and it’s hard to predict the changes. Once you achieve something, there’s no one guaranteeing that you will maintain whatever you’ve achieved. The value that you achieve will fluctuate.
It’s interesting because I was getting deep into cryptocurrency. I’m trying to expand my knowledge on that especially because I now have my own cryptocurrency. For those that don’t know, I have a cryptocurrency coin called the WELL coin. I’m passionate about new ways of financial well-being for me and for others. I’ll talk more about that some other time. I’ve been studying cryptocurrency, Jason and one thing I was noticing is how volatile cryptocurrency is. We have no idea. We have evidence of how some cryptocurrency has done in the past but there’s no guarantee that it will continue to do well. That scares a lot of people away from crypto.
At the same time, nothing is guaranteed. Even the old traditional forms of making money or investing money, there’s no guarantee. Maybe they feel a little easier to predict but, at any moment, that could change. We also look at inflation and how much that changes the value of things over time. In a way, your numbers on social media used to be impressive but may not be impressive now because the “inflation” of things is changing in value over time.
We become attached to our old value or our current value as if that guarantees it will still be valuable in the future but we have no idea. The opposite can be true, too. You could not feel valuable now but in the future feel valuable. I go through that phase all the time with my career. In a way, it’s comforting because it’s all fluctuating. Our bodies, minds, the planets, the economy and everything is fluctuating. As human beings, that’s scary because it feels unstable. If we accept the fact that it’s fluctuating, maybe it brings us more peace. To me, that makes sense logically but at the same time, logic is not the answer to what you’re feeling. You already have a lot of this logic. It makes logical sense to you but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to make you feel better.
That’s the thing about systemic beliefs, limiting beliefs and programming. I have found they are resistant to logic in the sense that I could take inventory of my life and go, “You are enough. Look at the things you’ve accomplished. Look at who you are, your health, friends, relationships and loved ones. You have a roof over your head. You have these things. You have money.” We can do a logical inventory of looking for evidence that is counter to the limiting beliefs but that’s not the whole equation. You can’t out logic a pattern that has existed for decades of your life.Practice listening to what your body is asking for. Click To Tweet
“There is all this evidence against it.” For some people, that might work. For me, that has not had a long-term net effect when I start to put things into practice. If I noticed there’s a situation that would trigger me emotionally where I would react in a way that might be violent, aggressive, angry and things like that. If a situation like that will arise that is similar, that would have caused that reaction or that trigger and I respond differently to it. To me, that’s a moment where I can go, “Did you acknowledge the fact that you responded in a different way to that thing that previously triggered you and that you negatively or violently reacted in the past?”
Going back to the beginning of what sparked this episode, my work is if I allow myself to rest and sleep in, that old program of, “You’re not good enough. You should be working harder. Everyone’s outworking you. Everyone’s making more money. Everyone’s got some more social media followers.” I go, “I am enough exactly as I am. I hear that voice.” It’s also knowing where it’s coming from, Whitney. That part of my psyche is somehow trying to protect me in the sense that there’s a false belief system, almost in this part of my brain where this belief system was formed in childhood, like, “If I have enough love, popularity and money, I’ll feel safe and secure.”
Talking to that childlike part of myself and saying, “I know what you’re trying to do. I know you’re trying to protect me. I know you’re trying to keep me safe because you didn’t feel protected and you didn’t feel safe all those years ago. I want to tell you, all the money in the world, popularity, fame and love are not going to be the thing that’s going to make you feel safe. Can we work together to find something that will make us feel safe and secure sustainably and not be dependent on these constantly fluctuating external things?”
If I am trying to protect a part of my child’s psyche with things that are constantly in flux and constantly changing like investments, bank accounts, social media numbers, number of friends, popularity, all of that is constantly in flux. How could I feel safe or secure in it? There’s something else then, deeper and more soulful, that can lead to a feeling of safety and security. In those moments, having a deeper conversation with myself about, “Let’s not attach ourselves to those external things. Where else can we cultivate that feeling of safety and security from within, not dependent on all that BS?”
That reminds me of two other quotes I want to bring up from the Burnout book that goes back to something you said earlier, Jason, “Joy and happiness are not the same things.” There’s a writer named Brittney Cooper who said, “Happiness is predicted on the happenings, on what’s occurring, on whether your life is going right and whether all is well. Joy arises from an internal clarity about our purpose and joy doesn’t come from within. The sense of enoughness comes from our connection with others. We access joy when we connect with others through shared meaning.” I also wonder, Jason, maybe you feel disconnected and misunderstood. Is that possible?
I feel disconnected. I feel like I have no community. I barely see anyone in person. I feel disconnected on a level from everyone in my life. On a level, not completely disconnected. If I think about it, I thrive on being with people, not through Zoom, the show and social media. All of that is a substitute. I absolutely feel separated and disconnected from people and I know it’s affecting my mental health.
It’s another thing to look at. All you can do is continue to explore this. One other thing I wanted to share from that book that ties back into the ultimate topic of this show is the author, Emily, says, “It’s true that rest makes us more productive ultimately. If that’s an argument that helps you persuade your boss to give you more flexibility, awesome. We think rest matters not because it makes you more productive but because it makes you happier and healthier, less grumpy and more creative. We think rest matters because you matter. You are not here to be “productive.” You are here to be you, to engage with something larger and move through the world with confidence and joy. To do that, you require rest.”
That resonates, for sure. It’s a practice like anything else. The rebellious part of my personality comes into play here a little bit, in the sense that if I prioritize rest and rejuvenation and I communicate that to people and they either don’t understand or more so, don’t respect that boundary, screw them. I’m not here to live for anyone else. I don’t answer to anyone else. That’s the rebellious part of me that’s like, “You’re not going to tell me when I get to rest and when I don’t.”
Maybe that’s also me talking to that taskmaster part of the archetype I created internally of like, “No, you don’t get to push me.” If I feel disconnected from my body, which I have then why would I listen to my body if my body is telling me to rest if I feel disconnected? It’s a practice of listening to my body. “What do you want to eat? Do you need rest? Do you need to move? Do you need to be still?” There’s a lot I’m coming away from this conversation. It’s to practice listening to what my body is asking me for. I’ve been in habituation of ignoring it to a large degree.The deeper you go and the more money you make, there’s a propensity to feel even more trapped by work. Click To Tweet
I know intellectually that that’s not a good thing or a healthy thing but I want to practice listening to my body. People either are going to understand or they won’t. That’s a big takeaway. I want to be a better listener and honor the requests that my body is making. Even if there’s a part of my psyche that’s like, “You’re lazy,” I’m like, “My body needs this. Shut up. We’re taking a nap.” Speaking of naps, are you in a mode of being a nap-taker, Whitney? How do you feel when you take naps if you do?
I’m someone that struggles to take short naps. When I nap, it is best for me when I have the space to sleep for as long as I need. When I took a nap one time, I slept for at least two hours so it did throw off my sleep schedule a bit. I tend to avoid napping unless I have an open schedule and I can sleep whenever and however long. I have mixed feelings. It‘s only when I need them but generally, I don’t feel like I need them. That’s what I mean about the intuitive side of it. Tapping into ourselves is incredibly important.
Speaking of which, I have been eyeing this Embody Me schedule because Jason and I are each going to be experimenting with some of the classes. We have an episode with the Founder of Embody Me coming up, which is exciting. Her name is Amber. If you have not subscribed yet and this show resonates with you and you’re curious about Embody Me, please subscribe so you get notified when that episode comes out. You can also choose to subscribe to our newsletter where we keep you in the loop with everything that’s going on, when things come out and articles. Jason’s been writing beautiful blog posts.
We make it as easy as possible for you. Everything is at Wellevatr.com, including the details on how to get your free trial of Embody Me and the discount if you want to continue taking classes. If you look at the schedule, which you can do for free at EmbodyMe.live, you can see what is coming up so you can time out your trial based on what classes you want to take and when. If you want to do a whole month, you can lay that all out. You can also take the classes individually. You choose what works well for you based on your schedule and your budget. Know that you get that free trial and we hope you take advantage of it to take at least one class.
Jason is looking forward to taking the EFT Tapping, which I’m tempted to take, too but I also feel like maybe I want to take a different class. Another one that looks good for you based on what you talked about there is a Plan Your Week with Intention which Amber does herself. It looks like she does it on a weekly basis. There’s a Manifestation Morning Ritual, which might appeal and there’s a ton of yoga classes.
There’s even Face Yoga, which sounds cool. Maybe I’ll take that. The one I’m most curious about and sounds cool is the description says, “You can bring your favorite face cream or moisturizer with you to class. It involves massage and exercises that stimulate the muscles, skin and lymphatic system to soften and relax your face muscles to help alleviate tension, stress and worry.” I’m going to take that class because I tend to store my stress in my face. I went to a bodyworker and she noticed how much I was storing in my jaw because I got TMJ. I’m going to take that class. I’ve already decided.
I have a ton of face creams and moisturizers, which I talked about in a previous episode of our private show, This Hits The Spot. That was episode eight. You can get free access to This Hits The Spot by signing up for our newsletter. That’s a great perk. You get notified of everything, discounts and new episodes of both shows. I went into deep detail on the different face creams, moisturizers and brands that I like so go check that out if you’re curious. I will report back after I take this face yoga class. I’m excited about that. Which one do you think you’re going to take, Jason?
I was dead set on the EFT but now that you mentioned the Plan Your Week with Intention, that ties into this idea that rather than having the week take control of me, I would rather be a little more intentional about how I want to spend my time. It’s the feeling of like, “All these people want stuff from me. Holy crap, how am I going to handle all this?” Rather than being intentional about how I’m blocking my time and how I’m spending my time.
It’s part of a larger conversation, Whitney, of I rebel against structure but then I realized I need an element of structure to do anything in life. Maybe I need to figure out a class called Life Structure for Rebellious People hosted by Jason Wrobel. I am excited to take these classes. Whenever I feel stuck, it’s always a sign to me that I need to try new things, practice new things and get new tools and new perspectives on how to handle life.
With that, if you want to join us on EmbodyMe.live, you can get your first seven days free and 20% off your first month. Use the code WELLEVATR and maybe we’ll see you in a class. It’d be great. I know we have some hardcore followers that are with us for every single episode. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see Nazneen in there. Maybe we’ll see Tiff in there. Maybe we’ll see a lot of our hardcore followers.
If you want to join us there, we’d love to see you in one of those classes. With that, you can join our newsletter and join our private show. Everything is at Wellevatr.com. Thanks again for reading and supporting us. Thank you for being on this crazy roller coaster called life with us as we are figuring it out in real-time together. We’ll see it for the next episode soon. Love you!
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- How Indulging Affects Your Mental Health – Previous episode
- The Vegan Zombie
- The Do Nothing Revolution: Relief, Happiness, and Overarching Goals with Celeste Headlee – Previous episode
- Do Nothing
- 7 Signs You May Be A Workaholic
- WELL Coin
- This Hits The Spot podcast
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