“Sleep Is For The Weak” And “Free Time Is For Losers”

Hustle Harder lies to keep you poor, stressed, and tired

Photo by Minnie Zhou on Unsplash

Social conditioning can sometimes brainwash you into adopting certain lifestyles that don’t serve you in the long run.

A more formal definition of social conditioning says :

[the] training [of] individuals in a society to act or respond in a manner generally approved by the society in general

Capitalism and the “hustle harder” culture that has plagued me — and many millennials in my social class — provide specific flavors of conditioning that keep the body overworked and the mind overstimulated. As a result, it becomes harder to think clearly and reflect on ways we’ve been trained to exist and, more importantly, whether that training is serving us or hurting us.

Over the past year, I had a chance to rest and reflect in ways I never have before, and it shifted my perspectives into once thinking that certain so-called weaknesses are actually low-key flexes and high-key privileges.

Let’s explore.

A few months ago, I reached out to an old colleague to catch up. She texted back:

“Would love to. I’m flexible. When works?”

Her words impressed me: “I’m flexible.” I was impressed, no less because my time, too, was flexible. So much so that I started to get restless with the amount of free time and flexibility I had on my hands. I was almost too flexible. I started to question how best to use my time and whether I was spending it right or in a way I could be proud of.

Through that short text message from my old colleague, I saw something in her words that I couldn’t see in myself.

If you have the flexibility that allows you to do things whenever, wherever — you don’t just have a gift. 

You have a responsibility.

Few people know what to do with so much freedom. Few people use freedom responsibly. Free time to do things you enjoy outside of work, to have ample opportunity to rest and recharge — those are not a given. Those are privileges afforded to the few.

How socially conditioned have we become to think that owning our time is seen more as a liability and less as an asset

Having free time

A lot of us are used to running around like a headless chicken. A million priorities pull us in a thousand directions. You’re so tired to even notice what’s going on or what exactly is stressing you out.

It wasn’t until your hectic schedule came to a screeching halt in March of 2020 that you were forced to pause, breathe, and look around. The public health crisis made you confront your reality and decide on whether you liked it.

Cue the Great Resignation, which I wasn’t immune to.

In my first 29 years of life, I had been head down, nose deep in a race that I hardly knew I was running. After having stepped back from social expectations for a year now, my perspective shifted.

The flex isn’t to have your time owned by someone else, some company, some boss, or manager. Those keep you so busy, so tied up, so high-strung, that you can’t find time to spend with loved ones, much less with yourself.

The real flex is to have a flexible schedule where you can show up anywhere, any time, to do anything. Is there anything more luxurious?

A full 8–9 hours of sleep

How many times have you heard the phrase: “Sleep is for the weak.” Or “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

Our culture once glorified sleep deprivation so much that Arianna Huffington from the Huffington Post wrote a New York Times best-selling book in 2016 entitled The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time.

According to a review, her book:

“shows how our cultural dismissal of sleep as time wasted compromises our health and our decision-making and undermines our work lives, our personal lives — and even our sex lives”

We had to hear it from a media executive to start taking sleep more seriously.

Research shows that the average adult requires at least 7–9 hours of sleep for optimal health.

Moreover, according to scientific studies, sleep deprivation can cause the following health problems:

  • “higher rates of obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, some forms of cancer, and diabetes
  • higher rates of depression and anxiety
  • poor mood, energy, and motivation
  • decreased focus, memory, and decision-making abilities
  • decreased coordination, athletic performance, and higher rates of accidents
  • lower levels of self-control, irritability, and more relationship problems
  • inability to manage stress — small problems feel like much larger problems
  • lowered immune function, frequent colds
  • decreased sex drive”

Every time I get proper shut-eye, I now bask in gratitude for the chance to get the sleep I need as I know it will benefit my health in the long run.

As an ex-marketing director turned full-time writer, it took me a year to get into the groove of owning my time instead of having my time owned by someone (or something) else.

Once you get a taste of consistent, restful sleep that affords you what your body needs plus the freedom and free time, you’ll bring a whole new level of clarity to whatever you do next, including whether you choose to go back to whatever you think society expects of you. 

Thank you for reading!

If my article helped you, and you’re looking for a way to support me, please don’t hesitate to show me some financial love on Ko-Fi. ❤️

You might also like these pieces by me:

Lies We’ve Been Sold As Millennials
And what we can do about it

Billionaires Are The Enemy
Bill Gates. Jeff Bezos. Elon Musk. Warren Buffet.

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