Ambitious women know that success doesn’t come without hard work—and a lot of it. But pulling 12-hour days in the office, getting by on six hours of sleep, running your side hustle, and constantly operating at 110% just isn’t sustainable in the long run. So how can you strike the right balance of pursuing your goals and taking care of yourself? Turn to Well+Good Council member and Mama Glow founder Latham Thomas, who aims to help make that process achievable, but enjoyable. Here, she shares her advice for when the hustle is a little *too* real.
Our culture has a constant message for everyone to compete. The message is clear: “If you want this type of life, this is how you get it.” It’s a linear projection for your progress, almost like climbing a ladder—go, go, go. I know many people who say, “I love what I’m doing, but I’m burning out.” Others feel pulled toward a different path, but they don’t follow it because they’ve already built up security in the path they’ve been making. And so, many of us keep pushing forward in search of success.
Here’s what’s wrong with that approach. First, it works for some people, but not for everyone. Plus, sometimes, when we’re on that trajectory toward success, we’re not certain that we even want to go where we’re heading! We’re mostly jumping from school to career—or maybe there’s a particular field that you wanted to go into, but there are no jobs available, so you fall into something. Then, that’s where you’re headed.
Slowing down is not about being less productive or going full-on Eat, Pray, Love.
Instead of thinking about how productive you can be and how you keep moving at this fast pace, I would ask you to think about how you can slow down. Now, that’s not about being less productive or going full-on Eat, Pray, Love. It’s about slowing the pace of our accelerated lives so that we can actually listen for the call within and be able to see what’s in front of our faces. Sometimes a solution is right there, but we can’t see it because we’re so caught up in drama.
The better you are at checking in with yourself, the more attuned you’ll become to what you really want to be doing. Do it on a day-to-day basis—and even on a moment-to-moment basis. Ask yourself, “Am I still on this course? Is this something I still want to do anyway?” You can do that by taking time to reflect. When we take time to do the things that we love and that relax us, we often experience aha! moments. For instance, when you’re listening to music in the shower, amazing ideas can come to you. (They might start to leave by the time you get out of the shower, and that’s why it’s good to have paper to write them down!) During that time we’re vulnerable, we’re open, and we’re in this glow zone, so to speak. That’s when self-discovery happens.
Self-care is an act of resistance.
The self-care piece is so important. In these times, it’s really an act of resistance, because everything is turning us away from listening to our bodies. Everything is telling us, “Look outside for the answers.” But once you understand what it is that you, personally, need to thrive, then you’re able to dose yourself with what you need. Maybe it’s yoga, meditation, or a nap. Maybe it’s grounding yourself in a garden, making a home spa, writing a letter, or dancing to Beyoncé. There are a lot of different things you can do for yourself, but it needs to be something you can do consistently.
Think of slowing down as a tool that allows you to see if you’re still aligned with what you set out to do. Don’t look at it as something that takes up time. Instead, see it as something that saves you time in the long run—and can change the course of your life.
Latham Thomas is a master manifestor and the founder of Mama Glow, a healthy gal’s guide to actualization in the modern world. Her second book, Own Your Glow, was recently published by Hay House Inc.
What should Latham write about next? Send your questions and suggestions to [email protected].