What a GYST Day Is and Why You Need One
Taking timeouts is important for your mental health — here’s how
I find it interesting that Gary Vaynerchuk’s tone has changed significantly over the past few months, enough to almost bury his plethora of struggle porn content with the sea of a softer spoken, almost enlightened version of his former self.
Over the past decade, the idea of hustle has exploded into the minds of millennials, and those young and hip at heart enough to rebel against the idea of a traditional nine-to-five. To victims of the last recession and many agreeing to student loan debt before they’re even legal to drink, hustling became a sort of cool counterculture, a rebellion against the traditional advice from our parents and society in order to pursue that promised glamor of rags-to-riches kind of tale.
Over time, hustle became synonymous with struggle — an inevitable association because nothing in life is ever as easy as the spammy YouTube ads about making millions from dropshipping.
The allure of instant riches may result in feel-good feelings, but the actual results may beg to differ.
The Hustler’s Life
There is a disconnect between the hustler’s lifestyle and the endlessness of hustling itself. For the entrepreneur, hustling is the act of consistently showing up and existing in a state of oblivion when it comes to rejection.
However, somewhere along the line, consistent late nights and total neglect of one’s mental and physical health became part of the equation. Hustling isn’t your typical rat race. Rather, it’s the Red Queen’s race.
“Well, in our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else — if you run very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.”
“A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”
— Through the Looking-Glass, Lewis Carroll
This means working twice as hard and putting in twice the hours to make traction towards the final end goal.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than “a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis.”
While we’re aware of the common side effects, such as shortened lifespan, potential weight gain, heart diseases, and brain function, we ignore it anyway. These things are merely threats that won’t materialize until much later — or so we tell ourselves after our fifth mug of coffee at 11 p.m.
Racing the Unsustainable Race
When you’re constantly running a race against others, burnout becomes inevitable. The unsustainable schedule creates friction against our mental health while our tired body trudges forward. You become part of a self-created hamster wheel.
While some projects may require initial pushes to get off the ground, it needs to remain just that — an initial push. The entrepreneurial lifestyle is as continuous as a nine-to-five, therefore clear boundaries are still needed. In professor Juliet Schor’s book The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure, the average American works more than a medieval peasant, clocking in an extra 160 hours more, with a 40-hour workweek with fewer holidays and breaks. This number isn’t inclusive of the overtime, the work that follows you home, and any additional professional development you end up doing to keep yourself relevant in the game.
And that’s just for the nine-to-fivers. The hustler’s hours tend to be much more brutal, where most of the time, disconnection doesn’t happen at all.
To take the slow lane risks losing whatever traction you gained for your activities. Or perhaps we’ve been looking at it from a flawed perspective.
Why Slow Is Actually Faster
The mistake many new hustlers make is that they’ve fallen prey to the idea that you have to be constantly working to get anywhere in particular. However, hustling is a long game, and you can’t mentally and physically handle consistent delivery at breakneck speed for a ten-year game.
Real hustling takes time — something that we’re all mentally aware of but fail to compute. At some point, you’re going to burn out from its neverending reality. Whatever spark you initially had towards your hustle will snuff itself out in the most spectacular fashion and burn you, your mental health, in the process.
By taking things slowly, you allow yourself to gently train yourself for the long game. It allows you to put in consistent breaks needed to recalibrate and work out your next steps rather than barrelling headfirst into a brick wall with no brakes to prevent injuries.
This takes me to the idea of a GYST day, aka Get Yourself Together day.
Getting Your Life Together, One Week at a Time
For some of us, we’ve already started the hustle game and did exactly what we were warned against doing — head first and full speed into the deep end. For some of us, we’re on the brink of burnout as everything around us begins to fall apart.
You start to become unhinged by the overwhelming amount of things you need to do — inside and outside of your hustle. Your house begins to fall apart as clutter and mess surround you. You don’t have a clue anymore what’s happening with your savings, let alone have any savings. You’re constantly pushing things out in order to survive. Until one day, you wake up and find that you can’t do it anymore.
At this point, you need a GYST day.
A GYST day is not a new concept. Rather, it’s one that’s on the rise to combat the constantly chaotic and connected lifestyle we find ourselves in due to digital technologies.
Taking a GYST day once a week means that you are disconnecting yourself from your work to attend to yourself. It doesn’t mean running away from your problems but a time to gently chip away at the physical mess, mental clutter, and inattention to oneself. It means making purposeful space and time to deal with your desk, your laundry, your personal hygiene, and anything else that needs attention.
You won’t get everything done in one day. That’s not the purpose of a GYST day. Rather, like hustling, it’s the consistency that matters.
Consistency Is What Life Is
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” — Will Durant
Life is a continuous act of existing. When we neglect our mental health to chase the hustle, we neglect ourselves and whatever the result of that hustle is supposed to serve. Hustling is a consistent act of showing up to do the things you need to do — including taking care of your mental and physical health.
For most people, the point of hustling is to create a particular lifestyle. However, if we can’t figure out how to balance the different facets of life, hustling or not, then what chance do we have to enjoy the reality we’re trying to create for ourselves?
A GYST day is not about escaping but helping you create the mental and physical space needed to take care of yourself and your hustle. It gives you a chance to breathe, to enjoy life, and to sow the seeds necessary to keep yourself, your goals, and your hustle journey in check.