Everywhere we turn, people are pressured to do something productive. It is amazing to learn a new language, be a master chef at home, write another book, get everything in your to-do list done. But to what extent are we going to push ourselves to be productive? Is the quantity of work we do what defines our worth?
Even as we head to bed, we sleep thinking of our to-do list or feeling guilty that we weren’t productive enough. Being productive is great. But there is a line between healthy and toxic productivity.
Toxic productivity is an obsession with self-improvement; it forces us to set an unachievable goal and keep a high standard for ourselves; it causes burnout and stress, and leads to sleep-deprivation. Normal routines like sleeping, eating, social gatherings become a source of guilt. Many teens may believe being productive all the time is important but this easily results in toxic productivity, eventually leading to physical and mental well-being damage.
So, are you involved in toxic productivity? Here are few signs of toxic productivity:
You are not to blame for engaging in toxic productivity, as numerous factors around us influence us largely. Hustle culture is to blame; it is all about how “busy” you are. It forces 5:00am to 1:00am lifestyle with every minute being spent in something productive. Hustle culture programs the idea of “break is for the weak” in us. It makes us glad when we juggle millions of work at once.
I loved the hustle I had. I was proud of how much I could juggle at once. It soon took a turn. I was more than tired. My muscles were tense. I lost my concentration level and had constant breakdowns. Constant breakdowns and my inability to work like before made me realise I needed to take care of myself. I needed a break, needed to look after myself. I came across a podcast about working less and relaxing more, which helped me a lot.
There were a few changes I brought. I set up rules for myself - no work after dinner, go on walk, very limited work on weekends, etc. One change I brought in was “makeover of my to-do chart”. Rather than piling up all the work I needed to do in one sheet in Excel, I made a “Important, Urgent” chart. I created four different sheets titled as; “Important & Urgent”, “Important but not Urgent”, “Urgent but not Important” and “Not important & Not urgent”. It has helped me classify the time I will be dedicated to a particular work. In addition to the sheets, I created another sheet called “REMINDER”. This sheet reminds me to take a break, take a deep breath - just about anything I may not do while working. This technique was mentioned in the podcast and was taught during a leadership training I had attended. It has been really helpful!
There are multiple ways to help toxic productivity. Here are few:
Toxic productivity isn’t glamorous. Being sleep-deprived, working for over 12 hours with no break, not eating healthily, avoiding social events to work, forcing yourself to be “productive” and frowning upon self-care have nothing glamorous in them. We need to stop glamorizing toxic productivity.
The quantity of work you do doesn’t define your worth.
Take a deep breath.
You got this.
TW:MENTION OF SELF-HARM
“I cannot do anything good,”, “Nobody loves me,”, “I am useless,”, “I deserve nothing.”
Familiar, aren’t they? We often throw these very sweet words to ourselves. For some, these words are harsher and louder. This very subtle form of criticism is termed as emotional-self harm.
Self-harm is often associated with intentional physical harm, like cutting and burning, by most people. But self-harm isn’t just limited to physical harm. Unhealthy and self-destructive behaviors that are intentional and non - intentional are with emotional self-harm. Emotional self-harm is as destructive as physical self-harm. Emotional self-harm is tied to the past events that occurred in childhood or adolescence. It also occurs when emotional needs aren’t met.
Individuals engage in emotional self-harm to distract or punish themselves. It is also a way to express pain. Emotional self-harm usually goes unnoticed. We often mistake emotional self-harm as our inner critic.
Here are few signs and symptoms:
Emotional self - harm comes in various forms. It ranges from becoming our worst enemy to engaging in toxic relationships and friendships.
“Edan was emotionally and verbally abused as a result they:
We fail to acknowledge emotional self-harm. It wasn’t until I scrolled upon a post on Instagram about emotional self-harm that I had the chance to acknowledge it. I realised my inner critic wasn’t really helping me. The post gave me an opportunity to reflect on myself.
Loneliness is addictive. I had withdrawn from social activities to stay alone. I was belittling myself and achievements. I wouldn’t be happy when I achieve something or push myself to meet very high, unrealistic expectations. I had thoughts of harming myself and engaging in behaviors that are harmful for me in the long run. I cannot say I am over it and do not indulge in emotional self-harm, but I am improving. Emotional self-harm has taught me a lot.
Acknowledging my success has made a great impact! Even if it is small, I congratulate myself for it! Got out of bed? Took a shower? Awesome! Completed our goals? Keep going!
I reflect and think about one thing that made me proud of myself. I take time out for myself. I go out on walks. I am fulfilling my body’s needs!
Music has always helped me! It is my way to self-soothe! I listen to Blue & grey by BTS when I am feeling down!
Coping strategies for everyone is different! Try out different coping strategies and find what best works for you. Here are few coping strategies you can try out:
Emotional self-harm isn’t a choice. It results from what you have been through, and it’s okay.
I hope these strategies help you!
Need to save money? Control your expenses? Keep track of your financial resources? How about budgeting?
Budgeting is simple and effective. We often think budgeting requires a lot of time and effort. However, it isn’t like that. In a short amount of time you will learn to budget.
It is a simple process of creating a plan to spend your money. This plan helps you to always have enough money for what you need. It helps you make your way out of debt or never fall into one. You stay self-aware of your expenses. It helps you organise savings and helps you reach your goal!
Besides these reasons, here are few reasons you might budget as a teen:
Remember that independence and freedom only comes once you are financially stable.
Ready for budgeting? All geared up? Pull up your socks then! We are looking into tips and tricks!!
When starting budgeting, it is important to find a good bank. Conduct excellent research and look into the benefits they offer and policies. You can approach an adult to find a good bank. Do not use a bank just because one of your family members uses it.
Set your financial goals. You may not have long-term plans like ‘having a small house with a huge garden by a river in the outskirts of the city’, right now. Maybe you have plans like buying the latest phone? An album? Some books? Whatever it is, set financial goals so you can have a rational idea on what you are really opting for. Think about how much time you want to invest in achieving it.
Have a simple idea on your total income and expenses. With expenses you can create a chart; one column comprising things you will buy and another comprising their prices. Find out the total and subtract it with your income. This chart includes your estimated expense! Don’t forget to include hospital bills and medicines! This gives you a general idea on your income and how you want to balance your income with your expenses. Maybe you need more income!
Have another chart! This time the chart will show your exact expenses and savings. Teen Budget Worksheet: Make a chart like this or download it. Fill the chart at the end of the month! You will be in track of your finance and know where you will need to improve!
Managing your savings is important. From your savings separate a few amounts of external expenses for something you want. The rest should go to your bank account! Use it only when you NEED it!
Budgeting has been very beneficial for me! I have control over my expenses and it’s given me a rational idea of my expenses. I have found financial contentment! I have been able to save for my future education. Budgeting has helped me purchase what I want and act on emergencies during the absence of my parents.
Budgeting is the most important financial habit I have adopted in the past few years. However, I have endured the ‘fear of missing out’. It is important to avoid the fear of missing out! Your fun shouldn’t mess up your financial security. Absolutely use your student id! I try not to mix my savings and emergency funds. I try to organize them separately. So that in times of emergency I do not use my savings.
Beginning of budgeting was difficult for me. I didn’t know where to begin and what was the right next step. It took time to settle into this habit. It is important to give yourself a lot of grace. I used to compare myself with others. Everyone has different situations.
Starting off with the most important categories has helped me! I do not need to compromise for my true necessities. Comparing prices online can help too. Do not compromise in quality! Different online tools can be used as well. Unneeded materials can be sold for extra income.
Even though budgeting is personal, having someone look after your budgeting helps. My mom looks after my budgeting and warns me when I am spending too much. It is important to be accountable. You can have a reminder set or have someone help you!
Every month is different! For some months you will need a budget for stationeries while for some you need a budget for gifts, vacation etc! Adjust your budget for each month!
Budgeting helps a lot! From making you independent to managing your finances! It is your first step to independent living! You don’t have to be perfect at one go! You are not making a long-term plan that includes settling down, kids, their education, their marriage and your retirement. Relax! It comes with time!
Small expenses can add up to huge expenses!
You will get it!
(for young moms)
(example budget plan for young parents)
Is this why you keep reading books? Words that distract you? Plots that drown out your thoughts? Settings that make you feel at home?
With all the stress, struggles and bottled up emotions, we all need to make it through our day. Everyone has their own way to cope, whether it is music, dance or reading.
A great book provides escapism. The artistry and creativity is better than any drug. Literary escapism is a coping mechanism. Literary escapism is a harmless pleasure that includes escaping from one’s thought by immersing into exotic situations or activities through reading. Books used for literary escapism are called escapist fiction. An individual reading a lot of romance novels to forget about their boring love life is an example of escapism.
The best strategy for overwhelming emotions and thoughts is to walk away and emerge into something else. You don’t have to engage with all emotions and thoughts. On bad days it is best to open a book and find yourself lost into the world the book portrays.
Escapism is vital in life. The right form of escapism helps cope with emotions and thoughts. They provide us with a feeling of having everything we need. It provides satisfaction in life. They allow us to grow and aspire for a better version of ourselves and society. It gives us an opportunity to recharge ourselves. Life is tough. Experiencing life, love and overcoming issues through the characters gives a sense of hope. Romance novels provide love and warmth. Literary escapism makes you creative in the aspects of writing and crafting a story.
Reading escapist fiction is okay. It is necessary. You have been looking at the news, right? We need books to give ourselves a break.
Give yourself a break, relax with a cup of coffee and a book!
But too much escapism can turn into addiction. One day or the other we have to engage, learn and accept our emotions and thoughts. We cannot avoid them forever. Study shows those who use escapism are often depressed. Avoiding emotions and problems may develop a risk of higher depressive symptoms. It may cause a lack of ambition. Not everything has a happy ending. You are just a side character in other’s stories. Deluding everything will be fine doesn’t make it fine.
Literary escapism has its drawbacks. Escapism of any form has to be done healthily. There are no exact symptoms for escapism. We have to be self-aware. If escapism affects your performance, health or social relations better to consult professional help.
Escapism is not bad. Addiction will affect you. Here are few ways to avoid escapism:
Reading fanfics and romance novels are my literary escapism. They offer me a sense of warmth and comfort. They let me imagine a better world. The conflict and tension make me forget my own issues. I am very selective in choosing my escapist literature piece. The chosen one revolves around me; the setting can describe my comfort zone or the plot is an incident I went through. Literature works where the character is in my position makes me feel like I am not alone. Everyone has their own battle, they are fighting it in their own way.
A literature piece that helps me escape always seems short to me.
You will make it.
Here are some extra resources:
"Escapist" Fiction Is Exactly What You Need Sometimes, And You Shouldn't Feel Bad For Reading It
The Best Escapist Fiction To Distance Yourself From The World
I write articles to provide space for others to relate, connect and hope. It is a way for me to Express myself and reflect. Writing gives me the opportunity to dream.