Hustle. Grind. Put in the work. Don’t give up. When was the last time you saw a motivational video on Instagram or Facebook that included some of those phrases? Probably just before you started reading this article or yesterday. I love to watch those kinds of videos, too. I love how it can take one out of a bad mood when someone is so deeply enthusiastic, just by watching them in a video. I love those people and I love that the internet and social media gives us the possibility to connect with each other worldwide. I think it is the greatest chance humanity ever had, in order to truly connect humanity and start supporting each other and start solving the big problems we face on this planet. And this starts with each and every one of us. In order to change anything outside of ourselves, we need to look at ourselves first. We need to be clear about who we are, accept ourselves and know how we want to live our lives.

How do we want to live our lives? How do you want to live your life? We should be very clear about the answer to this question. And we should ask ourselves this question again and again because the answer might change over time while we are evolving. Working hard towards any goal is certainly part of all of our lives – at least if we really want to achieve the goal. But life is long. We need to balance out the hard work we put in and fill up our own cups, regularly. The hustle is an important part of our lives, but what is the counterpart to it? How do we balance it? Exactly, if you remember the headline you know the answer already. The counterpart to putting in the work, is relaxing. Do you have a regular self-care practice? Do you schedule time to relax and how does relaxing look like for you? What fills your cup and makes you go back to work more energized, creative and focused when you go back to work? What is your daily, weekly, and monthly hustle-relax-ratio? If you are just a little bit like I was, you will find out that you thought you would take enough time to relax and recharge but now that you really think about it, it is actually not that much. Am I right?

Why don’t you take more time to relax and recover? Probably because you decided to finish the new website this week or because you decided to work on this new project now – or the way you would put it, you “have to” do all those things. True story? I know you have a reason for it. I know you are busy. I know you want to succeed. I know work is important. I know all of the things are important and you can handle it easily. At least, until you can’t anymore. And this day will come. Sooner or later, but if we keep an imbalance in our life (in any area of our life) for a long time, it will show its effects, and we won’t like it.

Let me tell you something about “have to”, that will help you relax more by just changing the way you talk about the things you need to do

I used to tell people “I don’t have time for vacation/ to take a day off” and I truly meant it, I was 100% convinced of it. And I didn’t mind. I wanted to work, and I didn’t care about vacation or relaxing as long as I wasn’t finished with my work. Can you relate? All the to do’s and we “have to” do so many things, right?

I thought so, until I understood that we literally don’t have to do anything and I crossed “have to” off my vocabulary. Why? 

As a matter of fact there is absolutely nothing, nothing, truly not a single thing we have to do. It is all a choice. We choose to do the things we do. 

And once we understand this and own this fact, we start taking full responsibility of our life. There is no “I can’t/ I wish but I have to (do something) because of (anyone or anything else)” anymore. It is all on you. This is the time where people start to argue with me and tell me about all the things that they or also I have to do, but no. Of course, is has an effect when we don’t do things, but the only things this means is, that we don’t like the other choice(s) we have. That is why we make it a must, instead of our own choice. Try to avoid saying “have to” for one day and I would be happy to know how it went. I wish you good luck, but unless you already practice this or don’t speak at all, there is very little to no chance that you will spend a day without saying it at least once. It took me over a year of practice to get over it, for the most part. Because it still happens. “Have to” is so deep within our language, that it is really hard to stop saying it. Sometimes people have a hard time coming up with a different way of putting it. I love to replace “I have to” with I chose/decided to / I get to / I can’t wait to.

This is where allowing ourselves to relax starts – with the way we speak. 

Science shows that saying or simply hearing “must/have to” releases stress hormones in the body. 

Stop saying those terms and you will already work on being more relaxed. Try it out: Instead of “I have to finish working on the new website, instead of going out for dinner” say “I decided to finish working on the new website instead of going out for dinner”. Now you own it! Now you own your decision and you are free to make these choices or any others, at any time. That means you can also decide to relax a little more from time to time. You have enough time for yourself, if you decide to take it. Allow yourself to relax and recharge your batteries and you will be working much better than you have in a long time and you will be able to keep it up for the rest of your life. Constantly working and not giving back to yourself works for some time, but not your entire life long. I assume you want to be the happiest and healthiest that you can be for your entire life, right? That is why you need to start taking care of yourself today.

Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Use your energy wisely and take care of yourself, until the finish line.