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Telling People to ‘Hustle' During COVID-19 Comes From a Place of Privilege


If given enough thought the stress and uncertainty of this pandemic will drive anyone crazy. While we are all reaching for some level of normalcy it's equally as important to prioritize our mental health, and maybe that means muting our faves for a bit.

 I completely understand the panic and overall unease about the ambiguity of COVID-19, being that I am a regimented person myself. But I do not think the answer is to simply buy into "hustle culture" or try to create a new normal— given the insanely stressful circumstances.    

As we see the death toll rising, the lack of protective gear for health professionals, and the number of COVID-19 cases rising, how can we just solely focus on the enhancement of ourselves?  

Celebrities are encouraging their fans to start businesses, blogs, podcasts or other (possibly) lucrative activities to pass the time; in hopes of making the best out of a rough situation. While there is some validity to this school of thought, sometimes it can cause more harm than good. Specifically, when we factor in predisposed mental health issues people are dealing with. 

Alaa Hijazi, a trauma specialist weighed in on the topic, "we are going through a collective trauma, that is bringing up profound grief, loss, panic over livelihoods, panic over loss of loved ones...people are trying to survive poverty, fear,  and retriggering of trauma… Yet, someone has the nerve to accuse someone of lack of discipline for not learning a new skill". 

 Some celebrities are tone deaf to the situation at hand, the majority are sitting in their comfortable houses only imagining what others' realities are. No amount of Instagram stories, impulsive tweeting, or positive quotes can equate the two experiences. 

Most recently, Ellen DeGeneres came under fire for comparing social isolation to prison. DeGeneres compared being in quarantine to being in jail, as if the two are remotely similar.

While numerous families are being impacted by the pandemic, to even suggest that one should have the innate motivation to buy into "hustle culture," is insulting. This is not to be confused with those that are grinding in order to provide for their family at all cost. Moreover, suggesting that folks find it in themselves to use this time to elevate their social and economic standing is absurd. Some of us are trying to take it all, day by day. 

Of course, this quarantine is a great opportunity to do the things that make us most happy.  While discovering new passions we never knew we had and nursing old hobbies we haven't had the time for. However, the outward projection and unsolicited pressure from some of the wealthiest isn't encouraging— it could actually have an adverse effect. 

Because of America's capitalistic structure we are all programmed to work in order to take care of ourselves and loved ones. Meaning we do not always take adequate time to check in with one another mentally. The amount of pressure we all feel during this time is immense. The best thing we can do is support the plethora of ways we are (all) dealing with this global crisis.


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