Friday, June 21Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Hustle Culture During the Covid-19 Pandemic – Can This Be Problematic?

Francesca Benvenutto

As the UK’s Covid-19 situation arguably starts to worsen once again, many of us will involuntarily begin to cast our minds back to the joys of lockdown. When we were approaching the end of March, our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter feeds had all become rife with people baking, sharing their home workouts, or starting a new sport. I remember often coming across blog posts discussing ways to improve productivity and help remain active despite the pandemic. This is a time of immense uncertainty for so many of us, with minimal guidance provided by the government, workplaces, schools and universities. With that in mind, it can be difficult for some of us to feel productive and put ourselves out there in this way. We are often being bombarded with a plethora of articles on how to learn new skills, keep fit, and develop as a person, all whilst we still have a pandemic taking place right outside our doors. 

As we all now return to university for the start of term, academic pressures will begin to mount whilst our outside pressures will also continue. Living in the social media crazed age which we are part of can be difficult, we may often feel the need to post everything we do with an attractive filter for our Instagram feeds to keep up a certain appearance, but this hustle culture of constantly trying to prove ourselves and what we are doing may do more harm than good. It makes it harder for us to celebrate our own achievements, no matter how big or small as we just end up comparing ourselves and our productivity to one another.

It is of course still incredibly beneficial for our mental and physical health to keep fit during this time, and to find a routine which suits you and challenges you is just as important as ever. But by all means, do not let the internet convince you that in order to be “successful” during this pandemic you must develop 101 new skills every day. It has been a tremendous lifestyle change for all of us, and learning to work from home for university has been no exception. It’s important for all of us to find the balance of doing what we need to do whilst also giving ourselves time to rest and adjust. At university as with everywhere, it’s incredibly easy to compare how productive you’re being with others around you, or how much fun you’re having compared to others. But relax, take it slow. Give yourself time to adapt, and a routine within university and outside will come.