If I don’t hustle & grind, how do I pay my bills?

Sampada Chaudhari
8 min readNov 28, 2022


The conversation around workplace burnout is gathering momentum.

Self-care, resting and not allowing your productivity to define your worth is taking centre stage.

Social media is full of anti-hustle and grind work culture messages. You’re encouraged to rest and relax.

This is well-meaning advice and offered in good spirit.

But how does one not participate in the grind and yet manage to pay the bills? This is an often unaddressed question.

You may think, ‘I too wish I could rest, but I don’t have a choice.’

In fact, messages encouraging you to do less may irk you. You may feel misunderstood or under-represented.

‘Don’t they get it, I have bills to pay — how can I rest?’

Taking time off to rest may seem like advice for the privileged, not you.

Seems like participating in the hustle is the only way to earn a livelihood, even at the cost of our well-being.

Everyone seems to be grinding. Putting in long hours, with no breaks and working weekends. All this while managing deadlines, people and familial responsibilities.

This is the dominant way to work as modelled to us. We saw our parents work hard and long hours until retirement. We’re following suit.

All are in the grind — from intern to CEO, from the blue-collared worker to the white-collared one. No one seems to escape the grind.

It’s common knowledge that we show up better when we’re well-rested. We’re enthusiastic, get fresh ideas and make fewer mistakes.

We need no convincing that our health and well-being need to be our first priority.

But home loans, school fees and other financial responsibilities become exit barriers to opting out of the drudgery.

The last few years of the pandemic have only amplified the pressure and made it more challenging for most of us.

Given this reality, a social media post encouraging us to rest can trigger annoyance.

You’ve put your foot down a few times and declined to work late nights or weekends. Only to be questioned about your commitment to work in the next appraisal.

Chances are you’re the sole breadwinner for your family. You need to provide the best for your kids, save up for retirement and lead a good life. But, if you’re hustling and grinding at the cost of your health and happiness, it could be detrimental.

Here’s what you can do if you find yourself caught in a dilemma between hustling and resting.


Our modern world is built on capitalism. While it seems we’ve progressed as a race, capitalism is an exploitative system that puts profit over people and the planet. It has its origins in medieval times and works to concentrate wealth in the hands of a few people.

“Rest pushes back and disrupts a system that views human bodies as a tool for production and labor. It is a counter-narrative. We know that we are not machines. We are divine.” ~ Tricia Hersey, Founder — The Nap Ministry & Author of Rest is Resistance

It’s important to understand that the hustle-and-grind culture is a systemic issue coming from a capitalist work culture. This understanding helps you be kind to yourself. It allows you to see the bigger picture. It gives you the confidence to take small steps on your way to dismantling grind culture.


There are periods in our lives when we need to work long hours. Especially to fulfill financial responsibilities. Doesn’t seem like there’s any other way to earn and pay our bills.

While you accept that you need to grind to fulfill financial responsibilities, you could disrupt and imagine new ways of working. You could find micro ways to rest, indulge in some fun and play.

You can do your best to navigate a deeply oppressive work culture. This means sometimes hustling and sometimes resting, relaxing and dreaming.


Rest, relaxation or fun don’t always need a ton of time and money.

You may need to re-look at your definition of rest, relaxation and fun.

Maybe you can’t afford a fancy holiday, but a replenishing weekend at a nearby getaway is a possibility.

Resting could mean a one-hour nap on a Sunday afternoon. You could make that a non-negotiable practice for your well-being.

Relaxation could mean 15–20 min of me-time in the morning while having tea. Or a quiet walk in the nearby garden.

Or doodling, writing or painting may fill your creative well and rejuvenate you.

Or reading a good book from the library or playing with your neighbour’s dog could replenish you.

A monthly catch-up with friends at a local cafe could be a fun thing for you.

You don’t always need to dine at the fanciest restaurant to feel connected. Chatting up with a friend or neighbour could make you feel socially connected.


You may think you have no time to even take an hour’s nap or meet up with friends. A few small steps can make your day spacious.

Here’s a simple technique to make some space.

Do an audit of your jobs and responsibilities. Ask the following 4 questions.

  1. Are there any jobs that you can prune — i.e completely do away with?

Many of us are habituated to filling our lives with a lot of activities and tasks. It’s yet another consequence of capitalist programming. One that equates our productivity to our worth.

Go through your list. Keep activities that are aligned with your goals and drop the rest.

  1. Are there jobs that you can defer i.e do later?

Not everything needs to be done today or tomorrow. Some tasks can be moved to the next week or even next month. See what you can move ahead and make some space.

  1. Can you ask for help on some jobs or delegate them to someone else?

Perhaps you can’t afford paid help. But you can ask your partner or kids to help clear the kitchen after dinner or help with other household chores.


At the office, you could ask a teammate for help with a few jobs. You could do the same for them another day.

  1. Can you automate some tasks?

Can you automate repetitive tasks such as ordering food and groceries every week?


In our dominant capitalist work culture, it can take several years to work yourself out of the hustle.

You can start with small steps today. Fill your week with a few slots for rest & rejuvenation. Slow down for a while. Let your hair down and have some fun. You’ll go back to work replenished.

As you slowly work yourself out of the hustle, you need to understand how the capitalist business world works. How it thrives on us hustling and grinding often at the cost of our well-being. By design, it’s a system that flourishes by putting profit over people and the planet.

You will then be able to build ways to work yourself out of the hustle. And build nourishing ways to work for yourself and others.

Even if you can’t do away with the hustle and grind work culture soon, you can commit to some micro-steps to ensure your well-being and joy.

Here’s a list of Resources that can help you work your way out of the hustle over time.

Understanding the systemic roots of the modern-day toxic world culture and its origins in capitalism is key. It can go a long way in redesigning your work to make it replenishing.

You will find several resources, books and courses on anti-capitalism online. Here are some resources I’ve found helpful:

Disclaimer: Sharing resources that I’ve loved. No commissions for spreading this goodness.

A. Sowing Post Capitalist Seeds (SPCS): This is a 14-week course I took in 2021. The course concentrates on answering the question: “How can we thrive in our lives, work, relationships, and communities as we integrate the praxis of anti-capitalism?”

The course is hosted by Anuradha Kowtha and Moriah Helms. I found it incredibly enriching and eye-opening. The course helped me get a fine understanding of how capitalism is at the root of toxic modern work culture.

The hosts generously shared a ton of resources — books, articles, white papers, podcasts, and videos. They taught the nuances of capitalism and its impact on various aspects of our lives and work.

B. The Spell of Capitalism: While I haven’t taken this course facilitated by Toi Smith and Jen Lemen, their Instagram content and the daily email notes have added finer dimensions to my understanding of capitalism and its impact on modern-day work culture.

C. The Nap Ministry: Over the years their social media content helped me understand the nuances of capitalism and the grind work culture.

Tricia Hersey, Founder of The Nap Ministry has recently published her book Rest is Resistance. It’s a landmark book in which she champions rest as a political and social movement not focused on productivity. It’s one of the most incredible books I’ve read in recent times. It’s inspired me to dream up ways to make a tiny dent in the grind culture by resting and resisting.

D. Regenerative Business by Kate Northrup, Founder — The Origin Company

In 2022, I took the Regenerative Business Course offered by Kate Northrup.

Regenerative Business has shown me a way to run my business outside of capitalism. It’s something I was seeking for a long time. It’s shown me a way that allows me to replenish myself and not extract and exploit myself while working. It’s taught me to be in sync with and respect nature, that includes myself and the people I work with. It’s a way that encourages me to operate with the intelligence of intuition and listen to guidance from my body. It may be counterintuitive to ways in the mainstream work culture, but it’s precisely the need of the hour.

Enrollment for this course is currently closed. But you can sign up below to be informed the next time the doors open.


Do follow Kate Northrup’s work on Instagram to get inspiration to work in nourishing ways.

Would love to hear from you. How do you balance hustling to pay bills with resting? Please feel free to share in the comments below.


Struggling in the hustle and grind culture? Make a start to end this struggle by redefining what success means to you.

Are you seeking to create happiness at work? Do Sign Up for The Happy Work Guide: 8 Steps to Freedom from Toxic Work.



Sampada Chaudhari

Business & Career Transition Coach | Help you create work that makes you happy https://www.sampadachaudhari.in/