If you’ve spent much time on social media, I’m sure you’ve seen one influencer or another encouraging you to “earn” your food, sleep, time off, etc. The idea, of course is that the more you workout, the more you earn your food, or your sleep, of the more work you put in, the harder you “grind”, the more you earn your sleep, etc. And then the mindset just continues on from there.
Want to take a vacation? Grind extra hard beforehand to earn it.
Want to enjoy a good meal? Earn it with your workout that afternoon, or the next morning.
Want to get a solid night’s sleep? Earn it.
Want to practice some self-care? You’d better be prepared to earn that in some way before you even think about it.
How about we consider for just a moment, that this is complete BS. You don’t earn your food or your sleep anymore than you “earn” the air you breathe. Your body requires air. It also requires food, sleep, and periods of rest. Your mind needs moments of calm, rest, and connection to other people.
We should never, ever, shame someone into needing to earn any of these things. We should stop viewing these things as rewards for any kind of behavior or goals we are trying to reach. That’s how we get to having dysfunctional relationships with food, sleep, rest, etc. Instead of eating and resting because our bodies and minds need it, we end up in this never-ending calculation over how much we’ve actually earned that only increases the amount of stress and mental energy that is required just to get through the day.
If you want to eat, eat. Your body needs food.
If you want to sleep, sleep. Your body needs sleep.
If you need to do something for your mental health? Do it, your mind needs care.
If you want to workout, workout. It’s good for you.
If you want to work hard on a project, work hard. The sense of accomplishment you get from hard work is great.
Do any of these things, it’s your choice. But don’t let your view of the things you need be altered by things you might want to do, and don’t let anyone else tell you how to earn those things. You don’t have to earn food and rest, they are a required part of being a human. You’re allowed to be human, no matter how hard you workout.