Why the Hustle Mentality Can Hurt More Than Help You — And What To Do About It

Why the Hustle Mentality Can Hurt More Than Help You — And What To Do About It
When was the last time you stepped away from work?

Hustle culture teaches us that working all the time equals success. As a result, it may be hard for those in leadership positions to flip the switch between work and rest.

Furthermore, aspects like inflation and a looming recession have made work take a higher priority than wellness.

Oftentimes, we trick ourselves into thinking that we’ll spend more time doing what we love once we put in hard work. But the truth is that hustle culture does not equal happiness. Employees who are engaged at work but are not thriving in their overall lives report a 61% higher rate of burnout often or always.

Constantly being “on” at work affects your physical well-being, mental health, and personal life. Yet, we tend to dismiss these areas first, existing through life instead of living it. And as a leader, you set the tone for your staff’s performance — if they see you constantly overworking and pushing boundaries, they’ll feel forced to follow this path.

The Adverse Effects of Hustle Culture

Hustle culture takes the driver’s seat of our lives. In practice, this means we’re giving up irreplaceable resources (energy and time) by prioritizing work while abandoning proper rest and personal time.

The negative implications of constantly overworking include:

  • Physical health issues such as longer recovery times from injuries, weakened immune systems, and high blood pressure.
  • Mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, burnout and depression, the inability to enjoy the present moment, declining work productivity, and isolation.

Sadly, many leaders ignore these consequences and continue to power through. Instead of the success they’re craving, they’re all but guaranteeing exhaustion and health issues which result in forced, unplanned breaks and an overall drop in productivity.

Take These as a Sign That You Need To Slow Down

Taking time to slow down is easier said than done. After all, finding a balance between being a star employee and a present friend/wife/mother can prove difficult. Especially if you aren’t paying attention to the signs of burnout before they become a bigger problem.

Some primary symptoms of burnout include:

  • The inability to concentrate
  • Making careless mistakes
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Feeling run down
  • Experiencing brain fog, insomnia, and constant fatigue.

Some other indicators that burnout is imminent are changes in lifestyle habits. If you find yourself constantly checking work emails before bed and immediately after waking up, unhealthy eating and sleep habits, and continuously canceling plans with friends and family, it’s time to take a break.

Sometimes, we overlook these symptoms and push through until our bodies shut down. But burnout feels as if you hit a wall mentally, emotionally, and sometimes even physically.

Once you’re burned out, you’ll find yourself procrastinating or feel forced to stop working altogether, lose interest in tasks or hobbies that you used to enjoy, have a more challenging time showing empathy towards others, and take longer to do jobs that were once seemingly easy.

Luckily, there are steps we can take to prevent burnout from happening.

Tips To Prevent Burnout From Hustle Culture


One of the first steps to prevent burnout is bringing awareness to your mental, physical and emotional health. For example, taking note of your energy levels can be impactful when defining your cut-off point.

One way to do this is by journaling every night to review what went well and what didn’t, how you feel, and what you want your day to look like tomorrow.

This exercise can help you discover patterns popping up in your day. You can adjust your goals and schedule and create more joy from there.

Defining What’s Important

Review your personal and professional goals. Then look at what actions and steps are the most impactful towards achieving your goals.

Defining what is important to you professionally and personally can encourage you to decline offers for things that don’t align. In addition, freeing up your time and energy for tasks that align with your priorities will help you prevent burnout and bring joy to work on them.

Take Ownership of Your Schedule

Make a list of your top three priorities during the work day. These items will be essential in moving the needle forward in your professional development.

There’s a paradox about time. On one hand, we tend to underestimate the time it takes to complete tasks. Yet, we also tend to overestimate how much we can realistically achieve in a day or week.

So take the time to plan your week by reviewing your previous work to make your calendar as realistic as possible. And make sure to schedule downtime for fun activities and rest. Adding in time for the things that matter most to you will aid your happiness and overall mental well-being.

Stick to Your Boundaries

Get used to saying No.

Holding boundaries in the office can be challenging, particularly when you have a history of saying yes to your bosses and coworkers. But saying no to things that don’t matter or align means opening space for those that have a bigger impact.

Additionally, Be aware of what is a “have-to” item versus a “nice-to-have” item on your to-do list and prioritize accordingly.

While learning to set boundaries takes time and grace, boundaries allow you to define work time versus personal time clearly.

Use True Self-Care

Do you reward yourself with self-care only after working hard? Or do you see it for what it truly is — a way to care for yourself and maintain a healthy life?

If you are choosing the former, question your motivations. Self-care isn’t a prize, and it’s not just bubble baths and lavender. Self-care can be anything that allows you to heal yourself from the inside out.

Self-care might look like unplugging (truly unplugging) on your time off, reading a book for pleasure, journaling or drawing, taking a walk, cooking a healthy meal, or spending time doing the things that bring you joy.

Consciously walking away from the hustle mentality can feel tough after being conditioned to believe it bring success and happiness. But after observing your behaviors and habits, learning when and how to slow down, and preventing burnout, you will find that hustle culture isn’t worth the physical, mental and emotional turmoil.

As a leader, you set an example for your employees. If you are struggling with burnout or stepping away from hustle culture, book a session with me today so you can show up as your best self.

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