Hustle Culture Is Toxic For Mental Health (Its Impact & How to Break Free)

Last Update on March 24, 2023 : Published on March 26, 2023

They say that “The grind shouldn’t stop”, but is the “grind” or the “hustle” when we talk about work – worth it? Or is the so-called, “hustle culture” just toxic? Hustle culture has taken the world by storm and not in a good way. It has become too popular these days, promoting corporations to encourage their employees to make more effort to increase their performance.

Lately though, this hustle culture has begun to take a toll on mental health and even promote toxic work culture – no matter how indirectly.

Instead of making the workplace a fun and relaxing place to work in, hustle culture has inadvertently created a workplace culture that makes employees feel overworked, stressed, anxious, and at times too overwhelmed.

Hustle culture is toxic as it leaves no space for a healthy work-life balance, leaving room to trigger mental health conditions such as ADHD, social anxiety, and depression at the workplace.

Today, we’re looking at the toxic impact of hustle culture on our overall health, how it affects us, and how to break free from the toxicity of hustle culture.

What is Hustle Culture?

Hustle Culture

Before we understand the effects of hustle culture, we need to understand the meaning behind this relatively new concept in the corporate world. Hustle culture is when you focus more on productivity and success rather than rest, self-care, or work-life balance.

In recent years, especially after the 2020 pandemic, hustle culture has become quite popular as people want to achieve their professional goals and achieve success faster and more efficiently. Even though this concept is popular among the youth of today, this toxic work culture is having a great impact on mental health and wellness.

We’ve seen increased anxiety, stress, and even depression rise in employees who prefer a hustle culture. Eventually, hustle culture has become less about productivity and more about job burnout, causing it to be compared to toxic productivity.

Toxic productivity is when you’re constantly working to be successful, forgoing the need to take breaks and rest.  This toxic productivity makes you think that if you work harder and more than everyone, you’ll succeed faster. That’s not true and can eventually lead to depression and burnout.

But, why has hustle culture been glorified so much?

Well, to be honest, this idea of hustle culture is glorified by the new and upcoming entrepreneurs who believe that success comes when the work hours you put in are high.

According to them, rest is equal to being unproductive and they fail to realize that prioritizing work over rest is taking a toll on their mental health.

Hustle culture and mental health connection don’t stop here but continue with social media. Social media has made hustle culture even more toxic. Influencers and start-up owners can post their “hard-working” pictures and reels on social media, glorifying the mindset that working without rest is inspiring and an ingredient of success.

Examples Of Hustle Culture…

Here’s an example of hustle culture that you might relate to; Companies expect their employees to work overtime, stay late, or come before time to work. They expect their employees to have a hefty to-do list and keep giving them work even when they are on breaks or vacation.

Another example of hustle culture could be when employees are expected to prioritize quantity over quality. It’s not about doing a job perfectly and more about doing the job.

The Effects Of Hustle Culture on Mental Health

Culture on Mental Health

Here’s how the toxicity of hustle culture affects our mental well-being;

1.Increased anxiety

Instead of addressing anxiety and stress, hustle culture seems to irritate you more and increase your anxiety. The idea behind this concept is “working more and resting less” and this can make you forgo rest and bring immense pressure to perform at your maximum. This could start a cycle of worry and anxiety in many people.

2.Increased productivity guilt

If you are a victim of hustle culture then you may suffer from productivity guilt, the feeling that makes you experience guilt for taking time off of work. Social media can increase this guilt as you are forced to face the “success stories” of your friends, family, and coworkers on social media. It can make you feel that you’re slacking off and being lazy when you should be working.

3.Increased apathy

Hustle culture can also make you a victim of apathy. When you’re always striving for more without a purpose or a goal, it can make you feel like there is nothing worthy or remarkable in life anymore. Apathy is one of the main signs of depression and can lead to long-term mental health effects if not addressed timely.

4.Increased toxic positivity

When you push yourself too hard to work, you make sure that you leave no room for failure. To you, simple mistakes can feel too catastrophic. This can give rise to toxic positivity which can make you expect unrealistic goals that can be different from what you truly believe in.

5.Increased risk of diseases

When you’re constantly working and leaving no time for rest – mental or physical – it can make you feel physically tired. Being too exhausted can increase stress and make you more susceptible to health risks such as heart disease or chronic illnesses. You sleep less, you eat unhealthy food, and you rest less. This causes weak immunity and increases the risk of diseases.

6.No work-life balance

Hustle culture is all about work and no rest so basically – an unhealthy lifestyle and work-life balance. This concept can eventually lead to poor relationships with loved ones and little to no time for self-care. When you can’t release stress as you ought to, your health will decline, leaving you with more problems.

How to Stop the Cycle of Hustle Culture?

Cycle of Hustle Culture

Here’s how you can break the cycle of hustle culture and improve your mental health and well-being;

1.Set Work Boundaries

To break free of hustle culture, you need to first set healthy work boundaries. This means setting limits to work hours and saying “no” to extra work on vacations. You need to stop checking your work emails when you’re not at work and have silent work notifications during your break time. Set clear boundaries with your coworkers and managers too about what is acceptable and what’s not when it comes to working.

2.Take Breaks

Make sure you take regular breaks throughout the day to keep your stress levels low. Your mind needs to rest for it to work to its full potential without crashing, just like your computer. So, schedule short breaks during your work hours, go take a walk, listen to music, or maybe do some stretches.

3.Focus On Self-Care

Self-care is something that we can’t neglect, not anymore. It’s one of the most essential ingredients of healthy mental well-being, so make sure you focus on self-care. Try to engage in at least one or two self-care activities either at work or home. This is the time when you’re focusing on yourself so leave no room for other obligations during this time.

4.Be Kind To Yourself

To break the toxicity of hustle culture, you need to understand that there will come a time when you’ll make a mistake and things might not go the way you want them to. When this happens, be kind to yourself and try to celebrate small successes. You are competing with anyone as life is not a race but a journey. So, focus on doing what looks and feels best to you.

Wrap Up

Hustle culture is toxic and can take a heavy toll on your mental health and well-being. This attitude of working too hard and leaving no room for rest might have been glorified in recent times but it doesn’t have to stay this way. Take one step at a time and break free of the toxic cycle of hustle culture.

I hope this blog helped you understand the effects of hustle culture and how toxic it can be on your health. Follow the above-mentioned tips to avoid the toxicity of hustle culture and remember to give yourself rest.

For more, you can write to us at or DM us on social media. You can also share your thoughts and tips in the comments section below.

Take Care!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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