Hustle Culture: How does it Impact Mental Health?

Hustle culture refers to a common, modern workplace environment that underlines hard work and excessive hours as the key to success. It's rapidly becoming popular, with different organizations motivating employees to put in extra hours and effort for improved results. However, this culture is considered toxic, harms an individual's mental health, and worsens the workplace instead of making companies more productive. It also makes employees feel overwhelmed at the workplace and triggers mental health conditions, i.e. social anxiety or ADHD. Continue reading to know more about the toxic impacts of hustle culture on mental health.

What is hustle culture?

Hustle culture is when a work environment emphasizes productivity and success, overlooking rest, self-care, or work balance. This culture has become popular as people struggle to accomplish their professional goals more efficiently and quickly. Despite the fact that it's increasing popularity, no holds barred mindset has been connected to mental health concerns, i.e. increased stress, anxiety, and depression. Moreover, we know that decreased productivity is a long-term opposite effect, and this toxic workplace environment has led to employees feeling burned out.

What is toxic productivity?

Toxic productivity defines that an individual must be productive to achieve success. It can lead to physical and mental exhaustion. The concept behind toxic productivity is that you'll succeed quicker if you work harder. However, this isn't always true. Toxic productivity is encouraged by hustle culture and can negatively impact your wellbeing.

Why is hustle culture glorified?

The hustle culture is idealized by entrepreneurs who are seen as successful because they invest excessively long hours without caring for themselves and their families. These people are usually idealized for aspiring business leaders who may not know how harmful it can be to prioritize over other tasks. There’s a strong connection between social media and mental health. However, social media has even made the problem worse. Different social platforms have made it easy for celebrities and influencers to share their images of putting extra effort to work, glorifying and encouraging a dangerous mindset among youth who look up to them for inspiration.

Examples of hustle culture in the workplace

An example of toxic culture in the workplace is employers expecting employees to come to work early and stay late. One of the contributing factors to the resignation movement is lofty to-do lists, without having enough resources and time to meet the deadlines. Some companies may inspire competition among colleagues by rewarding those who outperform instead of concentrating on teamwork. So we can say that such a culture is not good and is recommended for the employees' wellbeing.

The Negative Impacts of Hustle Culture on Mental Health

Hustle culture has become a pervasive part of today's lives, with people pushing themselves to the limit to succeed. This persistent pursuit of productivity and success can affect one's mental health.


People with toxic culture might feel guilty if they take a break or relax. It is noticed earlier that social media can worsen this guilt. Posts from peers, friends, and family who look successful and have unrelenting work ethics can quickly translate to a belief that taking breaks is unproductive.


Hustle culture can lead to stress and anxiety at work when people missed on their goals. In addition, the pressure to perform the best is often too much that people worry about their prospects.

Toxic positivity

Pushing yourself too hard means no space for failure, and minor mistakes can become catastrophic. It can make individuals feel invalidated and unsupported, leading to further isolation and depression.

Apathetic attitude

When a person constantly desires more without rest, it can lead them toward a damaging path. That person suddenly seems nothing good enough or rewarding. This apathetic attitude will only harm mental health in the long run.

Risk of illness and disease

When someone works hard without having rest, it results in physical exhaustion. Being exhausted then leads to psychological distress and increases the risk of illness. Some research indicates that long work weeks are more likely to increase the risk of cerebrovascular and cardiovascular disease.

Imbalanced work life

The hustle culture can harm the balance between work and personal life. It emphasizes achieving career goals over other essential aspects of life, such as maintaining relationships with family and friends. It results in less time for self-care practices, like exercise, yoga, or stress management techniques, essential for maintaining mental health.

Ways to Break Free from Hustle Culture

Breaking free from hustle culture may seem challenging, but it is achievable. It needs a change in behavior and mindset and a willingness to set habits that prioritize mental health over productivity in the long term. Here are some tips on how to break free from hustle culture:

Set boundaries

Understanding how to set healthy boundaries to protect your mental health is essential. It implies limiting your working hours and other business-related activities. You also need to straight expectations with colleagues about when you'll be available for work-relevant communications and tasks.

Prioritize self-care

Self-care should always be on top of other commitments to protect mental health. You need to include at least one activity dedicated solely to caring for yourself each day. This activity can be reading a book, journaling for mental health, running, practicing meditation, or spending time with friends and family.

Take breaks

Regular breaks throughout the day reduce stress and help your mind rest so you can remain productive at the workplace. You can schedule short breaks while working where you step away from your desk, walk, listen to your favorite music, or do an activity that brings joy to your life.

Be kind to yourself

You need to avoid self-blame when things do not go as planned. Rather than acknowledge what went right during the day and take time to celebrate even small achievements, no matter how insignificant they may appear. Remember that each individual has a unique pace when working towards their goals, so don't compare yourself to others. Instead, focus on what strategies work best for your success.

Final Words

In conclusion, hustle culture has become a norm in the modern workplace, promoting hard work and excessive hours to succeed. However, this culture is toxic and detrimental to an individual's mental health and wellbeing. The glorification of toxic productivity and success without self-care has increased stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout among employees. The negative impacts of hustle culture on mental health include guilt, anxiety, toxic positivity, apathy, risk of illness, and imbalanced work-life. Breaking free from hustle culture requires setting healthy boundaries, prioritizing self-care, taking regular breaks, and being kind to yourself. It is essential to prioritize mental health over productivity in the long term for a sustainable and fulfilling work-life balance.