The Ugly side of Hustle culture and how to say it a big ‘NO’

The downside of hustle culture and why you need to get rid of it?

Ever wondered why everyone around you is so fond of hustle? While checking my Instagram; I found so many stories of people from all over the world appreciating the hustle culture. Also, I’m totally not against hard-work or hustling for your dreams but I totally don’t understand why are we romanticizing the idea of hustling. Aren’t we aware of how toxic this hustle culture has become? But what actually hustle is?

toxic hustle culture

Imagine the idea of waking up early and finishing up with your morning routine, getting ready for your 9 to 5, grabbing your snacks and catching up your bus or train, working for your day job, coming home with your work-files, getting ready for dinner, following your night routine and going to bed just to repeat the same cycle again.

This never-ending cycle of go, go, go and do, do, do have programmed us like an automatic machine. Think of the last time you just sat still without letting your brain wonder what to do next.

The idea behind ‘toxic productivity’

The hustle culture has made us forgotten about the beauty of just ‘being’. We have become super busy in doing and doing that we have completely forgotten how it feels like just to ‘be’. Do not get me wrong here. I’m not against having high dreams and ambition and working hard to achieve them, but I’m totally not in favor of the newly coined grind culture because at times, it gets just too much and we fail to realize it.

When I was working in the school, it was no less than a corporate job where everyone was instructed to ‘hustle’ and the competition was so intense that it became toxic for our health. Here’s the story of how I left my toxic job and started living the life of my dreams. 

What actually is the hustle culture?

Hustle culture is another fancy term for ‘constantly working’. You keep working hard day and night in order to live the life of your dreams without actually being present in the moment. Hustle culture isn’t as great as it is shown on social media and it’s just so over-exaggerated.

I totally don’t deny the idea of working hard but at what cost!!

Pause and think; have you set healthy work boundaries or do you work the whole day? Aren’t you bringing those office files at home or isn’t your phone continuously beeping and asking you to attend the work even when you’re off duty? This is exactly what I’m talking about when I say how toxic hustle culture is. It has made you forgotten to live mindfully, to embrace every moment of life instead of just chasing your goals.

When I was studying, I had the idea of working hard and success in mind. I always believed that if you study for the whole day, you get good grades. And I carried the same mindset for my work-life. The harder you work, the more successful you become. You need to sacrifice your sleep, skip meals, leave your loved ones, and what not to achieve your dreams.

In short, I always thought you need to struggle in order to live the life you imagined. This mindset worsened my mental health and it was challenging to reframe my limiting beliefs and practice mindfulness.

Related piece: How I conquered my limiting beliefs and changed my mindset.

Now that we’re clear with what exactly is the hustle culture; let’s get deep into the darker side. Is hustle culture actually toxic for us?

toxic hustle culture

Is hustle culture actually hurting us?

The studies show that people adopting hustle culture, the ones who believe in do, do, do have shown severe symptoms of anxiety and depression. Let’s not talk of others, I will tell you my story of dealing with stress and anxiety.

While working in a toxic environment, it became difficult for me to cope up with the hustle culture. Whatever I did was always considered less and I had no idea how to strive hard to impress my boss. I used to take work things home and be always stuck with doing more. However, someone in the corner of my heart I would always feel completely devastated as if I’m trying to do something I’m not meant to.

Due to the stress and anxiety, I used to stay awake during nights and my thoughts would run around endlessly. Because of this toxic workplace culture, my mental health was ruined and I decided to quit and start afresh. The story didn’t end here.

I was still unable to sleep and I felt some sort of heaviness which is why I started learning more about mental health awareness and decided to advocate the same.

My darling, I’m still not against your ambitions and dreams but how about balancing rest and productivity?

Related piece: How to find the sweet balance between rest and productivity. Here how the hustle culture proves to be toxic.

toxic hustle culture

1. Hustle culture affects overall health

Hustle culture typically generates workaholics. They have a rigid mindset of doing the work all day long, whenever they find some spare time. There’s no time for leisure or just being still for few moments to appreciate life. This kind of lifestyle is super deadly and can totally affect mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Overworking harms your mental health by increasing stress and anxiety.

2. Reduces productivity

This is a big misconception that working the whole day means being productive. In this era of mindfulness, rest is new productive and you really need to find a work-life balance. Taking breaks, rejuvenating, walking in nature, spending time doing things you love, going for an adventure, planning an impromptu trip can totally spark liveliness and you will be more productive than ever.

You may have a long To-do list and you’re all behind accomplishing them all but in the end, did you find satisfaction or fulfillment? Is your life’s purpose attained?

3. Kills mindful living

When you’re continuously in the race of doing, you quickly forget how necessary it is to just ‘be’ and live in the moment. You never know when you’re going to get these precious moments back so it’s important to enjoy the present and appreciate life. The hustle culture kicks mindfulness out of the picture and soon we start living a mundane life.

Here’s how you can practice mindful living.

The alternative to hustle culture:

1. Adopt smart work

Instead of working hard the whole day, how about thinking out of the box and adopting smart work!! Quit working for longer hours and learn how to get more done in less time. Imagine having a to-do list of six different tasks and finishing it off in three hours instead of six just because you’re mindful.

You don’t even have to cross-check the work which saves your time. Accept the idea of working efficiently and effectively instead of looking at the hours you work. Do not count the hours you dedicate to your work, instead be mindful of what you’re accomplishing in that time-span. Leave the idea of overworking and determining the work done according to the length of time and adopt the concept of effectiveness.

The hustle culture will force you to keep doing instead of being mindful.

2. Shift your mindset

Society made us believe how necessary it is to adopt hustle culture and we have been believing it forever. Ask yourself; does the number of working hours equals productivity? This is all we have been fed since childhood and it can be challenging to have a mindset shift.

Are you working hard or you are just addicted to being busy? Sometimes, it’s necessary to take a step back and rest, instead of doing and doing all day. You built this life to live it fully, do not let this charm of hustling and grinding snatch away the worldly pleasures and the peace within.

When I used to see everyone around me hustling and working on different projects while I used to love sitting in nature and ponder over its magic, it used to make me feel weird. Was I not dedicated to my work or interested in the job I was doing?

The answer was totally different; I never wanted to sacrifice those little things in life just because I was told to hustle hard. I hope you set healthy boundaries and shift your mindset around hustle culture.

3. Have a work-life balance

Establish healthy boundaries when it comes to having a work-life balance. With everything changing rapidly and while adopting a work from home lifestyle; it’s much needed to have a proper balance and know that you don’t cross the boundaries.

This could be as simple as setting fixed working hours and not checking emails or work-related texts after those decided hours, have a refreshing routine, take breaks, create a list according to priority, and so on. These simple yet effective tips are more than enough to establish a work-life balance and kick away this idea of hustling the whole day.

Here’s how you can maintain a work-life balance.

4. Hustle ≠ Success

As I shared earlier, while in school I always used to believe that the longer the hours you study, the higher the grades you achieve. This was total nonsense. You need to understand the thin line between working the whole day and being effective while you work. I have seen people working super hard yet not being able to accomplish a single task.

This is simply because they are not mindful about their work, they are not present in the moment. Understand that there are more than one ways of being successful in life and hustle culture isn’t in any of those. Hustle doesn’t mean success. Period.

5. Practice self-care

How about taking a day off to pamper yourself?

Go for a walk, take a hot bubble bath, practice meditation, dance your heart out, learn a new language, bring out the artist within, get lost in some old hobbies, play an instrument, or just do nothing without feeling guilty about it. Practicing self-care is your way of showing love to your mind and body and I hope you appreciate yourself every single day for doing all the work.

Here’s the list of self-care ideas when you’re alone. 

The downside of hustle culture – conclusion

I can totally understand how important it is to strive and work hard in this overly competitive world. However, I hope we can mark a thin line between working hard and hustling and know how truly dangerous this hustle culture is for our health and society.

Let’s give a better concept of reaching our goals and practicing self-care to the next generation by adapting the same. I would so love to know your views on the hustle culture and how has it changed your lifestyle in the comments below.

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