Avoid The “Hustle Culture,” Because Working 10 To 12 Hours A Day Is Toxic To Your Mental And Physical Health

Avoid The “Hustle Culture,” Because Working 10 To 12 Hours A Day Is Toxic To Your Mental And Physical Health
Image by Tima Miroshnichenko / Pexels

Have you ever felt like a walking zombie, or maybe a robot on autopilot just floating through life without actually being present? Yes, you are getting work done, being productive and beating deadlines, but when was the last time you had 8 hours of sleep? When was the last time you actually went outside? If you can’t even remember when you did simple, mundane things that are not related to work, maybe it’s time to take a break from the “hustle”.

An article by Forbes describes the hustle culture as “The collective urge we currently seem to feel as a society to work harder, stronger, faster. To grind and exert ourselves at our maximum capacity, every day, and accomplish our goals and dreams at a lightning speed that matches the digital world we’ve built around ourselves.”

It's a mindset embraced by so many people, especially millennials and Gen Zs, that devotes every waking moment to working, checking emails after-hours (admit it, you’re guilty too), and not being able to turn off that “rise and grind” button even on weekends.

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Entrepreneurs romanticize this mindset

At age 25, American author Grant Cardone was deep in debt while working in sales. He says that he built his multi-million dollar fortune by working 14 hours a day. “Most people work 9 to 5. I work 95 hours (per week). If you ever want to be a millionaire, you need to stop doing the 9 to 5 and start doing 95.”

And he’s not the only millionaire who believes that burning yourself out is the “key” to success.

Founder and CEO of VaynerMedia, Gary Vaynerchuk, says that for a start-up business to be successful, founders should work at least 18 hours a day for the first year.

“You have made a decision that does not allow you, in Year One, any time to do anything but build your business,” he says. “Every minute — call it 18 hours a day out of 24 — if you want this to be successful, needs to be allocated for your business.”

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, known for her tireless work ethic, was once a Google employee in 1999, when she worked more than 130 hours per week. In an interview with Bloomberg, she says, “Could you work 130 hours in a week? The answer is yes, if you’re strategic about when you sleep, when you shower, and how often you go to the bathroom. The nap rooms at Google were there because it was safer to stay in the office than walk to your car at 3 a.m. For my first five years, I did at least one all-nighter a week, except when I was on vacation—and the vacations were few and far between.”

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Why this is harmful

Marissa’s advice may look helpful at first, but imagine having to schedule your bathroom breaks and being “strategic” about when you can take a bath?

In today’s society, “the grind” equals money, success, and recognition. However, these can have lasting effects on your mental, physical, and emotional health too.

A 2017 study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine confirms that working 61 to 70 hours per week increases your risk of heart disease (the leading cause of death worldwide) by 42%, and working 71 to 80 hours per week increases it by 63%.

Another study published in 2014 says that high job demands combined with low job control can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 45%.

Aside from these physical effects, exhaustion can also lead to burnout, which then can lead to severe mental conditions.

28-year-old Alyssa, a website developer, was diagnosed with major depression when she was 24.

“My previous job demanded more than 60 hours of work per week. Sobrang toxic pa ng work culture because your bosses make you feel like you don’t have the right to be exhausted,shares Alyssa. “One Friday I was rushed to the ER because I felt really dizzy and was vomiting. I was overfatigued.”

Alyssa had to resign from her work after her stay at the hospital. “After I resigned, parang lagi ako malungkot nun. Siguro kasi hindi ako sanay na walang ginagawa, parang feeling ko nag-fail ako sa buhay. Kasi nga naka-depende sa trabaho yung tingin ko sa ‘success.’

She started going to therapy and taking small steps to take better care of her mental health. “I have a new job now. Mas inaalagaan nila ang employees nila. I get to rest on weekends, and I have better work-life boundaries.”

Social media plays a part

Being in the middle of the pandemic, social media is the only thing that connects us to other people. Scroll through your Facebook timeline and you’ll see at least one post captioned “The grind never stops!” with hashtag #hustle.

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with posting your achievements (in fact, you should be proud of them!), glamorizing the toxic and harmful mindset that you have to work until your bodycan’t take it anymore is a completely different story.

You are more than your job

At the end of the day, your job is only one aspect of your life. It’s okay to hit the snooze button every once in a while, it’s okay if there are days when you feel less than 100%, and it’s definitely okay to rest.

“The grind never stops” is a lie. You’re human, too.

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