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Is Hustle Culture Becoming Burnout Culture?

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Is Hustle Culture Becoming Burnout Culture?

By Tahnee Donkin

As women, we often feel pressured to be everything to everyone. We’re hustling to prove ourselves in an unrealistic attempt to be superwoman. Don’t get me wrong, as women we CAN have it all… but burnout isn’t sexy. If we’re too exhausted to enjoy it, is all that success really worth having? Is hustle culture becoming burnout culture?


Burnout can be physical, emotional and behavioural. Have you ever experienced a loss of motivation, feeling tired and drained most of the time, a sense of failure and self-doubt, or a change in appetite or sleep habits? If so, chances are you’ve already experienced burnout, as HelpGuide lists these as just a few of the signs and symptoms. Awareness is important, but there are steps we can take to prevent burnout and minimise its impact. Prevention is better than a cure, and it revolves around self care. It’s time we realise self care is the prerequisite for living your best life.

Unrealistic Expectations

We’re all striving to have the perfect life. We aspire to be like the women we see in books, films and social media who have their shit together. They have the career, the body, the friends and followers... but what you’re really seeing is a highlight reel. We don’t see what goes on behind the scenes… The years of hard work, the failures, lessons, the blood sweat and tears that went into creating the vision of success.


I had a wake up call at age 23. A time when I thought I was young and invincible. I was a Personal Trainer working over 90 hours per week, while barely sleeping and somehow managing to maintain a social life. There were warning signs that things weren’t as peachy as they appeared. I lost my vision twice, where the gym went black and I couldn’t see anything for at least 30 minutes. Did I slow down? No… My attitude was to suck it up and deal with it, until I ended up in the emergency department suffering from a suspected stroke.


In the hospital, I had a lot of time to think. My body was telling me to slow down, and I had been ignoring it. Every late night and early morning, everything I said “yes” to all added up, and my body decided enough was enough… It was time to stop. The thing is, my experience is not unique. I’ve since met multiple women with similar stories. The impact of trying to be everything to everyone can be devastating. It’s time we stop ignoring the warning signs and start listening to our bodies.


Kinga Cichewicz


The Rise Of Hustle Culture

Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk said “Wake up before everybody else and work into the night. Hustle.” Taylor’s University defines hustle culture as the state of overworking to the point where it becomes a lifestyle. It appears everyone is hustling these days, and social media has largely influenced this culture of overworking.


Scrolling through social media, it’s easy to fall in love with the perfectly curated feeds of people who appear to be living their best life. What may start off as #goals and #inspo quickly becomes jealousy, and all of a sudden we’re experiencing FOMO… a fear of missing out. The phenomenon is on the rise with 69% of millennials experiencing FOMO, according to a survey by Harris Poll on behalf of Eventbrite. It’s a distraction from what really matters to us, and it’s impacting our lives in different ways. A study by Citizen Relation found that the top emotions associated with FOMO are:

39% envy

30% jealousy

29% happiness

21% sadness and disappointment


The problem is FOMO has us chasing goals that aren’t even our own, and it’s making us miserable. Perhaps FOMO is the fear we need to let go of, as hustle culture is rapidly becoming burnout culture. It can be easy to overcommit and take on too much in an attempt to meet unrealistic expectations.



Nathan Dumlao


Achieve Your Goals, Minus The Burnout

When flying, we learn to put our own oxygen mask on first in case of emergency. The same rule applies to life. We need to take care of ourselves first, before we can best serve others. Self care isn’t selfish, it’s maintaining your physical, mental and emotional health so you can be the best version of you in all aspects of life.


Here are five simple tips for self care and wellbeing. Creating habits around them can help prevent and overcome burnout. For the overachievers out there (yes I’m talking to you), the aim isn’t to do it all. Listen to your body and let it guide you with what it needs.


  • Take some time out - Remove all distractions. Put down your phone, turn off the TV and radio and allow yourself to just be with your thoughts for at least 10 mins per day. If the thought of meditation stresses you out, this is a great alternative with similar benefits.

  • Get active - Moving your body can improve your posture, mood and energy levels. Let your body guide the intensity, as an intense workout can overload an already stressed system. A light walk is sometimes more effective than a HIIT session.

  • Rest up - Nothing can replace a good night's sleep. You’ll be mentally, physically and emotionally better prepared for your day. Rest can help reduce the need for extra caffeine, sugar and other stimulants that contribute to stress in the body. Caffeine is not the answer!

  • Fuel and hydrate your body - It’s easy to rely on UberEats when we’re busy and stressed, but processed foods can add extra stress to your digestive system. Never underestimate the power of nourishing your body with nutrient dense foods and drinking adequate water each day.

  • Know when to say “no” - The most powerful words you’ll use in your life are “yes” and “no”. It’s time to hang up your people pleasing boots and to understand your true value. Ask, is it really serving you? Does it align with your goals and values? If not, it’s ok to say “no”.


Practising these five rituals will help ensure you have the energy, drive and time to achieve the goals that are most important to you. They can improve your focus and bring you back to your “why”; your true purpose.



Radu Florin


I’ve come a long way since landing in the emergency department early in my fitness career… But I have a confession to make. I still fall into the trap from time to time and head down the path of burnout. What’s changed is I’ve learned to listen to my body and to recognise the signs of burnout. I’ve learned when to say “no” and when to stop, and I get better and better at it each time. We’re never immune from burnout, but we can take steps to get better at avoiding and managing it.


Why are we killing ourselves to live up to society’s expectations of women? Hustle culture may be becoming burnout culture, but it’s not a road we need to travel down. Do yourself a favour and leave the hustle behind... Your physical and mental health depends on it. Refocus your FOMO, because the only FOMO worth having is fear of missing out on achieving your own goals. It’s time to take a step back, work out what we truly want, and create daily rituals that help us remain well. Burnout isn’t sexy, and self care could be the secret to living your best life.

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