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Why Idolizing “Hustle” Culture Can Be Toxic

As a first-year in college, I have constantly come across the trend of the “hustling” lifestyle, especially from millennials and Gen-Z. Hustle culture is an unfortunate societal standard where people think that constantly working will lead you to a life of success and help you achieve all of your ambitious professional goals. Essentially, people following hustle culture tend to glamorize hard work, which leads them to overwork themselves. 

While It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where this harmful mentality came from, constant media presence highlighting everyone’s greatest success is a clear contributor to this issue. It’s no surprise. People are constantly sharing their best moments on social media. Whether it be a job offer on Linkedin or a college reaction video on YouTube, people are always sharing their biggest accomplishments.  However, this may sometimes be harmful as it paints an inaccurate picture of their life. Specifically, social media only shows everyone’s life highlights while ignoring all the non-Instagram-worthy moments. 


Woman on instagram
Photo by Kate Torline from Unsplash

As everyone’s life is always flashing across your screen, it’s hard to remember the incompleteness of the story as you scroll through your Instagram feed. It’s easy to constantly feel like you need to be doing something productive at all times. Because of this, it’s common for people to start glamorizing the idea of hard work and the grind, as it seems that the harder you work the more successful you will be. Yet this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

While it is important to set ambitious goals for yourself and work hard, there’s a point where your level of hard work becomes unsustainable and will lead to burn-out. If someone is working so hard to the point where they are sacrificing their health, they may face long-term consequences. For example, not getting enough quality sleep or eating balanced meals may lead to physical health consequences in the future. On the other hand, not dedicating enough time for yourself could lead to mental health consequences as well. 


blonde woman with ponytail with her head in her hands leaning over a laptop
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

You should never ever sacrifice your physical, mental or emotional wellness to accomplish any professional goal. Your body and mind always come first. 

Balance is the key to long-term success, and it is definitely possible to achieve balance while still pursuing your professional goals. First, and most importantly, pay attention to your sleep. Always aim to have around 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night to ensure that your body gets enough rest and is able to rejuvenate itself for the next day. While the quantity of sleep is important, quality of sleep is also extremely important. Try to avoid checking your electronic devices too close to bedtime, and if you find yourself having difficulty sleeping most nights, try meditation or other relaxation techniques. 


person doing yoga exercises
Patrick Hendry/Unsplash

Diet and exercise are also important things to keep in mind. Even though it may be tempting to miss meals or reach for unhealthy options while you’re working, it’s important to try to replace these habits with simple yet healthy alternatives. For example, while cooking may seem time-consuming, there are so many quick and healthy recipes out there that you can tailor with your own ingredient preferences. Try searching up healthy 15-minute meal ideas or nutritious 5-ingredient recipes. 

Taking the time to improve your mental and physical health should always be your top priority. With simple yet effective habit changes, hustle culture can be overcome by everyone.   

Anya is a first-year economics major at UCLA and is a feature-writer for Her Campus. When she's not writing, she loves to scuba dive, go makeup shopping, and indulge in black sesame ice cream. She's obsessed with Disney movies and will 100% cry when watching Finding Nemo.
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