How Hustle Culture Harmed My Health

Last week, a friend shared a fact with me. The nugget was, if you work 10% more, you will earn 40% more. While this fact might motivate someone, it triggered me, and here is why. Hustle culture harmed my health!

I am a recovering busy addict. I used to get off on the achievements, accomplishments and smashing of goals at whatever cost. However, it cost me my health and wellbeing. 

Back in 2015, I started listening to Gary Vee’s audiobooks and YouTube vlogs. Now, I am not here to bash Gary Vee at all, the guy talks sense, and there are times when we need some motivation. However, I got sucked into the hustle culture and became unbalanced and emotionally burnt out. 

Why? Because I was busy, going fast, in the wrong direction and ignoring my inner guidance. We are responsible for what we consume online, and I would eat hustle quotes for breakfast! I misread the message, I overworked, over shared, but I learnt a big lesson. 

What to look for when shopping for a sewing machine

Channel Your Energy In The Right Place

You see, working 10% more might apply in some industries. However, in freelance and small businesses, to work 10% more on a project does not always equal a return. 

However, spending 10% more time on tasks that push the needle for your business will result in a return. Knowing where and how to use your energy is key. Maybe you need to use that 10% extra time to rest? Being present and well-rested will give you more return in the long run.

Why Are You Busy?

A few years ago, I became the girl that when asked how I was, I would reply “so busy”. It was true, but I was busy but busy being busy. I wasn’t making time for myself, and being busy was a distraction. During the time I was overworking and burning out, I was also going through a traumatic relationship break down. I used overworking and success revenge as a way of coping. What happens when you try to run from your feelings? 

They catch up with you, and fast! They manifest as physical symptoms. I would see these messages popping up on your newsfeed, “I’ve been really lucky because I bleed out of my eyes every day and work my fucking face off” – Gary Vee. Seeing these messages made me suck back into the overworking mindset. 

You see, I did not feel like I was overworking or burning out because I was “Hustling”. Everyone else seemed to be doing it. Everyone seemed to be working full time with a second or third side business. So, why can I? 

I learned two great lessons during this period. Being busy kept me numb to other areas of my life that were falling apart. It also highlighted my people-pleasing tendencies. I emptied my cup for others until I had nothing left to give. 

Do Not Compare Your Beginning To Someone Else’s Middle

The dangers of social media are, we do not see the full picture. I noticed that some of the accounts promoting hustle culture had multiple assistance and large teams helping them. 

If you are a team of one, do not try and churn out and compete with large companies. This applies to all industries. With social media, we can see the shop window of a person or business. We do not get a full picture of what is going on behind the scenes, so comparing yourself to their shop window is not fair to you or them. 

Celebrate instead of compare. I love seeing businesses and people grow, and creating employment is a great feeling. Compete against yourself. Take small steps to get better each day and put your blinkers on to everyone else. We all suffer from comparison. I do not know one person that has not looked to see what others are doing. However, take the inspiration and leave the envy and get back to you. 

Hustle Fraudsters?

I discovered that some of the people promoting the hustling lifestyle had rented their riches, from borrowing a fancy car for a photoshoot, photoshopped travel pics to fake images of cash on beds, and I began to smell bullshit.

Like I said above, we are responsible for what we consume online. Social media can be an echo chamber. When we engage in a topic, the algorithm will serve us more of that. Quickly our feeds can be flooded with one-sided opinions and views. 

Yes, people make money from our insecurities. When we are in a vulnerable place, we are easy to sell to. When I was in a state of burnout, it was not an extra book or podcast I needed. It was the opposite. What I needed was to rest in the real world and to step off the hustle train.  


We both have masculine and feminine energy within us. Masculine energy takes action, and feminine energy creates. These energies balance each other like a Ying Yang symbol. 

When I look back at the time when I consumed so much around hustle culture. I notice that a lot of the content I consumed was unbalanced masculine energy. My masculine energy became toxic and unbalanced. I ignored my feminine energy that encourages less doing and more being. 

When I am passionate about something, I can go full force at it. I am also an early bird by nature, so 6 am starts are no problem for me. However, in the past year, I have become more self-aware of how I work and the importance of rest. Learn your rhythm, are you an early bird or a night owl. 

I am also more discerning about the things I consume online. From doing inner work, I realised that the achievement addiction stemmed from my childhood. By working with people I trust, I have been able to heal this. I am now more self-aware of when I am becoming unbalanced and when I need a reset. 

There will be seasons where I will be achieving and then there will be seasons when I am resting and I am okay with that. 

Hustle Culture and how it can harm your help.

Be kind!

Be kind! When consuming social media, we see people in their different seasons. Some people are launching and having wins in their business and others are in their Winter season when they are less doing and more resting. 

There is no right or wrong. Each to their own and their journey.

Sadly, I saw productive people (and people resting ) being shamed. If someone triggers you because they are doing or not doing, that is your responsibility and not theirs. Do your inner work before shaming someone else. 

I could easily write a post blaming every hustle account for my burnout, but, it was me who caused it not them. We are responsible for what we consume on and offline. 

Rest, Rhythms and Cycles

This year, I have been reading lots of books that talk about feminine energy. One thing that struck me was the importance of cycles and rhythms in nature. 

We have four seasons, the moon has a monthly cycle and my feminine body has a monthly cycle. I am learning to honour that. We live in a masculine energy world, where doing is rewarded. We wash pain killers down with coffee when we are crippled with PMS so we don’t look weak.

We hold back tears when something touches us because we fear being seen as soft. I have started to ask myself, what is wrong with being soft?, what is wrong with resting when I have my period and saying no to the demands of others? Nothing, but we have grown up with these beliefs that I am starting to shed because they no longer serve me. 

I am learning to listen to my body and work more intuitively, and I now say no more frequently. I feel empowered and relieved to take back time for myself. 

If You Have Felt Burnt Out By Hustle Culture, Here Are Some Tips 

  • Mute, unfollow and clean out your social media feeds. Please be compassionate when doing this, its easy to blame someone else for them making you feel a certain way, but you are responsible for what you consume. Lean into what triggers you, as there is a lesson to be found within.
  • Follow accounts that promote both productivity and rest and are more relatable to you and your business or lifestyle. 
  • Listen to your body, and if you need three coffees and a late night to get your work done, re-look at your workload and workflow and incorporate rest.
  • Honour your feminine cycle. By tracking my cycle I know the times in my cycle when I have loads of energy and times when I need to retreat and be kinder to myself. 
  • Seasons, every project and idea has a season. We plant seeds in Spring, watch them grow in Summer and harvest them in Autumn. In a world of instant results, I have started to pause and allow things to have time. 
  • Boundaries, check out this post on digital boundaries
  • Daily journaling, for the past year, I have been doing morning journaling. It helps me to see areas where I need to focus. I also love the feeling of dumping all my thoughts out, and then I do not have to carry the weight of them around all day. 
  • Triggered? Lean into it. What is it trying to tell you?

Please Share

I am not here to shame anyone who participates in the hustle culture, nowadays, we have enough shame to deal with. With everything going on in the world, I wanted to share this piece in the hopes it helps someone that is on the brink of burnout. 

I am writing this post to highlight the dangers of over-consuming the hustle culture narrative and channelling your energy in the wrong direction. I want to highlight the importance of rest in a world that seems to be on 24/7. 

If you found this post helpful, please share it with someone who might benefit from reading it. You can find more lifestyle posts here, including this one about the importance of digital boundaries. Check out this video I shared in December too. Thanks for reading, Chat soon, Catherine. 



  1. Debbie
    April 14, 2021 / 1:03 pm

    Thank you Catherine for such an honest post. Debbie xxx

  2. daintydressdiaries
    April 14, 2021 / 1:11 pm

    Thanks so much for reading Debbie ❤️

  3. Louise
    April 14, 2021 / 8:50 pm

    Worded perfectly, Not only is this something I needed to read for myself personally but also as a parent. Trying to parent in a musculine society is hard. This has made me start thinking how I will teach my boys about seasons and femline engery. Thank you

  4. daintydressdiaries
    April 16, 2021 / 4:58 pm

    Thanks for reading Louise! I’m glad you got value from it x

  5. Brona
    April 18, 2021 / 9:59 am

    Catherine well done, a fantastic piece, one that needs to be read by many. It has definitely made me open my eyes a bit! Your a brilliant person!

  6. Grace
    April 18, 2021 / 10:51 am

    So well put together, an excellent read! I needed to read this today…newborn/toddler/2step kids/partner/house/dog/partner/teacher…always busy busy! I’ll be sharing this!

  7. daintydressdiaries
    April 18, 2021 / 11:42 am

    Thank you so much for reading Brona ❤️❤️❤️

  8. daintydressdiaries
    April 18, 2021 / 11:42 am

    I’m glad you got some value from it Grace, thanks for reading ❤️

  9. April 18, 2021 / 6:47 pm

    Thank you so much for this Catherine! There’s so much focus on the hustle/productivity mindset – being very busy but not achieving much! Like you I had burnout and it made me re-evaluate so much in my life. Like you say, we needn’t use all of our energy chasing some unachievable goal, losing sight of who we really are. I loved this post, you put it into words perfectly! 🙂

  10. daintydressdiaries
    April 18, 2021 / 6:49 pm

    Thank you so much for reading Sal ❤️ I’m so glad you found it relatable ❤️

  11. Alison
    April 18, 2021 / 8:07 pm

    I loved this post, it really takes strength to take back honouring our nature as women, and also to acknowledge numbing our hurt manifests in illness and we deserve better, giving the extra 10% to ourselves is beneficial 100%.

  12. April 18, 2021 / 9:52 pm

    Dear Catherine, I follow you and admire your creativity and your honesty so much !
    Thank you for sharing this, less stress and more enjoyment of what’s in front of us ( living in the now) sometimes a
    juggling act but so good to aspire to, ty so much for sharing your thoughts and encouragement
    have inspired me and reminded me to choose more wisely !!!! all such
    a good way to go forward…
    thanks so much! <3 love, from Canada! <3

  13. Lisa
    April 18, 2021 / 10:20 pm

    Thank you! As the pandemic draws to an end, I feel blessed to return to full time hours at work. I’m a bit anxious about impending social obligations as I really enjoyed the quiet time to work on projects, read, hike with my dog. I put in a flower bed border and planted a ton of tulips among other diy projects. I find diy projects recharging – especially spring gardening. I’ve definitely learned that I need to say no to social invitations – take time for me and my goals. And, sit and read a book or watch movies and not feel guilty.

  14. Dace
    April 19, 2021 / 9:39 am

    Thank you Catherine ! Such a good and needed read.

  15. Tina Gogo
    April 19, 2021 / 7:57 pm

    I wish I had your insight when I was younger. I wouldn’t have burnt out so fast!

  16. April 26, 2021 / 10:22 pm

    This is a really great post and it needed to be said. As a recovering busy addict too, when people tell me to work harder, I used to listen. Now, I need to tell myself the opposite. Thank you for sharing this.

  17. daintydressdiaries
    April 27, 2021 / 6:23 am

    Thanks for reading Carol, I am so happy to hear it resonated with you x

  18. Milly
    May 12, 2021 / 7:32 pm

    Hi Catherine I have recently found yr you tube blogs and find you so inspirational grounded, normal and authentic. You have inspired me to kick start my creativity and have also made me feel able to have strength to achieve my goals. It is so lovely to watch someone who is genuine as many influencers appear less so. May God bless you

  19. daintydressdiaries
    May 18, 2021 / 6:30 am

    Thank you so much for your kindness and support Milly! X

  20. Vicki Mason
    May 21, 2021 / 12:57 pm

    Good morning from Ohio, USA
    I read this for the 1st time this morning and immediately shared it with my daughter who is 41.
    I told her that I wish I would have had this figured out by the time I was 40. I do know it now… you put into words exactly how I feel now at 61. I also was part of a “hustle culture” before it was called that. I’m so glad I finally learned to “live in the moment” — you know what? I did slow down and relax and I still have everything I “need” to live… plus several things I just “want” because they make me smile!
    Thanks for being you Catherine…. 💕V

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