6 Critical Steps To Take When You're Ready To Quit Overworking & Stop Burnout

Hustle culture has encouraged people to overwork almost to the point of collapse. It's unhealthy and it's counterproductive.

woman focused on working dimaberlinphotos | Canva

Success has become synonymous with burnout and unhealthy work habits have become a badge of honor. We burn the midnight oil and sacrifice sleep and well-being all in the name of productivity.

Why did we start doing this to ourselves and when did busyness become the end goal of life? When did overworking become normal?

Recent studies suggest nearly 60% of Americans feel burnt out, which is now a socially accepted part of the 'American Dream'.


From a mental health perspective, this relentless culture of busyness and burnout has outlived its welcome. This mindset isn't just counterproductive; it's harmful.

RELATED: Are You A Workaholic? How To Stop Obsessing Over Your Job & Material Possessions


How to stop overworking & break this toxic cycle

1. Say 'No' to work hustle culture.

We're all caught in the gravitational pull of 'Work Hustle' culture. From the office to our social media feeds, the narrative of "work more, do more" is drummed into our heads on an alarmingly regular basis.

Even Instagram feeds the hustle with perfectly framed snapshots of laptops in coffee shops and inspirational quotes urging us to "hustle harder." Yet, beneath the surface lies a dark truth: the glorification of overworking is leaving a trail of shattered mental health and disrupted relationships.

2. Stop falling for the toxic trap.

Many of us have been socially conditioned to equate long hours with success. "I'm so busy" has become the modern-day status symbol, but the logic is twisted: the busier you are, the less time you have to spend living life on your own terms.

The busier you are, the less time you have for connection, joy and relaxation - the true cornerstones of happiness and well-being. Think about it: when was the last time you heard someone brag about their work-life balance rather than their jam-packed schedule?


Isn't it high time we start celebrating our mental tranquility and the moments we spend with loved ones as the genuine markers of accomplishment?

RELATED: Hustle Culture: Why You Need To Give Yourself Permission To Rest

3. Understand overworking to survive vs overworking for 'success'.

Before I venture any further down this rabbit hole, there's an elephant in the room that needs to be called out.

Overworking for survival is unavoidable for many people, and that's not the issue I'm addressing here.

As a mental health professional, I'd like to validate that for many individuals, the need to work tirelessly is not a choice, but a necessity for survival. Economic disparities and systemic challenges can force some to endure long hours and multiple jobs to make ends meet. That's a different problem entirely: one I can empathize with, and one that absolutely needs to be addressed on a larger scale.


However, struggling for survival is different from 'Work Hustle' mentality, which often revolves around a misguided pursuit of status and success. The reality is: many people who have the luxury and privilege to rest, recharge and attain work life balance are still burning themselves out.

It's time we start to ask ourselves "Why?"

4, Rethink the definition of success.

Imagine a world where "How are you?" elicits responses like "I'm content," "I'm balanced," or even "I'm well-rested." That might sound like a utopian reverie, but it's entirely possible — and it starts with us stepping off the hamster wheel of doing more.

Embracing a more holistic perspective on success doesn't mean relinquishing ambition. It means understanding peak performance can't thrive in a vacuum of self-neglect. The truly successful individuals of our time are those who value their well-being as much as their work goals.


One of the first steps towards change is dispelling the myth that 'Work Hustle' culture is sustainable. Burnout isn't a testament to dedication; it's a sign of a system gone awry.

Sleep deprivation and relentless stress can't be the foundation of a thriving career — or a fulfilling life. In fact, burnout can lead to serious mental health issues, such as addiction, depress, anxiety disorders and more. Your mental health is your greatest asset, not a liability.

Productivity isn't about how many hours you put in; it's about how effectively you manage your time and energy. Taking regular breaks, pursuing hobbies, and spending time with loved ones aren't indulgences – they're essential components of maintaining a clear, focused mind.

Imagine a world where self-care isn't a trendy buzzword, but a fundamental pillar of our routines.


RELATED: 7 Things People Who Stay True To Themselves Have That Others Don't

5. Take small steps to challenge the status quo

Challenging the status quo, and changing your life doesn't happen overnight. But small steps can have a big impact.

Start by setting boundaries. Cultivate a habit of saying no to projects that drain your energy without offering fulfillment. Create a schedule that respects both your professional commitments and personal well-being.

Engage in self-care rituals, such as practicing mindfulness. Intentionally slowing down can be transformative. Carve out moments for self-reflection and prioritize activities to bring you joy.


6. Spend more time with people you care about 

Social connection is a critical part of mental health and fulfillment. Embrace vulnerability and normalize conversations about mental health in your workplace.

Every big shift begins with small steps, and the time has come for us for us to reevaluate the archaic notion of success we've been conditioned to adopt.

The true essence of a life well-lived isn't found in burning out to achieve fleeting moments of recognition. A good life is found in nurturing a sustainable lifestyle that nourishes both our ambitions and our souls.

Isn't a life truly well-lived the greatest success of all?

RELATED: The Seven Spiritual Laws Of Success Only The Most Accomplished People Know


Blair Nastasi is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (AMFT), CEO of an international PR agency, and proud San Diego resident. She is a freelance writer, and self-proclaimed force to be reckoned with.