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Get Off the Work Grind, It’s Killing You

You’ve likely heard or seen the phrases: “On that early morning grind again!” or “Working those side hustles!” They are also usually followed by a fairly lengthy motivational speech mentioning exhaustion, stress, and the many sacrifices for sweet, sweet success. This is particularly noticeable with millennials, and it’s troubling for a number of reasons.

Many people often praise this extreme work grind and glorify it via social media, but it’s time to unpack the normalization of an overworked culture and standard. Millennials are being stretched thinner and thinner, and their mental and physical health is suffering because of it.

Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place

While it is praiseworthy to be highly motivated and willing to work hard for your dreams, we need to start asking ourselves why so many young adults have to work two (sometimes three) jobs in order to make ends meet or work extremely long, draining hours each week. Sure, you might be on that work grind, but you haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in months. You have side hustles that allow you to afford the nicer things in life, but you don’t have any time to spend with your friends or family.

It’s also important to consider the pressures placed on millennials in the workforce. Many are expected to go above and beyond, and not because a promotion is at stake, but because those high, exhausting expectations are slowly becoming the bar at which employees are expected to perform at. Furthermore, millennials might also feel hesitant to try new, more effective methods at work considering the necessity of financial security, which makes the risk of getting fired too threatening.

In this shaky economy, it’s hard to speak up or slow down. While there are legal safety nets for employees, we are in a society that is all about doing rather than being: If you aren’t doing, you aren’t trying hard enough. In order to get ahead, you have to be willing to give up your personal life completely and worry less about your health. This results in a lot of workplace anxiety and health concerns.

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Overworked Is Not a Good Look

According to experts at Healthline, being perpetually overworked can potentially kill you. They tell us, “People who worked 55 hours a week were 16 percent more likely to develop risk for heart attack when compared to those who worked 45 hours a week. People who put in a 65-hour workweek saw their risk increase by 33 percent.”

It’s also necessary to take into account how mental health is affected by working too much. Stress can be extremely hard on your body and mind, and if you’re constantly stressed and dealing with anxiety from work, you can’t even enjoy the few days you have off, creating an endless, unhealthy cycle.

What’s also concerning is that despite these stressful jobs, access to mental healthcare is still limited in some companies. Overworked and underserved, millennials could face a serious health crisis if something doesn’t change soon. While there isn’t a quick fix for this problem, we can start by stopping the glorification of the exhausting work grind and acknowledge that it’s just as important and praiseworthy to take breaks and find a healthy work-life balance.

What To Do As An Employer

It’s also going to be vital for business owners and managers to start working towards reducing workplace anxieties and stress. Experts at Quickbooks suggest a few ways companies can start limiting the amount of stress affecting employees:

  • Be transparent. Keep employees informed about changes within the organization, which helps to reduce the stress and uncertainty of not knowing what’s going on.
  • Don’t overload yourself or employees with work. As a general gauge, if the work cannot be completed within normal working hours, it’s too much.
  • Ask employees for input. Provide opportunities for your staff to participate in the decision-making process — especially when it involves scheduling, workload, and rules.
  • Cultivate a positive work environment. Create ways for employees to socialize, but don’t force socialization. Never tolerate workplace bullying or harassment.

Change isn’t always easy, but in regards to employee health and wellness, it’s essential. Praising and rewarding an individual’s hard work is important, but it also shouldn’t have to come at the cost of their well-being.

The message here is not to discourage you from going after your goals or putting in extra effort at work, rather, it’s time to acknowledge the toxic culture behind the work grind. It’s just as valuable and important to take time for yourself and your health. While job security and financial stability are extremely important, letting your work eat away at your body and mind can be harmful with some serious repercussions.

Finding a company that values both your skills as an employee and your health can be challenging but ultimately essential. Hopefully, by recognizing the importance of healthy, happy employees companies will follow suit and begin transforming their workplace environment and overall expectations to be more mindful of the mental and physical health of their employees.

By Alex Quayle

Alex Quayle has her degree in Creative Writing and puts it to use as a writer for the internet. She can never say no to coffee, doughnuts, and good conversation. One day, she hopes to own a home in the Pacific Northwest with her partner, cat, and dwarf hamster. Connect with her here on Twitter.


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