A “toxic” hustle culture emerging on TikTok

A newly emerging ‘5 to 9’ trend has TikTok users filming their pre and post-work routines with an emphasis on how to make the most of your time outside of your working life.

The hashtag ‘5to9’ boasts 63.6M views on the video streaming platform, promoting a life of hyper-productivity. However, experts warn that when an individual is excessively productive, it can lead to burnout- which as we all know is dangerous to our mental well-being.

Martin Preston, Founder and Chief Executive at Private Rehab Clinic Delamere warns that this ‘toxic hustle culture’ is creating unrealistic expectations of how someone should be spending their time in order to be productive. Preston weighs in on the dangers of the 5-9 trend:

“This new TikTok trend that has surfaced over the past year is creating an unrealistic perception of what your day should look like before and after work. Despite already working 8 hours or more, the trend is suggesting people add more to the day to make it more fulfilling, these routines often include trips to the gym, yoga classes, cleaning the home, prepping food, meditating, going for a walk or reading a book. 

“At face value, these routines can look ‘healthy’ and productive, giving us a sense of achievement, and making us feel like we are making the most of our waking hours. “However, in reality, all this trend is doing, is promoting what is known as hyper-productivity, or toxic hustle-culture – the feeling in which a person has to work tirelessly or engage in radical self-improvement routines in order to be productive. 

“Not only that, but it creates the idea that it is a way of living that is easy to maintain, and will make those who see the trend feel pressured to either engage with it themselves or in turn feel like they aren’t doing enough in their day-to-day life. 

“Being overproductive can also lead to exhaustion. Our bodies need time to rest and re-energise after a long day at work. The 5-9 method is all about trying to fit more into our days – this limits the amount of time we have for sleep and relaxation. Neglecting your body’s needs by doing this is likely to lead to burnout, which in turn can create problems like stress, anxiety, insomnia, reduced performance at work and more.

“Despite the fact that this way of living means individuals increase their activities throughout the day and reduce the number of hours they have for sleep, it can actually cause people to become a lot less productive, making the entire culture itself extremely counterproductive. 

“While some people may be early risers and enjoy making the most of their morning before work or after work, it’s important to understand that the trend can be dangerous to your health, if not managed properly with sufficient breaks to give your body time to rest. 

“The 5 to 9 trend can create a toxic environment for guilt and shame, and the glorification can lead to severe cases of anxiety. The anxiety makes individuals feel that they have failed if they ever take a break. Anxiety can often lead to a plethora of other issues, including lack of sleep, fatigue, and exhaustion.

“It’s important that you do what feels right for your body. If you want to add a new activity to your daily routine, make sure it’s something that you enjoy and that you feel positive about it afterwards. You can create a new lifestyle for yourself that will improve your overall health and well-being, without overworking and following a toxic hustle culture way of living.”

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