Say No to Work When You Are Enduring Burnout and Depression

March 24, 2022 Mahevash Shaikh

In my previous post, I wrote about working less to cope with a surge in depression. Soon after, I realized that I was not only more depressed than usual, but I was also experiencing severe burnout. In fact, I have never burned out to such a degree in my life, and honestly, it's terrifying. But now that I have a potent cocktail of burnout and depression to deal with, I have strengthened my resolve to rest well.

Burnout and Depression Caused by Hustle Culture

I believe that many of us come from cultures where working to the point of exhaustion is considered a virtue, and working reasonable hours is a sign of laziness. The be-productive-always school of thought was force-fed to me in school, college, and everywhere else. Social approval ensured that chronic busyness often ended up in conversations, and many peers gave in to win validation. And I guess capitalism is thriving partly due to this flawed mindset.

Even though I do not believe in hustle culture and find it toxic, years of social conditioning have affected my mind to some extent. It is why I feel guilty about making time for much-needed rest. I know it's the right thing to do, but I cannot shut down the voice in my head that says I should push through and keep working. The fact that many overworked people I know are resorting to unhealthy coping mechanisms like binge drinking instead of taking time off from work has not made my decision easier. I am not being judgmental; such only reflects a broken system. Many people cannot afford to work less even if they want to, and it's heartbreaking.

Choose Rest to Recover from Burnout and Depression

Fortunately, I can afford to reduce my workload for some time, if not totally eliminate it. So, every single day, I tell myself to ignore my irrational guilt and others' opinions and rest as much as possible. On hard days, I remind myself that I owe it to my mental and physical health to prioritize rest. If you are in a similar predicament as me, check out the video below for some tips to turn down work so that you can manage depression and burnout.

By turning down work when you are struggling to function, you may even empower your coworkers to follow suit. And remember, even if nobody says it, rest is a human right.

APA Reference
Shaikh, M. (2022, March 24). Say No to Work When You Are Enduring Burnout and Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 from

Author: Mahevash Shaikh

Mahevash Shaikh is a millennial blogger, author, and poet who writes about mental health, culture, and society. She lives to question convention and redefine normal. You can find her at her blog and on Instagram and Facebook.

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