Have a Side Hustle? You May Be More Prone to Depression

February 26, 2021 Mahevash Shaikh

We are living in the age of the gig economy, but how are these side hustles affecting depression? 

According to Forbes, more and more people are freelancing due to the pandemic.1 With freelance life being highly uncertain, I know people who are looking for/working day jobs in addition to freelancing. Looking for a job is a full-time job in itself, but that's a topic for another day. It seems as if virtually everyone has a side hustle these days. While it can be monetarily and soulfully rewarding, having a side hustle may have a negative impact on depression. Let's see why. 

The Side Effects of Side Hustles

I define a side hustle as any work done in addition to a regular 9:00 to 5:00 job. It doesn't matter if you are working out of passion or to get additional income; any paid work done outside a traditional job constitutes a side hustle. For example, if you are working as a waitress and also writing social media posts for a brand, you are what I call a side hustler.

On the surface, this lifestyle may sound exciting and lucrative. But it takes serious time and effort to make your side hustle profitable. Plus, it needs to fit into your life so that you don't feel drained. You already have a stressful full-time job, which means you have considerably less time and energy than someone with a single stream of income. 

If you are someone who keeps pushing themselves to do more, you may find yourself running on very little sleep, self-care, and downtime. Overworking can cause stress, and high levels of stress can cause burnout. Little wonder then that "side hustle burnout" is a serious risk for people with more than one job. 

Preventing Side Hustle Burnout and Depression

Side hustle burnout is the same as regular burnout; the only difference is that it is caused due to the side hustle. Hustle culture is not healthy, but unfortunately, it is a forced reality for many of us today. Not all of us are paid enough to work only one job, and not all of us are lucky to even have a full-time job. 

If a side hustle is unavoidable, the next best thing you can do is be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Whether you are neurotypical or neurodivergent, everyone has limitations. Follow a schedule that is in sync with your energy levels and lifestyle. Some of us may be fine after working 12 hour days without a break, while some of us may need breaks every two hours to be functional. Own your limitations so you can work with them. Know your strengths so you can play to them. And most importantly, set clear boundaries and say no when you need to say no. 


  1. Henderson, R., "How COVID-19 Has Transformed the Gig Economy." Forbes, December 2020.

APA Reference
Shaikh, M. (2021, February 26). Have a Side Hustle? You May Be More Prone to Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 24 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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