Avoiding ‘Millenial Burnout’

This blog is aimed at those who, for whatever reason, are finding it hard to cope. Especially when living in London, the breakneck pace of city life can suffocate our own ability to recognise if we ourselves are moving at a pace we cannot sustain. For those in the rat-race today, the work/life balance has been bastardised thanks to our phones.

Known as ‘always on’ culture, even out of work you might surreptitiously check your work emails… Dr Christine Grant, an occupational psychologist at Coventry University’s Centre for Research in Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement, told the BBC: “The negative impacts of this ‘always on’ culture are that your mind is never resting, you’re not giving your body time to recover, so you’re always stressed. “And the more tired and stressed we get, the more mistakes we make. Physical and mental health can suffer.”

Since the phenomenon was first considered by BuzzFeed writer Anne Helen Petersen in her much-shared article on the subject, ‘Millennial Burnout’ has been considered in a series of articles. ‘Burnout’ is essentially exhaustion. The Oxford English Dictionary defines burnout as ‘the state of being extremely tired or ill, either physically or mentally, because you have worked too hard’. Personally, I prefer the somewhat more descriptive definition of burnout found on the Urban Dictionary website; ‘a state of emotional and physical exhaustion caused by a prolonged period of stress and frustration; an inevitable corporate condition characterised by frequent displays of unprofessional behaviour and a blithe refusal to do any work.’

In her groundbreaking essay, Anne Helen Peterson is sympathetic. She excuses Millennials from apparently lazy or entitled behaviour — “ghosting” from jobs, chronic tardiness, not scheduling dentist appointments or registering to vote — on the grounds that our energy has been depleted coping with the anxieties of daily life.

Though not technically a millennial, I am considered to be part of the ‘Snowflake Generation’. A group of apparently hapless young adults who struggle with the responsibilities of daily life. I don’t want to talk about the stories which tabloid headlines focus on; such as those of ‘Adulting Classes’, where millennials are taught how to use an oven and replace a light-bulb. This narrative serves no purpose. I believe that thanks to the internet, young adults are experiencing a more diverse set of pressures than previous generations. Many of these issues are simple and have simple, workable solutions; such as social media. Switching off. Don’t be ‘always on’.Solutions?

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