First of all, am I even a part of the millennial generation? The boundary lines are pretty blurry and to be real, Generation Z can relate to this too.
Millennials have a reputation of being lazy, entitled, selfish and shallow. And most of all, we are failures at what's come to be known as "adulting," a word invented by millennials as a catchall for the tasks of existing after college. Adulting is hard because life is difficult: you have to go to work and make your own food and do your own laundry! Do not sign me up for this.
Burnout and the behaviors and weight that accompany it aren't, in fact, something that can be cured by going on vacation. It's not limited to high-stress environments. It's our lives. To be stressed out and have panic attacks is considered normal nowadays and that is terrifying.
We are put under so much pressure and stress; the expectations are sky high and we are struggling to meet them every day and it shows in our work ethic and our terrifying need to get on top of everything. The mentality is to hustle always 24/7 and if you aren't, you are lazy and not going to get that dream job and salary.
If you don't live under a rock, you've probably had to listen to a lot of people tell you how busy they are. It's become the default response when you ask anyone how they're doing: "So busy." It is, pretty obviously, a boast disguised as a complaint.
So yes, we live in a society that rewards us for being busy, grinding 24/7, and just multitasking always. I'm here to tell you that this is hard and stressful. Being a part of this hustle lifestyle in college for so long, my winter break had me stressed because I wasn't doing anything.
We all know what we see on Instagram is fabricated but that doesn't mean we don't judge ourselves against it. I find that we are far more jealous of experiences represented in social media, the sort of thing that prompted the whole invention of FOMO (feeling of missing out) in the first place.
We try to complete the to-do list but every tiny thing goes on the list, and the list never completes itself.
It's like this: We aren't the kind of people who give up. We make it harder for ourselves in order to gain more experience, do harder classes, get that internship and strive to do better because that's the only way we can see a light in the future.
This culminates in burnout.
Burnout is different than exhaustion, although it's related. Exhaustion means going to the point where you can't go any further; burnout means reaching that point and pushing yourself to keep going, whether for days or weeks or years.
What's worse, the feeling of accomplishment that follows an exhausting task — acing the final! Landing that internship!— never comes.
The most common prescription is "self-care." Go do yoga! Use your meditation app! Take a long bath! But much of its end goal isn't to alleviate the burnout cycle but to provide further means of self-optimization.
The suffering is now and it is going to be there in the future also, but we want to hope that we can get that perfect job and life so we put more pressure on ourselves.