We Are Burning Out As A Generation And It Shows

Millennial Burnout Is A Real Thing And I'm Scared

My to-do list is never ending and maybe this is why.

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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.

In one online study, more than 4 in 10 millennials consider themselves "work martyrs" — dedicated, indispensable, and racked with guilt if they take time off.

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.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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The Lazy Girl's Guide To The Gym

Also, everything else you should know if you're a slightly out-of-shape girl (like me).

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With my freshman year coming to an end, I realized a lot of things. I made new friends, I found new hobbies, and I learned a lot of lessons. One of them being that the "Freshman 15" is very real and very scary.

While my friends and family have attempted multiple times to convince me that I'm just being dramatic (I am), I still want to make a change in my lifestyle or I will, in all seriousness, be on track to the "Sophomore 20".

Here is a list of my best gym and healthy lifestyle tips that I am slowly attempting to live by this summer in order to resurrect Emily's 18-year-old body and health.

1. Increase water intake.

2. Find a gym buddy.

3. Start off with cardio.

4. Don't stop on your cardio until you're dripping in sweat.

5. Chug a LOT of water an hour before the gym.

Do not do it right before, or you will be in pain.

6. Eat light beforehand but just enough to hold you over. 

7. Plan out what your routine will be BEFORE you get there.

My routine: Elliptical for a mile, Stairmaster for 10 minutes, ab HIIT workout for 10 minutes, 5 more minutes on Stairmaster.

8. Buy healthy foods while you're feeling motivated.

9. Find a gym that isn't too far from your house. 

10. Don't get mad at yourself if you don't see results in a day.

I know this is a hard one.

11. Try fitness classes. 

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