How is it possible that the generation we call millennials - people born roughly between 1980 and 2000 - are massively struck by burn-outs? And why do millennials suffer more from this than the generations before them? Three reasons why I am so susceptible to a burnout, and you may be too:
1. Millennials are raised in a highly individualistic way. They see themselves as 'the measure of things' in life. Consequently they are convinced that they themselves are responsible for all the success and happiness in their lives. That automatically means the opposite: that if something does not succeed they feel it's entirely their own fault. This, unfortunately, happens to me frequently. I rarely attribute anything to the circumstances or bad luck. When something does not work out, I am often angry and judgemental to myself, rather than mild and comforting.
2. Millennials look at each other to determine how successful they are in their lives. That comparison is very easy because of social media. The image on social media is only much more optimistic than reality. As a result millennials often get unrealistically high expectations of themselves. Because of social media, I not only compare myself with the most beautiful and smartest girl in the class but also with the most beautiful and successful bloggers in the entire world. Because of this I can sometimes feel insecure and not good enough.
3. Millennials have high demands of themselves. They have heard from an early age: if you try hard enough, you can become whatever you want. In reality that just does not work that way. Because millennials place such high demands on themselves, the worst thing that can happen to them is failure. Not only for the outside world, but especially for themselves. I demand a lot from myself, since I want to do everything right. A silver medal is not enough, it has to be gold. I want to be a good employee, blogger, wife, daughter and friend. This can sometimes be very exhausting.
These three things form a kind of explosive cocktail of pressure and stress. I've created sky-high expectations that I can barely meet. And the idea that I might not meet all of them is unbearable. So instead of taking a step back when I'm busy, I try even harder. For me, these reasons have contributed to me getting burned out.
So what can you - and I - learn from this?
- It believe is time to have sincere conversations with each other. We must be vulnerable and honest about our limitations and challenges.
- We should think about what this phase of life is about. It is not necessarily about meeting expectations, but about developing ourselves. To discover who you are by trial and error. And mostly error ;-)