Do you feel drained out after working for a couple of hours? Do you feel like you haven’t rested for a really long time? Do you feel stressed and burdened for the whole day? Are you aged between 24-39? If the answer to all these questions is a yes, you might be dealing with millennial burnout syndrome. Burnout is becoming very common in workplaces. While burnout can impact anyone, it is the millennials who are affected the most because of changes in the workplace dynamics. With offices becoming physically remote but moving into our homes, people are in touch with their workplace 24×7 through mail or messages; there is no separation between work and leisure as people are always connected to their workplace. Dr. Sneha J. Karmani, Consultant Psychiatrist at Aditya Birla Memorial Hospital, Pune explained to us what exactly is millennial burnout syndrome and how it impacts the life and well-being of a person. You would also find some expert-verified prevention tips in this article.
With these evolving workplace dynamics, millennials are finding it difficult to stand out and fit in at the same time as they are not fully integrated into the workplace. By the virtue of their success, experience and efficiency; millennials are left with more work and less leisure time. Many individuals find it difficult to dissociate from their work as they believe that hard work will make them stand out from the crowd. Hence, millennial burnout is becoming more common now. The determination to work combined with millennial's approach to their work makes them a generation vulnerable to burnout syndrome.
What Is Millennial Burnout Syndrome?
Millenial burnout syndrome is a state of chronic stress that leads to physical and mental stress. This term was first used by famous American writer Anne Hele Peterson in her very famous article where she talks about the line that has been blurred between work and personal life. The World Health Organisation defines Burnout as chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. WHO says that it is more of an occupational phenomenon than a health condition. Millennials(born between 1981-1996) seem to be dealing with psychological distress more. In order to meet the deadlines and giving their best performance, they are putting their mental health at stake. WHO warns against these acts as it increases the risk of burnout and chronic psychological illnesses in the long run.
What are the symptoms of millennial burnout syndrome?
Many millennials do not know how to identify that they have fallen prey to burnout syndrome. There is a fine line between stress and burnout that makes it even more confusing. Dr. Sneha simplified the symptoms or visible signs of millennial burnout syndrome that can help thousands of sufferers find out the problem and receive aid accordingly. Some of the major symptoms of millennial burnout are:
- Feeling of exhaustion
- Energy depletion
- Feeling of negativity about work
- Increased mental distance from one’s job
- A sense of ineffectiveness
- Lack of accomplishment of work
- Low professional efficacy.
This exhaustion begins even before the day has begun and this exhaustion goes on and on without any solution.
It is difficult for someone to figure out by themselves if they are feeling burnout or not, people come for medical assistance in case of burnout only when it is suggested by someone else like their spouse or close friend. There can be instances of irritability and anger at the workplace or elsewhere which may prompt medical attention. Besides, family members should point out if they find someone working relentlessly. This can prevent them from slipping into depression which is highly common these days.
Working for long hours is dangerous
Researchers have found that long working hours can lead to serious long-term health risks. Working for more than 11 hours in a day is associated with a three times higher risk of heart attack and four times higher risk of diabetes. Winter being a critical season for cardiovascular health needs to be handled well. Increased work pressure can cause long-lasting impacts on health.
- According to a study in the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health, overtime workers have 61 percent higher chances of injury than normal hour workers.
- It is also medically explained that long stressful working hours can alter the level of natural cortisol in your body. Cortisol is the hormone that controls the fight or flight response and the body’s reaction to stress.
- Working for long hours can also affect the body’s digestive system, heart rate, blood pressure and other parameters. Thus, giving proper rest to the body is very important for wellness.
How to fix millennial burnout syndrome at the workplace?
This is not a problem that office management can fix. They can only take steps to avert the condition from rising. These days, companies are understanding the problems of employees and they are willing to take necessary steps to ease their load. Management must look into the matter and resolve things as this would not only improve the mental health of the worker but also their work efficiency that directly profits the company. Organisations can take steps and initiate wellness programs to promote mental health and well-being. These need to be prioritised at the policy level by governments and organizations. The first step in resolving any problem is identifying it and then taking the necessary steps to curb the problem. Workplace support is critical in identifying employees who are at risk and help them mitigate burnout. Signs like chronic fatigue, trouble falling asleep, loss of appetite, loss of focus, and feelings of pessimism or apathy are a few of the early signs of burnout. This should not be ignored and medical assistance should be taken immediately.
Steps to Prevent Millennial Burnout Syndrome
At an individual level, there is always something we can do to move ahead in life and surpass any problem we might encounter. More than a health condition, this is a lifestyle problem that can be easily tackled with proper management. Here are a few points to consider to stay safe and secure physical & mental wellness.
- Set your own boundaries and learn to say ‘no’ to things we don’t like doing or we don’t believe in.
- Reach out to a trusted colleague or a close friend to talk about your feelings about work.
- Tackling burnout includes self-care. One needs to set realistic goals and working on unhelpful thoughts and unrealistic expectations are important.
- When millennial burnout creeps in, consider facing the problem heads on.
- It might look difficult initially but in the long term, it is sustainable and rewarding. Reaching out to a mental health professional is important if the negative emotional state persists.
Stress has become an everyday thing and we cannot escape it. However, we can work in the direction to reduce stress or not let it affect our health. Millennials are over-working and this is certainly going to take a toll on their health one day. Millennial burnout syndrome would be the result. If you are a millennial and struggling to keep your psychological health in place during work from home, you must practice the above-mentioned steps suggested by the psychiatrist. Listen to your body first and then your boss. You are wholly responsible for your health and you must keep it in place.
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