How to Cope with 'Millennial Burnout'

February 12, 2019

By Carlo Versano

A few weeks ago, a Buzzfeed article that coined the term "millennial burnout" went viral, with readers taking to social media to discuss the very particular sense of exhaustion felt by this generation, and how it's different from the universal stresses of daily life.

As Joni Rayos-Samilin, a "transformational" coach, explained to Cheddar, the source of millennial burnout can be traced to ー what else? ー the internet.

"Everyone knows what everyone's doing," Rayos-Samilin said, and social media has amplified that familiar feeling of FOMO to make people, particularly millennials, question their own self-worth.

Is my job good enough? Is my relationship good enough? Am I traveling enough?

It's exhausting.

That 24/7 feeling of being connected extends to work, where employees feel like they're never "off the clock." Even if companies tell their workers they don't need to respond to emails and Slack messages at all hours of the day, many still do out of a sense of responsibility or fear that if they don't, someone else will.

Burnout, of course, is a universal problem that has been exacerbated by the digital age. But the millennial generation is the first to fully deal with it as adults. In order to cope, Rayos-Samilin said she recommends to her clients that they create boundaries and set priorities, like scheduling time for the "real world" things that they value: conversations with friends, exercise, and even limited amounts of social media.

"Do what you need to do for self care," she said. Otherwise, it becomes too easy to give into the outside pressures of the connected world.

Rayos-Samilin said she's already seeing a backlash against constant social media use in some of her millennial clients, and anecdotal data shows that has spread to the next generation, known as Gen Z.

If there's a single way to fight burnout it's this: stop comparing yourself to others. That's a skill that goes back to the Buddhists, who use mindfulness meditation techniques to remind themselves to stay grounded in the present moment. Most of what you see online is a construct anyway, Rayos-Samilin said. It takes time, patience, and energy to fight the desire to wonder whether what you're doing is good enough ー especially now that everyone has a constant reminder in their pocket that someone, somewhere, is doing it better.