In 2019, young people are capable of working many jobs and getting straight As. But when it comes to taking out garbage or shovelling driveways, they find themselves incapacitated and swamped with stress.
Stereotypes surround millennials and Gen Zs. They’re lazy, disengaged, don’t vote, and stubbornly refuse to buy real estate and diamonds. However, an essay in Buzzfeed News argues this is a symptom of deep millennial burnout. In a culture that constantly sends work-related notifications to people increasingly obsessed with achievement, leisure has ceased to exist.
Social media exists for every purpose: LinkedIn and Slack for work, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for personal branding. As young people feel pressured to curate their lives, they’ve been forced to view their peers’ accomplishments as threatening.
Millennials work incessantly to succeed and be validated, which must also be immediate and widely-known by their peers.
In an era saturated by information, we’ve grown scared of complacency. We’re forced to remain constantly switched on to impress bosses, co-workers, and peers. Everyone can reach us with demands for our energy and time at any given moment.
Major long-term goals leave little room for the anxieties of daily errands. Particularly for women, who carry double burdens of domestic labour and professional achievement, the to-do list of tasks never shrinks, draining already-scant leisure time.
There’s pressure for young people to check the boxes of socializiation, academics, and hobbies. But there’s also pressure to do self-care correctly. Leisure time has become politicized by the constant crush of a hyper-competitive culture.
Self-care means face masks, bath bombs, and weeknights drinking too much wine. While valid mechanisms for relaxation, these tools are best viewed through the light of an Instagram story. The pressure to appear balanced can become another trigger for burnout, as it’s encroached upon by demands from social media.
Self-care is about intent, not action. Stepping away from your work doesn’t necessarily mean leisure when it becomes a competition to relax more than others while simultaneously being more successful than them.
For millennials and Gen Zs, immediate gratification is easier to come by—and we’ve learned to work harder for it. This can have devastating repercussions on individuals.
Being obsessed with productivity makes it easy to get caught up. Every task feels equally pressing, leading the most important things—health, interpersonal relationships, maintaining one’s value system—to slip through the cracks.
This isn’t changing any time soon. If younger generations continue to pursue goals without stopping to appreciate success, we’ll soon find we’ve lost the energy to achieve any ambitions at all.
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