Balance in the Time of Burning Out · A Discussion on Millennial Burnout, Balance, and Self-Care

January 17, 2019

About a month ago, I was scrolling through YouTube and Buzzfeed's Ladylike crew created a video called We Gave Up Our Cell Phone for Our Mental Health where one of the ladies, Devin, takes the ladies camping and limits their cell phone use to an hour a day. The video begins with an explanation of the term burnt out, "a symptom of depression or anxiety surrounding a person's career," though the symptoms vary by circumstances, which is the most important bit to keep in mind while reading any articles about burning out.

Burning out sneaks up on you and when I heard the term, I didn't think it was anything I could experience. I work full-time as a bookseller, not a lawyer or an executive, I sell books for forty hours a week. I also go to graduate school classes two nights a week and I spend all of my time in between on leisure writing, assignments for class, and crafting or blogging. But, none of this in-between time is spent doing small things that can be easily ticked off of my to-do list, like laundry that keeps piling up and tidying my room. Why can't I get these small tasks done?

If you want to read more about millennial burnout, I'm going to leave articles here, here, a video by RayaWasHere here, and a Ted Talk by Allison Osborn here. These are people who know way more about the subject than I do (there are even some charts.)
Some of my favorite points from these articles are:
  • Instead of jobs, young people need careers, but by the time they have the adequate education for careers, they are deep in student loan debt and there's not much coming back from it.
  • "The result is feeling like you’re always behind pace for where your life should be at any given moment, which creates chronic exhaustion, or burnout." 
  • Because both work and play incorporate the internet, it's harder to unwind and disconnect from work when you're at home. Also, social media causes comparison to other people in the same generation bracket.
  • Balance is the key to not burning out. We all need to find a healthy balance between work, our social life, and time for ourselves.
I don't have all of the solutions. I am not, by any means, a mental professional. But here, in my little corner of the internet, I wanted to share some small steps I am practicing to attempt to size-down my chance of burning out.
  • I have been planning out my academic plan and looking at the career I want and researching what steps I need to take to get there after I have my Master's.
  • I have a notepad I bought at the Bargain section of Barnes & Noble where I write down errands: prescriptions to pick up, laundry, etc. It's easier to see what I have to do and check it off than it is to take mental notes. When I have the extra time and the mental energy to do it, I do one thing, which usually snowballs into doing some other things because the feeling of accomplishment looms.
  • I have learned to say no to plans to keep some time for myself. This was a big one because I've always had FOMO that stems from the friends groups I had growing up. Spending more time alone gives me time to just have a handful of hours to chill and watching Gilmore Girls and unwind for an evening. 
  • For the time being, my bullet journal and I are attached at the tip so I keep track of the homework I have and my work schedule. This helps me plan my days off to do some homework, but also take time to wind down and watch Gilmore Girls.
The key to keeping your balance is knowing when you've lost it. Next time you have some time to yourself, evaluate. Think about the next day you have off and how you're going to spend it. Begin to create the healthy balance you need in your life. It takes baby steps, some small schedule shifts and time evaluations. With consistent tweaking and self-care, balancing your life will shift from challenge to second nature. Keep in mind that self-care is subjective and whatever makes you feel comfortable and whole is different from person to person. Do what is best for you to take care of yourself and remember this quote by Paolo Coehlo, "When you are saying 'yes' to others, make sure you are not saying, 'no' to yourself."

1 comment

  1. This was a great post! Definitely going to look through those links you included on millennial burnout, because I've never heard of it and totally want to read up. Your job sounds so lovely! To be surrounded by books every day is the dream. And I wholeheartedly agree that it's vital to learn how to say no. You've got to prioritize yourself and your own self-care first, especially with a crazy schedule. Loved this! <3