If you’re a millennial, you’ve most likely heard at least once in your life that you’re lazy, that you should be more productive, or that you should have been a doctor or lawyer — unless you already are… to which I say, my mother would be v proud of you.
For most of us though, we are looking to become a version of ourselves that we’re proud of.
We’re looking for our calling; we’re looking for that job that doesn’t feel like it’s a job; we’re looking for that rewarding career that makes our hearts (and our wallets) happy.
We are persistently in search of the right path towards happiness, towards fulfillment, towards an overwhelming sense of satisfaction, and with that search comes the notion that we are not working hard enough.
We stay late at work, even though we’re not getting paid overtime.
We put 240% into any and everything we do, even though we’re not getting recognized. We can’t just do nothing on a Sunday afternoon,
even though we’re the only ones measuring this nothing-ness.
Though our generation is often branded as lazy, Harvard Business Review stated that we’re all incredibly overworked as a whole. Most millennials are work martyrs, often saying things like:
“No one else at my company can do the work while I’m away.”
“I want to show complete dedication to my company and job.”
“I don’t want others to think I am replaceable.”
“I feel guilty for using my paid time off.”
— Sarah Green Carmichael, Millennials Are Actually Workaholics, According to Research
Take that, Mom and Dad.
Harvard AND Forbes say we work hard.
Both articles that I’ve linked above sound very corporate; they are mostly applicable to 9-5 jobs with 401k’s and a ladder to climb. However, this feeling of incompetence spreads wider than the elevator doors in your office’s lobby.
Whether we type on a computer all day, or we create art to feel some type of way, or the type of work we do is immeasurable by certain standards, there is an unsettling understanding that if you’re not working on something constantly and consistently, you’re failing.
The thing is, though, you’re not.
The fact that you’re motivated and driven to put out the best work you can is something commendable. You are part of a population that is determined to push yourself to the limit, creatively and powerfully. You have deemed yourself as your greatest competition, and you are constantly challenging your latest idea with bigger and better concepts.
You are innovative, you are a perfectionist, and you are always looking for room to grow up and out, instead of staying static, and that’s dope AF.
With this mindset, though, comes stress and anxiety. Forbes created this video to let us know that our habits are contributing to our stressful and anxious demeanors, including things like poor sleep schedules, drinking coffee, and playing with our phones.
What Forbes doesn’t take into account is that we are always pushing ourselves, and those internal conflicts and challenges are what truly (and heavily) contribute to irritability and frequent mood swings.
We are constantly looking for inspiration and motivation to fuel our creation and support our determination, but I want to remind you that we all need to take a breath.
You’re allowed to feel defeated, frustrated, and angry, but the way in which you rise from this low point is reflective of your integrity and determination. Being stressed out is natural, but if you’re not okay here *makes hand motions around your head*, you won’t be okay here *makes hand motions around the rest of your body + your life*. Finding that balance between pushing yourself to your limits and pausing to assess the current situation is crucial, so make sure you’re actually doing both.
In hopes of helping you de-stress, here are some “helpful” contributions via my followers on IG:
“Movement therapy is a big part of my self-care regimen, as well as making lists, aromatherapy, candles, etc.”
“If it won’t matter in 5 years don’t stress about it.”
“Working out helps my stress A LOT. [It] gets you motivated to get shit done.”
“Run, smell flowers (idk it just helps haha), take a bath, focus on future goals, look through other people’s profiles for motivation :)”
“I make lists. Writing helps take all the overwhelming thoughts in my head and visualize the steps I need to take in order to make them manageable. Plus it feels good to be able to cross things off the list.”
“Go to a concert or a night time drive with the windows down.”
“Jameson shots. Scream. Cry. Workout. Stretch. Deep breaths. In that order and/or any combination of them.”
“Talk to a friend or a loved one, weed, taking a step back to analyze and prioritize, music, writing; look for a proper perspective.”
“I take thirty minutes a day without any technology, and do something thoughtful like read, journal, or color. I also make sure to workout at least every other day.”
“Everyday on my BART commute I listen to an album start to finish and doodle what it makes me feel.”
I respect your hustle, and your self-motivation is a skill you can’t teach. However, climbing to the top is a workout, so just remember to take a few moments to breathe.