5 Reasons Why Millennials Are Burned Out

Why are millennials burned out?

Millennials are a unique generation. Coming from a fellow millennial, growing up in the eighties and nineties seemed like a fever dream. We grew up at the beginning of the technology boom, when social media didn’t exist, and computers were just becoming a household thing. Most of us didn’t own a cell phone until we were teenagers, and those first models didn’t access the internet and could barely text.

You had to go into a physical store to rent movies to watch, and if you didn’t get there in time, they were out of that new release that you really wanted to see, and you would have to choose a totally different movie or return to the store the next day. 

You didn’t get a text or even a phone call when it was time to come home when out playing with your friends, you just knew it was time to go home when the streetlights came on. 

It was a carefree time. 

But how did the millennial generation go from the most carefree, to now the most burned-out generation? 

I have personally experienced millennial burnout for years, and there are five main reasons why it happened. Let’s dive into them. 

5 Reasons Why Millennials Are Burned Out 

1. We were prepared for a future that doesn’t exist 

As a millennial, you were raised by the baby boomer generation so your parents and teachers instilled a hard work ethic in you. They taught you the exact step-by-step blueprint you needed to follow if you wanted to be successful.  

You needed to go to school, get good grades, go to college, get a degree, and work hard.  

They taught you that if you followed those steps you would achieve your dreams because this is what they did to achieve theirs.  

But that future that your parents and school were raising you for didn’t end up happening. The world changed too quickly between then and now, which is not something they could have predicted. 

2. So many unforeseen world events 

As a millennial, you have dealt with many unforeseen world events that couldn’t have come at a worse time. Events like Columbine, Y2K, 9/11, The Recession, and even Covid-19 happened during critical transition moments in your life. Those events were like mini earthquakes that changed the landscape in front of you, but you have continued to try to stick to the same path that was set out for you by your parents. 

So even though that path no longer exists, or the terrain has drastically changed, you are continuing to try to run forward in the same direction. 

3. Increased distractions 

The technology boom and rise of social media have brought many wonderful things to the palms of your hand, but it has also brought increased distractions, unfair comparisons on how your friends and family are doing, and people sharing all of the good and none of the bad.  

This can cause you to measure yourself, and your success, against something that is inaccurate, or not even true. 

4. Increased access to distressing news 

It is much easier to turn off the evening news or put down the newspaper than it is to miss the negative news story on your timeline on social media that everyone is commenting on, or to skip past the Youtube commentary channel when you are just searching for funny dog videos. 

It can be difficult to look away or step away from triggering news, which can trigger negative feelings like anxiety, and depression. 

5. Increased cost of living combined with a low increase in income 

The American dream was more affordable when your parents were growing up.  

For example, according to this study, millennials buying their first home today will pay 39% more than their parents doing the same in 1950, and that percentage only continues to climb.

There has been an increase in income, however, it isn’t enough to keep up with inflation. Rent, the housing market, and college tuition have all increased faster than incomes. 

This means millennials have to work harder to obtain the exact same dream as their parents.

millennial burnout quote

Signs of Millennial Burnout

You might be a millennial, and you might be tired, but how do you know if you are truly burned out? Here are a few of the most common symptoms: 

  • Feeling helpless or trapped 
  • Feeling tired most of the time 
  • Taking your anger out on others 
  • Headaches, migraines, or frequent body pains 
  • Loss of motivation 
  • Decreased sense of accomplishment 
  • A cynical attitude 
  • Skipping work or leaving early 
  • Depending on a constant stream of caffeine, ibuprofen, and adrenaline to function

Why Do Millennials Need To Stop Working So Hard?

Your childhood programmed you to work extra hard. If you aren’t achieving the things you want, you think the answer to this is to put your head down and work even harder. 

Your parents most likely had the attitude that rest is for the lazy, and that you need to leave your feelings at the door.  

This is not your fault. You were raised for the rat race that is hustle culture.  

But now that you are in your 30s or 40s, your body is starting to protest. You are drained, and burned out, but still haven’t achieved the success and happiness that you were expecting.  

You feel stuck in your own life. 

So what do you do now? 

What Should You Do If You Are A Burned-Out Millennial? 

1. Rest 

Your mind will try to talk you out of resting. When your default mode is fight or flight, you will think you need to work even harder to get what you want. 

But working harder is creating more problems and making the burnout worse, which is actually making you increasingly inefficient and unproductive.  

You need to give yourself permission to rest if you want to heal.  

2. Participate in self-care 

People often become burned out because they aren’t taking proper care of themselves. I was guilty of this for many years. It took me a long time to realize that by making time for self-care, you are making yourself a priority.  

I often think of self-care like recharging a battery. When the battery is completely dead is when you have reached burnout. But if you keep the battery charged, and recharge it often, you will have the most energy and be the most productive person you can be.  

3. Work on yourself 

Once you have reached true burnout, you will probably come to the realization that the life you are living is not making you happy anymore and that you can’t continue to live the way you have been. 

If this is the case, then you will need to make a major change.  

Change can be scary and can make you feel like you have failed, which isn’t the case at all. 

I remember when I realized I was severely burned out and felt trapped by my own life. It was terrifying, but it turned out to be the best thing to ever happen to me.  

You will need to do a lot of self-discovery, and self-reflection to get to know yourself better and find out what will truly make you happy in life and what you need to do to get there.  

Because trying to achieve success based on what your parents wanted you to do no longer works in this world. Many people can no longer achieve the American dream without sacrificing their mental health.  

So many more options exist now for you to be happy that will be a better fit for you than the life you have been trying to live.  

[If you need help check out my free guide for my top three things you can do to get unstuck]

Final Thoughts On Millenial Burnout 

If you thought you were alone when it comes to dealing with burnout you were mistaken. An entire generation of millennials are self-isolating, struggling to keep their heads above water, and feeling trapped by their own lives. 

Luckily, it isn’t too late and there are many things you can do to bounce back from burnout. It might seem hard, but it will be worth it. 

Take care of yourself. 

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