At one point or another, most of us have probably felt burned out.
According to HelpGuide, “Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest and motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place.”
A Millennial’s Tale of Burnout
A Millennial contributor to the BBC, identified as “Rhian, 28,” recently shared her own personal experience of burnout. “My brain never stops,” she writes. “I’m constantly on hyper-alert about the things I should be doing—but just can’t bring myself to do. I already suffer from anxiety and depression, and this stress has disrupted my sleep and led me to have mild insomnia.”
Rhian’s experience is not unique. Following Rhian’s article, the BBC’s Radhika Sanghani wrote that the reaction to Rhian’s story was huge and said a number of other stories were shared by similarly burned-out Millennials.
How Widespread Is the Problem?
So just how prevalent is what Rhian refers to as Millennial burnout? “I think I’m one of many in my generation suffering from ‘millennial burnout,’” she writes. “This is not currently a recognized medical condition, and there are no specific stats for it, but in the UK, 74% of us are so stressed we’ve been unable to cope. That same study found that 49% of 18-24-year-olds who have experienced high levels of stress felt that comparing themselves to others was a source of stress, which was higher than in any of the older age groups.”
The takeaway for HR professionals and employers from these stories is that companies should be on the lookout for signs of burnout. This holds true for any generation but may be especially important for younger employees.
Companies should consider outreach and coping programs to help these individuals address potential burnout and think about policies around deadlines, paid leave, and workplace flexibility that may be impacting the levels of burnout in their organization.
It’s not just about the physical and mental well-being of employees. At the end of the day, how they feel will impact the business, as well.