Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 21 September 2019

Millennials work less than their parents yet suffer more from workplace stress

Despite fewer hours spent in the workplace, millennials are more stressed than ever

Burn-out is now recognised as a medical condition. Getty / stock photo
Burn-out is now recognised as a medical condition. Getty / stock photo

Millennial burnout is a phrase that has been thrown around a lot in recent times. It refers to the notion that millennials – those born in the '80s and '90s – are overloading themselves to the point that they struggle with everyday tasks.

But a new study has found that millennials are actually spending far less time in their places of work than the generations that came before them. Yet, despite these shorter hours and more freedoms in the workplace, millennials also feel like they are under much greater pressure.

More than 1,500 people under the age of 45 took part in the study, conducted by fitness network Hussle, which asked people to compare their work-life balance to that of their parents.

On paper, the results showed that those questioned deemed their working life to be more easy-going than their parents' – 85 per cent said their hours were more flexible, while 86 per cent claimed to have more freedom.

Around 30 per cent of those asked recalled their parents working longer hours, however, most did not believe their parents would have known what the phrase “work stress” meant, saying they were more likely to "just get on with things".

But despite the seemingly easier working conditions of those surveyed, 14 per cent said they had taken time off work because of stress, while 12 per cent said they had sought medical help. More than a quarter said they felt anxious and stressed about work, with a fifth saying they had lost sleep because of work stress.

Social media, technology and the inability to switch off seem to be a big factor in adding to stress. Two thirds of those surveyed said they struggled to turn their phones or laptops off outside of office hours, while more than 90 per cent said they felt social media fuelled pressure to have the perfect career and life.

It also helps that there is more conversation around mental health for millennials than previous generations enjoyed, and this openness helps people to talk about how they are feeling and find ways to deal with it.

If you are feeling workplace stress, here are five ways to help switch off after a long day:

1. Exercise

It might sound cliched and like the last thing you want to do after a long, stressful day, but taking some time for yourself to exercise can help to clear your mind, release endorphins and let go of anything still niggling you from the day. Working out in the evening has also been proven to help you get a good night’s sleep.

2. Meditate

Whether you’re new to meditation or a seasoned practitioner, only five minutes a day can be enough to help you re-centre your mind and clear away any negative thoughts. Gone are the days of having to go to classes, too. There are now plenty of free-to-download apps that can guide you through how to get started.

3. Cook

Cooking can be time consuming, and after a long day, the temptation to grab something quickly or order takeout often prevails. But there is something cathartic about getting lost in preparing a good, healthy meal. It gives your mind something to focus on, and you will feel like you have achieved something for yourself when you sit down to enjoy it.

4. Listen to a podcast

While listening to music may help some people to de-stress, your favourite songs can sometimes not be enough to stop the mind from wandering back to work-related thoughts. Finding a podcast to listen to is not only great for keeping your attention, but depending on what podcast you choose, it will also teach you something new, have you laughing out loud or let you in on the lives of one of your icons.

5. Socialise

While you may just want to go home and hibernate after a long day, making plans to see friends or family can help break up a long working week and give you an outlet for anything that might be bothering you. While catching up over social media might sometimes seem preferable, there is nothing like face-to-face interaction, and you’ll be glad you made time for those you love.

Updated: May 20, 2019 01:16 PM

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