The millennial workplace is a brutal environment. More and more is expected of young people for fewer rewards. In order to build a successful career, it is, unfortunately, becoming the norm to have to put everything else second to achieve our goals.
With this increased pressure, the workplace demands not only time, through the long hours we are required to work, but also increasing amounts of mental capacity. Everything is put into the production of outcomes that will impress management teams. Mediocre is never acceptable, and we increasingly understand that to get noticed, we quite literally have to shine.
This can come at the expense of our own mental health. ‘Burnout’ is so much more than simply getting tired and struggling to keep up with the ever increasing demands that life throws our way. It is a kind of mental tiredness that saps our ability to focus and drains us of the energy we so desperately need, not only for work but to take care of our personal needs as well.
Burnout tends to affect most young people when they are experiencing a period of high pressure at work, it might be an impending deadline or a promotion they are chasing. Meaning that even more time and energy is focused on their career than usual.
This focus, beneficial as it can be from an employment perspective, often comes at the expense of personal needs. Food must be fast and thus often lacks the nutrients needed to sustain us. Exercise becomes a luxury pocket of self-indulgent time, rather than a daily routine.
As hard as it is, when you hit that wall of exhaustion, you have to stop and put yourself first. If you don’t, your career will suffer anyway, so it’s time to hit pause and focus on yourself. In that time, think about these three key areas to help get yourself back on track:
- Diet: Make sure you are getting a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables to give your body the nutrients it needs to maintain itself.
- Exercise: You will actually find you have more energy if you are working out regularly, change your routine and make time for at least 3 or 4 sessions a week.
- Balance: Get out of the office and the house and spend some time with friends or family. This will give you a mental break as well.
To maintain good habits whilst working hard, try to get into a routine that allows you to make time for everything you need. Small changes like doing a big grocery shop and preparing meals in advance will ease the pressure. Schedule some down time and make sure that, if you haven’t had a break in a couple of weeks, you make time for one.
Most importantly of all, remember to put yourself first, don’t ever accept that it will just be one more week or one more late night in the office. If your physical health suffers, your mental health will likely follow, so keep focused on taking care of number one, and learn to hear the signs when your body tells you enough is enough.