Burnout

Young, Dumb, and Burnt-out: Our Generation

“Why am I so tired? I just woke up.” And several other questions the younglings ask themselves these days. We’re tired, too tired to complete necessary tasks, but too scared for our future to stop and take a nap.

‘Adulting’ – the term that haunts me, everyday. Why? Because it’s so hard! Even though it means the accomplishment of basic, but mundane tasks, tasks that need to be done. It’s a privileged statement, I know but it is what it is.

I might be doing the work that would allow me to get by, but I would never, never find it in my heart to complete my small to-do list. It essentially includes tasks like cleaning the mess in my room, replying to long pending emails or texts on WhatsApp or even as easy as scheduling an appointment with the dentist. Even if I dedicate an hour to all this, I could get it done with but no, I would procrastinate to the point where it starts killing me from the inside.  I would rather eat a bag of chips to control my hunger, rather than going to the kitchen and make a sandwich for myself.

So, what is it? Am I too spoilt, too lazy to do things? Why couldn’t I get it together — especially when the tasks could be easily completed? I realized that the vast majority of these tasks share a common denominator: their primary beneficiary is me, but not in a way that would drastically improve my life. They are seemingly high-effort, low-reward tasks, and they paralyze me. Am I tired? Am I completely burnout? To my mind, burnout was something aid workers, or high-powered lawyers, or investigative journalists dealt with. It was something that could be treated with a vacation with friends to Manali.

My generation is known for things like wanting to work to bring changes in the society,  instead of money, and perfectionism. We’ve been sent misleading messages about what’s attainable—from body shape and beauty to work success and relationships. We tend to push ourselves very hard, often beyond sustainable levels, and become disillusioned when we have only exhaustion and self-depletion to show for it. We’ve internalized the idea that one should be working all the time.

What has made us the burnt-out generation? It’s the economic crisis, lack of jobs, the growing divide between the rich and the poor.  We face huge competition and have to work harder to prove ourselves. Financially speaking, most of us lag far behind where our parents were when they were our age. We have far less saved, far less stability, and far, far more student debt.  This is also what happens when you throw tech 24/7 connectivity into the mix. The previous generations enjoyed real downtime during which they could check in with themselves in absolute privacy and recharge their batteries without performance pressure; we are constantly engaged, permanently ‘on’ and, in a way, always ‘working’.

Our brain is always on overdrive, thinking about what has to be done next instead of enjoying the moment. Is it because we are always continuously doing things without a break? One thing after another? One chore after another? At this rate how long can we go? This is the reason we feel mentally fatigued. We are bound to break down.

Can we help ourselves here? Should we meditate more, drink and eat healthy food more? What is the solution, I have no idea but this is something to think about. Oh wait, you do not have time to think, you’ve to rush to attend your last lecture of the day. Sigh.

Image Credits: Thrive Global

Disha Saxena

dishas@dubeat.com




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