The Millennial Trap/Burnout Syndrome is an unfortunate reality that is widespread amongst millennials (born between 1981-1996), stemming from many factors including: poor work/life balance, poor stress management, lack of focus coupled with high pressure and expectations.
"Living in survival entails living in stress and functioning as a materialist, believing that the outer world is more real than the inner world. When you are under the gun of the fight-or-flight nervous system, being run by its cocktail of intoxicating chemicals, you are programmed to be concerned only about your body, the things or people in your environment and your obsession with time. Your brain and body are out of balance. You are living a predictable life. However, when you are truly in the elegant state of creation, you are nobody, no thing, no time- you forget about yourself. You become pure consciousness, free from the chains of identity that needs the outer reality to remember who it thinks it is."
-Dr. Joe Dispenza, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself
I know that each person varies in terms of stressors and their ability to cope, so here is a range of ideas on how to support the physical, mental & energetic bodies:
Scheduling in Self Care
Light also has a profound affect on stress. Lux is the natural daylight, which varies in intensity and color. Getting exposure to this in the morning (on a walk to work 10-30 minutes) can help to regulate the hormone cycle. Blue light from smartphones, computers and TVs surpresses melatonin levels. A software called F.Lux can be installed for free which eliminates blue light from the computer screen in the evening hours. Alternatively, blue blocking glasses can help if you look at a screen all day and also can help with driving at night. Felix Gray has some pretty stylish ones.
A restful sleep allows for detoxification to occur. During a restful sleep, the glymphatic system in the brain drains out toxins, lowering inflammation in the body.
Finding Balance with Blood Sugar & Fasting
This is mostly because of hormonal fluctuations. Cortisol is responsible for blood sugar regulation while leptin is the hormone that signals "I'm full". Ghrelin is the hormone that signals "I'm hungry". Both of these are affected by a lack of sleep, where leptin is decreased and ghrelin is increased, exaggerating food seeking behavior.
Nutrient timing is important for blood sugar regulation. Often, too much carb intake in the morning can leave your body to have an exaggerated response, and it will process carbs quicker: leaving you with post-breakfast hunger. This peak and drop in blood sugar levels can be prevented by eating more protein, fat and less carbs at breakfast. In the evening a meal should consist of lower fat and higher starchy carbs which promotes melatonin production. This can lead to a deeper more restorative sleep. Also, melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that supports insulin release and glucose uptake and fat metabolism in a wakeful state.
If you are ravenously hungry at night after dinner, you may need to assess the quality and portions of your breakfast, dinner and snacks. Try your best to eat your largest meal mid-day or at least 3 hours before you go to bed. Most important, try to fast for at least 12 hours. This will allow your body to detoxify more efficiently since digestion taxes the body and requires a lot of resources.
I will repeat the quote from Dr. Joe Dispenza above:
"When you are truly in the elegant state of creation, you are nobody, no thing, no time- you forget about yourself. You become pure consciousness, free from the chains of identity that needs the outer reality to remember who it thinks it is."
Many of us have hobbies, but do we actually make time to do them? It's time we schedule in our hobbies and prioritize them. A creative outlet is just as important as eating, sleeping and working.
I am a gardener. I love being able to witness the life cycles of plants and give them the best possible environment to thrive in. Best of all, I get to eat what I grow! I grew up being taught values that we learn with "the Head, the Heart and the Hand." I'd say that gardening involves all of those.
On a similar note, I recently became a board member of my community garden at Pine Street. Did you know that volunteering can make you feel valued?
"Serving makes us aware of our wholeness and its power. The wholeness in us serves the wholeness in others and the wholeness in life. The wholeness in you is the same as the wholeness in me. Service is a relationship between our equals: our service strengthens us as well as others. Fixing and helping are draining, and over time we may burn out, but service is renewing. When we serve, our work itself will renew us. In helping we may find a sense of satisfaction, in serving we find a sense of gratitude."
-Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.
Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal
Work Life Balance vs. Work Life Blend
As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, the Millennial burnout can be a result of many factors including a poor work/life balance. What if the whole concept of work/life balance was flawed?
"Living completely out of whack with your priorities, allocating your energy in a way that destroys your health, relationships and ability to live well and give well is, well, just plain dumb."
Jonathan Fields, the author of How to Live a Good Life and creator of the podcast Goodlifeproject believes there is a more productive view of work, he calls it the "Work Life Blend." This is where contribution is towards people, activities and work rather than contributing for compensation and stature. This concept explains why the Millennial burnout is so rampant. It has certainly made me re-think what I've been taught and opens up so many possibilities!
I hope you find these ideas to be valuable and can mindfully incorporate them into your life!