It’s rare you’ll find a group of millennials who don’t mention “anxiety” in a normal conversation these days — which is scary, but the reality of our current culture. With social media breeding comparison on overdrive, house prices continuing to rise, and being overloaded with information, it’s no wonder we’re all feeling a little… anxious.
From sleep issues to stresses about jobs, anxiety is an unpleasant thing to deal with, but the good news is that there are absolutely things that can help. Read on for some of the major causes of millennial anxiety and ways around each type.
FOMO started as cute lingo for Fear of Missing Out, but the anxiety it can come with is anything but fun.
One look at your Facebook or Instagram feed and it’s easy to feel FOMO. Whether you’re wishing you traveled like the bloggers you follow, or are bummed to miss a party you weren’t invited to, the FOMO can get real.
How to deal
Try to get to the root of your FOMO by categorizing the times when you feel FOMO hardest. Does it surround travel? Set goals and a savings account for your next trip, or book a quick weekend away if you’re having major wanderlust. Feel like you have FOMO because you don’t have many friends? Sign up for a class or a sports league in your city.
Assess what your FOMO is telling you and then make changes around whatever you’re missing out on. Log off from social media if nothing is helping.
Not Prioritizing Sleep
Though milennials sometimes get a bad rep, we’re also extremely hard workers based on our “24/7” approach to life. Which can mean staying up til 1 am to finish a work deadline or sitting on our phones until we text every single person back.
This constant priority for everything happening in our life can have a big, negative impact on our sleep — and getting substantial rest isn’t usually top of our list. Which ain’t OK!
How to deal
If you notice yourself not getting 7-9 hours regularly, make a change. Start saying no to events or working late if it’s getting in the way of rest.
Create a nighttime routine that helps you wind down. Our personal favorite? Phone on Airplane Mode, taking a warm bath or shower, drinking chamomile tea, and doing a skincare routine. Then, in bed with a (non-tech) book at least nine hours before the alarm goes off.
Being the Next #Girlboss
Career anxiety might be one of the biggest for milennials. While hustling to be the next Oprah is cool and all, it’s also leaving us feeling less than if we’re not starting our own business and rising to the top ASAP. Not to mention the feels happening when you don’t even know what you want to do with your life.
We were born into a constant rat race of trying to be the best and most inventive. There is internal and external pressure to have things figured out immediately out of college and to constantly reinvent the wheel. It’s exhausting!
How to deal
If you’re feeling a lull in work motivation but like your job, it’s probably time for a break. Use your vacation (or sick!) days and step away from work for a few. Even if that means catching up on doctor’s appointments and cleaning your apartment, it’ll give you peace of mind and reboot of energy.
If you’re anxious about what to pursue, attend a workshop or conference you’re intrigued by. Putting yourself around inspiring people is a recipe for success, and it might get things brewing.
At the least, grab a cup of coffee with someone who you respect and pick their brain. Talking to friends who also feel this pressure can also help because you can reassure each other that you’re actually doing a great job at work and more success isn’t going to happen overnight.
Lastly, if you’re feeling behind your friends in terms of career growth, do something that can get things moving (if that’s what you truly want!). Update your resume and take a new class to excel your skills. Or sit back and think about whether you actually feel fine where you are — and that it’s just comparison driving these anxious emotions.
Not Knowing How to Relax
We’re so anxious, the thought of relaxation even stresses us out. But this is really about how we’re relaxing, and that’s usually through binge watching, which research shows actually can have the opposite effect. Watching TV and spending hours scrolling through social feeds might be to blame.
How to deal
Force yourself to take true breaks, even if that means getting a little bored. Think back to the times when you’ve felt the most relaxed and chill. Maybe that’s sipping coffee in town or at a beach by yourself. Or maybe it’s saying no to all plans and sleeping the entire weekend — we’re not judging!
Find the practices that actually leave you feeling relaxed and renewed, and incorporate them weekly. Bonus points? Turn off your phone one day a week and forgo any new information clouding your head. It’s uncomfortable at first, but you’ll feel your anxiety slide away within a few hours.
Hitting Milestones by a Certain Age
As millennials, we need to feel like we’ve reached a certain level of success by a certain age. If that age is reached and our careers or personal life still seems “mediocre,” cue the anxiety attack.
This is likely due to the fact that while times are changing and we’re all doing things later in life, we were brought up by a generation much different. Our parents’ generation got married young and they didn’t go back to school, and that’s likely weighing in on where we’re *supposed* to be — or where we thought we’d be by age 30 as a kid.
How to deal
Instead of setting up your life to reach specific milestones by certain ages, let life happen on its own. Way easier said than done, but don’t settle for a job or a partner all because you’re turning 31 next year and *have* to have those things before then. Set goals for things you can control, but try not attaching an age to said goal. Do what feels right to you and for the place you’re at in life — no matter what your friends or parents have done.
Above all, take care of yourself! No matter the type of anxiety, there’s usually one thing in common: we need to step away from our phones and tune into ourselves instead. Take a cue from generations before us and move slower, create real human communication, take breaks, journal, meditate, go to therapy — do whatever feels good to you personally! Everything is going to be OK.