5 Ways the World Is Impacting Millennials’ Mental Health
From the Twin Towers’ fall to the 2008 recession, Millennials have grown up through some traumatic events. Now that they’re adults, they’re contending with increasing bills, child-rearing demands, lingering student loans, and unrealistic work expectations. In response to these stressors, many Millennials report mental health problems like anxiety and depression.
Understanding this generation’s obstacles is the first step toward reducing its members’ anxiety and depression. Please keep reading to learn about these distinct challenges and what Millennials can do to address them.
Working Millennials are struggling to find work-life balance. With the advent of Slack, they’re now available for a business conversation anytime their boss feels like reaching out. People with children have even more to juggle as they balance an excessive workload with parenthood. In response to these workplace and life demands, many Millennials are experiencing burnout.
Burnout is a state of mental and physical exhaustion. Those suffering from burnout may experience reduced motivation and lower job performance. To help combat this, Millennials need to create and enforce workplace boundaries. This means reducing their availability to official work hours, using their PTO, and enjoying their weekends off.
It’s important to note that the symptoms of burnout share many similarities with those of depression. If someone is experiencing depression, setting workplace boundaries isn’t enough to treat their condition. They will likely need additional mental health treatment.
Inflation is impacting Millennials’ pocketbooks. While they’re not alone in that, rising mortgage rates are putting the dream of homeownership further out of reach for many. Those with growing families cringe every time they see the grocery bill. Others struggle to pay for transportation as gas prices continue to creep up. These financial hurdles can become a significant mental strain, especially for lower-income Millennials.
As the cost of living rises, so too should employee salaries. If they don’t, Millennials will have difficulty reaching the same financial milestones as their parents. These challenges could lead to even higher rates of anxiety and depression.
Millennial employees don’t have control over salary increases. So what can they do today to ease the financial strain of inflation? Adopting a consciously minimalist lifestyle may help. Rather than purchasing lots of clothes and knickknacks, minimalists only buy what they need. This leaves more room in their budget for things like food and gas.
3. Student Debt
Inflation isn’t the only financial challenge Millennials are facing. Even with the temporary relief offered by the CARES Act, millions are dealing with the continuing burden of student debt.
A survey conducted by Student Loan Planner found that 90% of student loan borrowers suffer from anxiety over what they owe. The staggering amount of debt Millennials carry is causing many to postpone marriage and children. Others are stuck in toxic work cultures because they need a steady income to repay their loans. Furthermore, many borrowers struggle to understand their repayment options, leading to higher balances and causing even more anxiety.
Fortunately, there are ways to make student loans — payment of which resumes in September — more manageable. If an individual took out a federal student loan, they could apply for an income-driven repayment plan to lower their monthly payments. For borrowers experiencing financial hardships, applying for deferment can temporarily pause payments. But this option should only be used as a last resort since interest will continue accumulating.
4. Climate Change
The unpredictable state of the planet continues to alarm Millennials. Many are choosing not to have children for fear of the future climate change may create. Those who live in sensitive environments have experienced the impacts of climate change firsthand. Natural disasters, melting glaciers, and reduction in wildlife continue to increase as the world grows warmer.
Unless steps are taken to stop climate change, the associated mental health issues will continue to increase. More individuals will be impacted by extreme weather and habitat loss, increasing mental disorders like anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, the actions of individuals alone won’t stop climate change. Corporations have an enormous impact on global warming and must be held accountable.
While it’s essential to remain informed, consuming negative news daily can increase mental distress. Millennials feeling overwhelmed by climate change may want to take periodic breaks from the news.
While the rise of remote work has had many benefits, it’s also had an unexpected downside: loneliness. Many Millenials relied on the office environment for human connection. Now that more people are working from home, Millennials who live alone are experiencing increased rates of loneliness.
Chronic loneliness increases someone’s risk for mental disorders and can manifest as physical symptoms. People who suffer from loneliness may experience problems sleeping, increased inflammation, and high blood pressure.
But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Now that the world is opening up, Millennials have more opportunities to connect with others. Many have joined classes or clubs to make friends who share similar interests. Others have adopted pets to provide companionship while working from home. Online communities offer another opportunity to make friends for those who are homebound and unable to take care of a pet.
Millennials face a unique set of challenges that are taxing their mental health. Society needs to take the time to understand and address these challenges. Doing so can ensure that this vital generation thrives for years to come.