I think this may be a first. I’m giving you homework. When I first brainstormed this post, I figured it would be a light, quick, easy post for me to write and for you to read. But then I came across this article on Buzzfeed and it resonated so much with how I was feeling in 2018 and what I wanted to change in 2019.
So before you continue reading, I really really want you to head on over to Buzzfeed and read “How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation”.
Two things to note:
Please don’t assume you know what this article is going to say based on the title alone. I admit, it’s a sucky title. So go ahead and click through and give it a chance.
It is a long read. So find a quiet spot and give yourself 10 minutes to read through it.
Now I’m not technically a Millennial, though I do like to call myself Millennial-adjacent. My birthdate places me in Generation X or in the microcosm Xennial generation which describes us very young Gen X-ers who possess traits of both generations.
I do think going to grad school in my late 20s helped with those Millennial traits. Mostly to do with adopting technology and social media. With my .edu email address I was able to sign up for Facebook much earlier than I probably would have otherwise.
I didn’t necessarily relate to feeling Burnout recently either. When I worked in Public Accounting and was working 80, 90, 100+ hours a week, I definitely felt burnt out. In fact when I left Public Accounting to go to grad school, I felt like I was on vacation while others were adjusting to the increased work load.
However, in the Buzzfeed article Burnout is explained as feeling exhausted but with the need to keep going. And this I definitely relate to. Now the article is thoroughly researched and goes into many systemic reasons this exhaustion exists (which is why the article is as long as it is). There’s overly scheduled childhoods, vigilante parents pressuring stellar outcomes, economic anxiety, and the constant comparison delivered right in our hands via perfectly curated social media lives.
The author goes on to explain that all of this leads to the pressure to constantly work on optimizing your life. And all of these optimizations end up on a lengthy, almost never-ending, checklist sorted by what’s going to drive the biggest result. And the energy of not just checking off these items but also mentally creating, storing, and sorting the perfect list is what leads to the exhaustion part of Burnout.
“The modern Millennial, for the most part, views adulthood as a series of actions, as opposed to a state of being,” an article in Elite Daily explains. “Adulting therefore becomes a verb.” “To adult” is to complete your to-do list — but everything goes on the list, and the list never ends.
So let’s get into how all this plays into my 2019 resolutions.
avoid blog burnout
Towards the end of 2018, I was already thinking about my 2019 plans, specifically this blog. I’m really proud of how far I’ve come. I went from a paralyzing avoidance approach to the blog that resulted in a few posts a year, to posting EVERY week and sharing those posts in a weekly newsletter, on Instagram, AND my Facebook page.
This takes a lot of energy to happen. I need to brainstorm ideas, write rough drafts, write the final post, find and create graphics, and then draft/write/design the corresponding newsletter and social posts. It’s a lot and quite frankly takes up most of my free time outside of work.
I want to learn how to do this with more flow. I will admit, I recently thought about whether or not to continue doing this at all. I feel constant pressure to optimize this blog. Grow my subscribers, grow my followers, grow my readers, and ultimately make this blog a success. It’s hard not to get disheartened when this doesn’t happen. So I keep pushing on week after week. And all of this should sound familiar because what I’m feeling is the Burnout the Buzzfeed article was describing.
I know I want to continue this blog, at least for now. I know there was a reason that I got really excited when I first heard about blogs. Also, recently I attended a talk by Neil Patrick Harris. He shared that if you’re not lucky enough to make a living doing what you love then it’s really important to find that passion outside of work. For me, that’s this blog. This is where I get to create and own something all on my own.
So 2019 will be all about really diving into this blog and get rid of any parts that aren’t serving me. Why am I doing this? How do I want to feel while I’m doing it? What is the right level of effort and energy I put into this?
Get off the couch
This resolution relates to the first one. I know to avoid Blog Burnout, I need to spend more time away from this blog. I also know that if I’m working on this blog during most of my free time then I will eventually run out of things to write about.
This is really hard for me for a number of reasons. But the main one is that when I get home I just want to sink into my couch and become one with it. I don’t know how else to explain it. I want to mold into the couch and zone out in front of the TV. I want to numb out, but also be comforted and comfortable, and also relax, and also be entertained, and also dream and hope that there’s gotta be more.
This is fairly recent phenomenon for me, really within the past 5-6 years. There’s this strong desire to just be home. There’s a constant exhaustion that rules anything out beyond watching TV.
This is something I actually think about a lot. The before and after. Why do I now struggle to be social and adventurous? What was different about those times? What was different about me? How can I recreate that energy?
I know there isn’t just one answer to all these questions, but the Buzzfeed article helped me see that Burnout is definitely playing a role. There’s new pressure on my career post-MBA, there’s new financial insecurity/trauma after being out of work for most of 2017, and there’s increased pressure to live a picture perfect life worthy of your likes and comments. All of this requires a high amount of energy resulting in a deeper need for recovery.
I’m not proposing I will solve the Burnout conundrum in 2019. But I do want to get out at least two times per month, not including adulting or working out.
lean into my emotions
This is not the first time I’m saying this and it certainly won’t be the last. All our emotions are valid. It is ok to have feelings that don’t fall in the positive bucket.
In 2019, I want to lean into ALL of my emotions. When things are going good I want to feel good and when things are going bad then I want to feel bad. And I don’t want to feel bad about feeling bad. Most importantly, I don’t want to feel pressure to be happy because that’s what makes other people comfortable.
Now let me caveat this. I’m certainly not saying it’s healthy to just be upset about something and never let it go and never move on and just get stuck there. I certainly want to be aware of the energy I’m sending into the universe.
I had a coworker once who quickly became a good friend and confident. Then I started to notice that almost every time we had a chance to sneak off during the work day and catch up, she had to talk about something bad that had happened to her. Now, she had some legit terrible things that happened in her life and she had every right to feel the way that she did. But I did start trying to sneak past her desk or come up with excuses so I didn’t have to chat with her because we always ended up talking about something new that went wrong in her life. It just became too much negative energy and I had to wonder how much of the negative energy was attracting other negative energy.
So as much as I want to feel my feelings, I will be aware of the energy I’m generating and how I’m sharing it.
train for a 5k
A few years ago I was at the first appointment with a new Chiropractor and we were going through my medical history. At one point he said something that will always stick with me.
“Every time you train for a race, you get injured. So why do you continue to train?”
I was speechless. Put in that logical manner it did seem strange that I continued to sign up for new and longer races. Frankly, I had come to enjoy running. It gives me such a sense of accomplishment, it gets the endorphins flowing, and it gives me a finite event to train where I can easily measure my progress and success.
This may sound crazy but I’m ready to try again. I am committing to totally honoring my body which is why I’m stating I want to TRAIN for a 5K and not RUN a 5K. If it is totally not going to happen then I am ok with that. But I’m definitely going to try.
Read Medical Medium
I’ve followed the Medical Medium on Instagram and Twitter for a while now. Over the summer, I decided to take part in the celery juice trend that seemed to be everywhere. I juiced a whole bunch of celery (like an actual bunch) to make about 16oz of celery juice every morning for about 2 or 3 weeks. And it was the real deal. My body totally detoxed.
The only reason I stopped was for travel reasons and then one day I was putting the juicer away and I totally broke it. So I haven’t gotten back into it but I want to.
After the celery juice I was able to eat whatever I wanted without consequence. I had gone 10+ years not knowing how my body would react to anything I ate and all of a sudden I was eating donuts, and pasta, and chocolate cake without any side effects. It was incredible and lasted for a few months.
Now I want to read the Medical Medium book (which I have on my bookshelf but have to read) and I’m also very intrigued by his new book Liver Rescue. My commitment in 2019 is to actually read these books and then implement and experiment with what I can. One of the best parts of the Medical Medium philosophy is that he doesn’t believe in protocols. Instead he believes in doing what you can. It’s not an all or nothing mentality which I really appreciate.
On a similar note, I want to read more in 2019 in general. “More” is tough because I don’t know how much I’ve read in 2018 to determine how much I need to read in 2019. But I have a whole bunch of books on my bookshelf that I’ve never gotten around to reading and I got several amazing books for Christmas.
Believe it or not, I’ve stopped reading because well I couldn’t stop! I am the type that will totally engross myself in a book. I will stay up all night reading it just so I can find out what happens! That makes me a great reader but does not make it great for working the next day. So recently I’ve only read while traveling: on a plane, on a train, or by a pool.
In 2019, I want to commit to reading 9 books. I am going just short of saying I will read one book per month because I’m not quite sure how this will look like or how I plan to exactly incorporate this into my day (only on Saturdays? every day?). What I do know is that even if I have no travel planed, I am going to turn the TV off and read.
So there you have it. I would love to know what you have planned for 2019. And of course, I would love to know what you think about the Buzzfeed article. Pretty please sign off in the comments below.
Cover photo by @styledbyabigail on Instagram