Work Stress Is Causing Major Burnout Among Millennials, Data Shows

Burnout is serious business, and it's wreaking havoc on younger workers in particular.

Maurie Backman
Maurie Backman
Jul 14, 2019 at 6:18AM
Investment Planning

We all go through rough patches at work -- that's a normal, expected outcome of holding down a job. Things become problematic, however, when that stress evolves into a case of full-fledged burnout.

It's not just a buzzword. Mayo Clinic defines burnout as "a state of physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion, combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work." And that's a pretty tough thing to experience.

Unfortunately, millennial workers are all too familiar with the concept. In a survey of workers aged 23 to 28, treatment center Yellowbrick found that 96% of millennials suffer from burnout to the point where it impacts their everyday lives. A good 31% of younger workers experience physical exhaustion on a daily basis as a result of that burnout, while 29% feel mentally exhausted every day. These feelings have prevented millennials from doing things such as socializing, paying their bills, and even going to work.

Young woman on phone at laptop, holding her head as if stressed

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

Work is a major culprit

Though work isn't necessarily the only source of millennial burnout, it's a significant contributor. Case in point: 61% of millennials feel pressured to work long hours or overtime, while 45% worry that they could lose their jobs at any moment. Additionally, 62% of younger workers feel compelled to always be available to their employers via email or phone. That level of pressure can easily result in a burnout situation, especially when it's been present for quite some time.

If you're suffering from burnout, or are on the verge of reaching that point, it's imperative that you take steps to address the problem -- before your physical, mental, and financial health suffer even more.

Combatting work-related burnout

Fighting burnout isn't easy, but there are things you can do to alleviate your work-related stress, thereby minimizing its impact and potentially recovering from burnout (or near-burnout) more quickly. For one thing, learn how to manage your time as effectively as possible to boost your productivity during the day. By doing so, you might manage to leave the office at a reasonable hour more regularly. Remember, it's easier to make the case to your boss that you're heading out on time when you've already tackled pressing projects ahead of their respective deadlines.

If you're worried about job security to the point where it's causing you stress, there are ways to help there, too. First, work on growing your skills, whether by taking classes or shadowing colleagues you can learn from. The more value you bring to the table, the harder a time your company will have letting you go. Additionally, network a lot within your company so that you get to know various people in different areas. The more people you build solid relationships with, the more options you'll have for remaining on your company's payroll.

Finally, if you've been feeling the strain of always having to be on, schedule some phone-free hours during the workweek and pledge to not check work emails or field calls during those times. For example, you might say that from 9:00PM on, work matters are off-limits and will have to wait until morning. That way, you're more likely to feel that you're getting an actual break from your job.

Burnout is a serious problem, and one that should be treated as such. If your workplace is causing you undue stress, talk to someone about it, whether it's your manager or a person from your human resources department. And if that doesn't help, dust off your resume and look into getting yourself a new job. There are plenty of companies out there with reasonable expectations, and working for one could be just the thing to improve your health and outlook on a whole.