Nowadays, whether it’s baby boomers, millennials or generation Z, each has gained its own set of stereotypes tainting their image.
Where the popular bias against Millennials is that they are “lazy chaps” ruining the economy, truth is a little more complex than this.
For starters, both Millennials and Generation Z have practically grown up living their lives surrounded by far more advanced technology than what their predeceasing generations will come to experience even today.
And that has made all the difference in their lives.
Millennial burnout was an issue first highlighted by an article posted on BuzzFeed and it became an instant hot topic for discussion.
Generally speaking, it refers to psychic and physical symptoms associated with burnout: anxiety, depression, insomnia, weakened immunities, loss of appetite and substance abuse, as well as depleted energy levels. Leaving a person in a suspended state of helplessness, feeling loss of control and disorientation to the point of feeling paralysed.
Now spanning out, this health crisis is starting to prominently show itself in Gen Z people too.
In a survey done by American Psychological Association (APA) in 2018 on Stress in America – Generation Z (born between 1997 and 2012), they have been stated to just edging out Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) on reporting their mental health in poor conditions.
With only 45% of Gen Z Americans reporting to have experienced good mental health as compared with Millennials at 56%, Gen X at 51% and Baby Boomers at whooping 70%.
Survey also reports: “Slightly more than nine in 10 Gen Zs between ages 18 and 21 say they have experienced at least one physical or emotional symptom due to stress in the past month, compared to around three-quarters of adults overall who say they have experienced at least one symptom. Among Gen Z adults (ages 18 to 21), common symptoms of stress include feeling depressed or sad (58 percent), lack of interest, motivation or energy (55 percent) or feeling nervous or anxious (54 percent). During the prior month, adult Gen Zs also commonly reported laying awake at night due to stress (68 percent) or eating too much or eating unhealthy food (58 percent).”
Investigating this, I went around university campuses in London, asking students (who falls under Gen Z age bracket) how much their own experience relates to the findings of this report.
Jonah (aged 20) said: “I literally can’t remember the last time I had slept because I wanted to and not because I just dropped dead on my bed only to wake up at bleak hours of next morning feeling more exhausted than when I went to bed.”
Millie (aged 17) said: “Starting university, where my parents had been so excited I just couldn’t feel the same way. I mean it’s my decision to study further but I feel so anxious all the time, like one misstep and the delicately balance by which all aspects of my life hang would fall apart. I can’t watch all my hard work turn to dust over any tiny mistake”.
Laura (aged 21) said: “For the last three years all I have dreamt, ate and breathed was my goal to get perfect grades so I can give myself a solid boost in the work industry, ‘cause god knows competition isn’t getting any easier and I just want to be able pay this huge student dept on my back”.
Emily (aged 21) said: “Yeah I’ve been thinking of going to counselling or taking up therapy ever since I saw a pamphlet in the library. My university offers it for stress management, anxiety, depression, homesickness, really the list goes on forever. TBH (to be honest) I just can’t even find the energy or time to do that”.
Ryan (aged 22) said: “I just go from red bulls to beers with my buds to showing up at uni, because that’s what’s demanded of me, if I’m not present then I’m not remembered. I fall behind my peers. And the last thing that’s on my head is losing my relevance. I just can’t bear that”.
Even with more acceptance of their problems, a solution for it seems like a news of the future for the Gen Z folks. But with proper support and deeper understanding of this growing issue, there may be a good hope to tackle this after all.
Words by: Meghna Agarwal
Images: copyright free from Unsplash