Millennials are experiencing higher anxiety and depression rates than any other generation. So, what’s a millennial to do? Self-care needs to be at the top of your list. Here are ways to build self-care into your workday.
An alarming report from Blue Cross Blue Shield found that major depression diagnoses among millennials have risen by 47% since 2013. Since millennials make up the largest demographic in the workforce, job productivity might hit a detrimental low if nothing is done to fix this issue.
With the constant barrage of negative news stories — like terrorist attacks and school shootings — flooding TV screens, social media, and coworker conversations, millennials are struggling. But with so many different variables at play, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what’s behind the millennial mental health crisis.
However, the following two factors are often quoted as triggers for millennials:
- Social Media. Sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat might be more harmful than you realize. “Studies have linked the use of social media to depression, anxiety, poorer sleep quality, lower self-esteem, inattention, and hyperactivity,” Healthline reports.
- Debt and the Economy. While debt and the state of the economy are enough to get anyone down, it’s hitting millennials the hardest. “Rates of depression among millennials are naturally increasing because of the economic reality of increasing student loan debt, decrease of job stability, and the rent economy, ” Healthline states.
Work can be overwhelming on its own, but when you’re struggling with your mental health, even the smallest task can seem insurmountable. This crisis might not have a fast fix, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some actionable things you can do — starting today — to feel better.
1. Make Sleep a Priority
Scrolling Facebook into the wee hours of the night? Browsing Instagram stories when you should be asleep? It’s no wonder your mental health is suffering.
According to John Hopkins Medicine, “Depression and sleep problems are closely linked. People with insomnia, for example, may have a tenfold higher risk of developing depression than people who get a good night’s sleep.”
- If you have trouble unwinding at night, put down the phone in favor of a book. You might find it helps you de-stress and fall asleep faster.
- Try a meditation app, like Calm or Headspace, to keep your brain from focusing on stressors at night, like work or personal relationships.
A better night’s sleep on a regular basis may boost your mood and improve your performance at work.
2. Talk to a Friend
If you’re having a tough day at work or just feeling down overall, connecting with your support system can help.
- Call a friend or loved one. Vocalizing how you’re feeling and/or talking through an issue can be enough to lift your spirits considerably.
- Schedule regular in-person lunches with friends. Seeing a pal face to face beats an impersonal social media post any day.
- Chat up a coworker. Connect with your coworker about a shared interest, like a hobby or television show.
Talking to your support system can help you recalibrate so you return to work refreshed.
3. Get Out of Your Space
Being cooped up in an office all day isn’t healthy for anyone. But add anxiety on top of that and you’ll be hard pressed to get anything done at all.
Try one of the following ideas:
- Go for a walk to clear your head
- Find a park bench and read
- Listen to your favorite music outdoors
- Go for a run on your lunch break
- Walk to a nearby coffee shop for some caffeine or a snack
- Book a lunchtime massage at a nearby spot
Sometimes all it takes to clear your mind is fresh air.
4. Find an Alternate Workspace
If you’re finding it hard to get work done, an alternate workspace just might be the perfect solution. Talk to your boss about offering workspace flexibility so you can choose to switch up your locale as needed.
A few benefits of coworking spaces include…
- You’ll get more done. When you’re surrounded by productive people (who you aren’t obligated to talk to), you’ll be more productive, too.
- Not today, office. If your office is loud and distracting, having the flexibility to choose a coworking space instead will do wonders for your mental health.
- Enhanced creativity and well-being. Simply being in a new environment might make you feel better, boost creativity, and improve your work performance.
You know what they say, “new location, new you.”
5. Remember to Put Your Mental Health First
Solving the millennial mental health crisis isn’t going to be easy and the fix will need to be systematic to make a difference. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take matters into your own hands.
If you’ve been feeling anxious or depressed, it’s important you get the help you need. Whether that includes switching up your workspace, a weekly lunch date, seeing a licensed therapist, or anything else, mental health must become a priority for millennials.
By incorporating self-care into each workday, your work performance is less likely to be affected — and you just might find you’re much happier, too!