I generally like to tout how awesome Gen Y women are in the workplace, but we have a major problem that we’re ignoring: stress.
Some stress, like a project deadline, can be a great motivator, but the never-ending cycle of stress we’re often in can have serious and lasting effects on our health. And it’s only going to get worse as long as we continue to constantly be connected to our careers (I say with an iPad, two phones and a laptop in front of me).
The funny thing about stress is that it isn’t something we should avoid altogether. Stress doesn’t just affect the negative parts of life; it comes along with all the best parts too, like friends, relationships, and careers. Avoiding stress would be avoiding life. The trick is learning how to minimize stress and put yourself in the best position possible to cope when situations come up.
I’m not going to tell you to meditate or do yoga like most people would. Though I enjoy both, they are only short-term solutions. If you are stuck in a job that truly makes you unhappy, sitting quietly and breathing isn’t going to fix it. Let’s break down the top three Gen Y work stressors and what you can do about them:
Problem: You Aren’t Living Your Passion
Why it’s stressing Gen Y: Surveys show that Gen Y ranks feeling connected to work and like what you do matters as the most important factors in a job. When we don’t feel a passionate connection to our work, it can cause unhappiness, loss of purpose, and lead to unhealthy habits and lifestyles.
What you can do: Find out what you’re truly passionate about and make it into a career. When someone doesn’t know what they are passionate about, I like to ask this question: What makes you jealous when someone is talking about their job? Whatever it may be, do all the research you can about the field. It can be scary to make a change like this, but being happy at work ‘” the place we spend most of our waking hours ‘” is worth the risk.
Problem: You Never Unplug
Why it’s stressing Gen Y: We are the most connected generation in the workforce, which isn’t always a good thing. Lacking separation from work and never truly taking time off creates a feeling of constantly being “on.” We don’t disconnect and relax. The boundaries or work and personal life are almost non-existent.
What you can do: Take your work email and calendar off of your devices on the weekend or when you go on vacation. If you think of something work related during your time off, send yourself a reminder email and forget it until Monday morning. If your job requires that you do stay connected 24/7, take an occasional tech-free holiday. For those with a particular problem unplugging, go somewhere remote with no cell service or wifi.
Problem: You’re Not Living a Healthy Lifestyle
Why it’s stressing Gen Y: In addition to never unplugging, we are cramming more and more into our days, not eating nutritious meals, and not getting enough sleep. Not only is this an unhealthy way to live, but you’re setting yourself up for failure when it comes to dealing with stress.
What you can do: Get moving, eat smarter, and catch some Z’s. It’s hard to find time in a busy schedule to exercise and eat healthy. The key here is planning. Take a few minutes once a week to map out times that you can workout and make a healthy meal plan. If you don’t have time to hit the gym, work some exercise into your day by walking at lunchtime or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Making sleep a priority is also a must. Set a calendar reminder each night, take the TV out of your room, invest in some ear plugs ‘” do whatever you have to make getting a good night sleep a regular habit.
Of course, taking these steps won’t stress-proof your life, but they will set you up to live a healthier life that allows you to battle stressful situations better when they do come up.
Photo: Paper Blog
How do you deal with stress? Tell us in the comments section.