Burnout at Work Is Literally Killing Us

At some point over the last four years, Millennials somehow went from a lazy, entitled college cohort to a lot of humorless, overly-worked office drones. They became the burnout generation of a “hustle culture”—and so if the stereotype metaphor tracks from their lazy, sensitive days, millennials are now just charred snowflakes.

Of course, millennials aren’t the only burned-out generation (just as they probably aren’t the laziest). “Overworked, underpaid, stressed out—that’s most people nowadays,” says Randall Otis, Daily Show writer and host of Men’s Health’s Get a Grip! “We’re a nation of overworked, sleep-deprived people.”

We—all of us—are taking few vacation days as fewer vacation days are offered. We’re apparently working over 7.8 percent more hours per year than workers four decades ago (despite global work hour averages declining; Americans love love work.) And all that work, work, work has made working out a “luxury item,” Randall points out.

Working too much likely correlates with working out not enough, and as one study showed, makes you more likely to gain weight or get ill. Sounds about right. “So you’re tired, sick, weak, hurt, and you’re supposed to bench press after all of that. That’s not a healthy life. That’s a dystopian game show.”

And working more won’t necessarily make you productive. In fact, after 55 hours, productivity begins dropping even as you keep working. At that point, you are simply, as the great thinker DJ Khaled preaches, “playing yourself.”

Take control of burnout by prioritizing sleep and finding ways to disengage from work. (Here are some more strategies for tackling work stress, and here’s how to know you’re suffering from “burnout,” a real disease classification.) Exercise may also help relieve stress. But, in the end, some problems aren’t yours to fix.

“You don’t need a treadmill desk. You need a vacation and a raise,” summarizes Randall.

Amen. Now, where are our participation trophies?

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