Do you fall within the 18 to 33-age range? Do you find you can’t sleep at night due to your over-active mind driving you to the brink of insanity? Is your health taking a turn for the worse causing you to pick up the Influenza A virus AND the Influenza B as well? (Just me then?)
If you’ve answered yes, it means you’re one of the many Millennials who’s not dealing with the overabundance of stress you’re feeling. According to this “Stress in America: Missing the Health Care Connection” study by the American Psychological Association, it turns out Millennials, at the rate we’re going, will probably sprout gray hairs before our parents.
The study reported that on a 10-point scale, American adults ages 18 to 33 reported an average stress level of 5.4 out of 10 compared to the nation’s 4.9. So what is it that has us stressed out more than the rest of the population?
Here are the top three reasons I’ve gathered from friends, colleagues, and social media:
1. The Job Scene
The job scene remains dismal giving college seniors and recent grads serious cause to worry. We’re mulling through in a temp economy where we hop from one available job to the next and there’s not much comfort in that. Then there’s also the fact that staying on our parents’ insurance runs out once we turn 26 so finding a job with good health insurance any health insurance becomes imperative.
2. College Debt
According to this Forbes article, by 2012 the average student loan debt reached $27,233. Even with the standard six month grace period, it’s possible recent grads will spend anywhere between six months to a year before finding steady employment.
3. The Post-College Dating/Social Scene:
If you’re not living in a city, your social life is probably dryer than the gin and tonic you just knocked back at the local bar.
A bar you say? Well then, it can’t be that bad, right?
Sure, if you’re interested in the over-40 crowd, which you’re not because you’re still in your twenties. But you find yourself here because there just isn’t anywhere else to go and your mom hasn’t signed you up for Match.com yet (or so you think).
My intention isn’t to depress you with the above topics but it’s important to figure out what’s causing you stress in order to know how to relieve it.
Because 49% of Millennials who took this study said they believed they weren’t doing enough to manage their stress levels, here’s advice that should relieve some of that tension you’ve been holding onto.
- Start your job search and career planning NOW. There is no such thing as starting too early or too late as long as you’re making progress. And don’t think you’re too good for internships or too shy for networking. Most of us who are now employed were hired via internships and networking. If your internship is unpaid, just make sure it’s legal.
- Budget. Knowing how to save money will save your ass. Go to a bank and work out a savings plan. (Check out Mint.com, too.) Get a job bartending, serving…whatever pays, and start saving. If taxes aren’t taken out of your paycheck, take out half and put it into a savings account. You’ll feel rich in a few months.
- Exercise. For anyone who has ever seen the movie Legally Blonde, I quote, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t sit at home wishing they were back in college…” or something like that. Get a gym membership and find classes to take. I recommend kickboxing. There’s nothing like punching on a heavy bag after a stressful day.
- Be social! If you’ve ever had a college bucket list, now is the time to complete it. Once you graduate, it could be a long time before your social life is as exciting as it is now. For recent grads, sign up for livingsocial.com where you can find good deals (remember you’re budget) on trips and activities in your area.
- Go abroad. Traveling abroad is amazing and eye opening and much harder to do accommodate once you graduate. If you have the study abroad option, do it. (I hear the classes are easier, too!) If you’re interested in taking a gap year after college, there are numerous work programs for people who have the travel bug.
- See a therapist. Yes, I’m completely serious. And no, it doesn’t mean you’re crazy. College and post-grad life is stressful. Talking it out with someone, other than your friends, offers you a new perspective. If you’re under your college health plan, it’s possible to get therapy sessions for free or a reduced price.
- Give things a chance: For recent grads who are having a tough time meeting others their own age, don’t discount speed dating and online dating. I’ve tried them both and just like any “normal” dating experience, there are pros and cons. If it helps, just think of it as a way to meet new people who have similar interests.
How are you dealing with stress as a Millennial? Let us know on our Facebook page.