It’s no secret millennials are stressed. From every corner whether personal, housing, work or financial—we’re struggling.
But perhaps the most overwhelming stress above all else is the toll it’s taking on our mental health, especially when it comes to our career.
A study undertaken by the Mental Health Foundation last year found, out of 4500 people surveyed, millennials felt more under pressure at work than their baby boomer colleagues, with more than a quarter stating that ‘working with stress’ was just ‘expected’ in their job.
While stress is a natural part of life, it shouldn’t be ‘expected’ or treated as normal, yet if the latest stats are anything to go by, it seems we are fast tracking our way to an unhappy future.
Latest statistics have revealed not only are Australian millennials the most unhappy generation’, according to Deloitte, but are also expected to be suffer worse health in middle age than their parents due to higher levels of psychological stress according to The Health Foundation.
Which quite frankly, is both alarming and worrisome. So it’s time to hit the backpedal and bring our mental health back into balance.
But how you ask—when our work life, home, financial and dating life seems to be out of our control? One word—resilience. Resilience allows us to face the day head on and move through it with a sense of strength, optimism and groundedness.
According to a recent Global Resilience Report as explained by Peta Sigley, Co-Founder and CKO (Chief Knowledge Officer) of Springfox that work in partnership with The Resilience Institute, millennials tend to struggle with the key factors that correlate with the skills needed for high resilience. The main issues being sleep delay, boredom, self-critique, worry and regular disengagement.
But the upside is, these are skills we can work on over time and develop to build our resilience now and into the future, both at work and in our personal life too.
Not to mention a win for millennials is that we score well on factors like focus, purpose, emotional agility, decisiveness and flow—“which are all fantastic skills and contributors to personal resilience,” according to Sigley. “In fact, the ability to focus is the common thread between the most resilient people.”
With all that in mind, we asked Sigley—an expert in resilience to share with Sporteluxe readers why we need resilience, how to get it and most importantly—how to practise it in the workplace and bounce back in the face of challenging situations.
“Due to the increasing complexity and demands being faced in the modern workplace, building resilience has never been more important—resilient people are fulfilled at work; they are focused, decisive and have an optimistic outlook and acts as a buffer against the onset of stress and burnout. In times of stress or sudden change, resilient people can sustain positivity and optimistic thinking in a structured way that isn’t swayed hugely by emotion.”
“Whilst we’re all born with the ability to cope and handle stressful situations, this differs according to individual resilience but can be strengthened over time.”
“But also, being resilient doesn’t mean that a person doesn’t experience difficulties it’s just that they bounce back from them quicker and more consistently than ever. Often it’s a common misperception that resilience is only developed in the wake of adversity or trauma.”
“Resilience is made up of four factors: courage, connection, creativity and bounce. Courage is your ability to be enthused by challenges and change; connection is your level of respect and care for others and nature; creativity is your ability to develop your talents and create opportunities; and bounce is your ability to recover, but also grow from adversity.”
“One of the most effective ways to boost your resilience is to find your purpose. People who have a clear purpose and direction find it much easier to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and keep moving forward. The Japanese concept of Ikigai can help you discover that. Ask yourself the following questions…”
“Give yourself the best possible chance at success by understanding and implementing your strengths – take the time to establish what you’re good at and how you can maximise each opportunity to demonstrate your strengths to those around you.”
“However note that this usually means being self-aware of your weaknesses and mitigating them before they place you in a stressful situation. For example, if you’re a person who always runs late, put the necessary steps in place to stop this behaviour such as giving yourself false deadlines or added travel time.”
2. Reframe challenges into opportunities
“There is no doubt that you will be faced with hurdles in your professional life. The key to overcoming hurdles is to approach them glass half full and recognise that with every challenge comes and opportunity for growth.”
3. Find your flow
“Flow, or ‘being in the zone’ as it’s also known, is a mental and physical state of being that balances a sense of calm with acute focus. It is a state of sustainable and effective performance, within which we are fully engaged with the task at hand.”
“A few ways to find your flow are: avoid multitasking, define your goals, eliminate distractions.”
4. When in doubt, breathe out
“When you’re up against a tight deadline, you’re feeling tired from long nights, or you’re dealing with a tricky conflict at work, remember to take a deep breath out. This helps to slow yourself down, lower your heart rate, and help alleviate the physical manifestations of stress. You can even practice square breathing (breathe in, hold, breathe out, hold for 4 seconds each) during the day.”
“If things are particularly bad, you may need to ask for a mental health day. For some, investing that one day of rest is crucial in preventing burnout.”
5. Get outside your comfort zone
“So many of us will step back from an opportunity driven largely by fear; fear of failure, fear of the unknown even the fear of what other might think of us. When we take action in spite of fear, courage, we are developing one of the core pillars of resilience.”
6. Extend your skill level
“Look for and be open to new ways of working – for example working in parallel teams across business areas, or even taking on different responsibilities. This will force us into thinking differently, work with different skill sets and expertise, interacting with different people, and inevitably stretch our own skill set which helps us build resilience because when we are outside our comfort zone, we have the opportunity to grow.”
“A degree of failure is imperative to growth, especially if we stop long enough to ask; what have I learnt? Where am I going from here? And how will I get there?”