Have you ever noticed how most conversations have the typical exchange?
“How have you been?!”
“Really busy, but I can’t complain” (or something along the same lines.. you catch my drift)
Our generation seem to thrive when we’re too busy for our own good, enjoying the stress of having a giant to-do list and drinking endless cups of coffee to stay awake and complete tasks. Its as though we’re ashamed to say that we’ve had a lazy weekend or enjoyed an evening binge watching Netflix on the sofa!
We are too used to living life in the fast lane that we can’t slow down.
According to the media, Millennials are the self-employed generation with more of us opting to work for ourselves than fall into working for someone else. We are starting brands, freelancing skills, becoming influencers and travelling the world.. basically making it up as we go along and being badass enough to avoid of the life plans that our parents sketched out for us. We’ve broken all of the typical milestones and proved that life doesn’t need to be mapped out, we can choose how we want our future to look and pursue our dreams.
Being self employed can be the most incredible and rewarding thing in the world but also the hardest. Don’t get me wrong, its the best feeling knowing that you’ve built a brand from scratch.. but it also means working 24/7 and never being able to switch off. I don’t know about you, but I actually feel guilty whenever I’m not working. If I go to bed at a reasonable hour or spend some time focusing on something other than work, I stress about how much I could have done. However by doing this, the candle is truly being burnt at both ends and on a regular basis, a burn out is inevitable. Which by the way only adds to the feeling of not doing enough and feeds the guilt.
Its a ridiculous pattern that I can’t seem to break and only realised when my mum pointed out my inability to slow down and lets be honest, our mums know best. They’ve watched us grow up and know us better than we know ourselves, so its inevitable that they realise when we need to chill out (and trust me, my mum tells me to stop all the time). Staying busy, and pretending to be busier than we are is just something us millennial are surprisingly good at but something we really need to change.
It isn’t just work that keeps us busy though. Its juggling work with a social life, relationship, exercise routine, life admin, seeing family, etc. Oh, and the added stress of being single and having to date because my god thats a whole other ball game of time consuming! I don’t know how some people seem to have their sh*t together! If my social life feels like its blossoming, my work to-do list is three times as long and you can bet I’ve not cooked a nutritious meal in at least a week. Balance is not easy.
But can you imagine the amount of fun we’d be having if we just slowed down, even once a week? If we took away the pressure to be perfect and stepped out of our lives to actually live our lives. Whether its joining a gym class, banning phones at dinner, reading a book on the underground instead of editing pictures or actually leaving work at work.. just switch off.
I’ve been trying to do the above for the past fortnight and its amazing how the conversation changes. My reply is no longer ‘I’m really busy, but can’t complain’, it’s now ‘Great thanks, work is going really well and I’m loving it’.
Because now that I’m not feeling constantly stressed about how busy I am, I’m enjoying everything so much more.
And yes, I know I sound like the biggest cliche and should write an article for Cosmo about being a #GirlBoss but honestly – everything gets so much easier when you stop focusing on the ever growing to-do list and start enjoying each task by switching off between for a little headspace.
Give it a try..
a twenty-something exploring the world with a double espresso and a camera.