I hereby declare 2019 the year of the overwrought headline.
A BuzzFeed reporter wrote a gazillion word screed declaring millennials the burnout generation after realizing that simple tasks like running errands and replying to emails had just become too stressful for her.
The woman is clearly a neurotic mess. I couldn’t get past the first page without hyperventilating into a paper bag.
Of course the post went viral, attracting counter-posts from every media outlet you can think of, from Bloomberg and The New Republic to CBS News and the Guardian.
Apparently burnout is an epidemic. Who knew?
We’re not talking about your average everyday work-related burnout, mind you. We’re talking societal burnout.
A Forbes piece by the coauthor of a new book Trillions goes on and on about how the world has become so complex that our puny human minds simply can’t cope.
After two paragraphs I started desperately searching for a vice big enough to hold my head together and keep it from exploding. Couldn’t find one. Hit the scotch instead.
Of course there are shreds or is it threads of truth to all this nonsense but everyone seems to miss the obvious point: You can turn it off.
You can choose not to waste half your day on social media and then wonder why you never have enough time to get things done.
You can quit worrying about global warming, going vegan, Donald Trump, #MeToo, Elon Musk, fantasy sports, Mark Cuban, the bees, identity politics, that YouTuber who decided to go gay for a month, diversity and inclusion, the Kardashians and what some idiot halfway across the world taught her dog to do with a skateboard.
You can work towards an actual career – there are plenty, you know – instead of getting a worthless liberal arts degree, struggling to be an entrepreneur, working eighteen different gigs 24×7 and wondering why you can never make ends meet.
You can stop taking selfies and obsessing about yourself.
You can cancel your Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu subscriptions and still manage to lead a full and meaningful life.
You can mind your own business.
You can quit doing everything everyone else does or says you should do and try thinking for yourself for once.
You can get a good night’s sleep. Yes, every night.
You can quit Googling how to be happy, positive and likable and try getting out and having some fun once in a while.
You can stop using vitamins, supplements, fad diets, colon cleanses and homeopathic cures – none of which do a damn thing, by the way – and just eat right and exercise.
You can occasionally sit and think — maybe even meditate or live in the moment and see what’s really going on in that little head of yours.
You can quit obsessing about becoming a millionaire and retiring before you’re 30 and try finding work you enjoy doing.
You can dump all the worthless self-help books, blogs, podcasts and prescriptive listicles on the personal habits and morning routines of the rich and famous.
I can go on but you probably get the point by now.
Just in case, I’ll spell it out. I know this might be a little hard to grasp while you’re juggling 45 different apps, texts and videos on your smartphone but you know what? You’d be surprised what a little discipline, focus and fun can do for your mental state.
If none of that works, you might want to get some professional help. Seriously.
Image credit Merlijn Hoek / Flickr