For young people, pressure comes from all different directions.
I’m becoming independent! My body is changing!
What if I fail? What if I don’t get into that university?
What am I going to do with my life? (What even is life?)
Also, how do I save the Earth?
As a result, half of Gen Zs (54%) are experiencing burnout, our Gen Z Wellbeing Check research has found.
“The main thing that is negatively impacting my wellbeing is the school workload,” a 16-year-old female from South Australia told us.
“Being in year 11, and undertaking multiple year 12 subjects puts quite a lot of pressure on me, impacting my mental health, and the magnitude of assignments means that I’m always worrying about getting work done rather than spending time with friends relaxing and having a break.”
“I tend to burn out if I’m not careful, which then puts me behind on all my work.”
An 18-year-old female from Queensland who’s managing full-time university, two jobs, and being in a relationship shared similar sentiments.
“I currently have too much on my plate which is leading to burnout,” she said.
“This is impacting my physical, mental and social health as I never feel on top of anything.”
Burnout is more than just feeling exhaustion. Researchers at UNSW, Gabriela Tavella and Gordon Parker, said that it’s also “cognitive dysfunction, withdrawal and disconnection from the world and those around you, and reduced work performance (whether that be in paid work or in tasks you are responsible for at home), commonly accompanied by depression, anxiety and insomnia.”
As a parent, look out for those potential signs. If they’re going through burnout, here’s how you can try to help.
- First, just listen. It’s natural to want to spill advice and save the day, but make them feel seen and heard. Ask questions to help them name what they’re feeling. Let them see for themselves what might be the cause and what could be done to help.
- Relieve pressure. Don’t push for unhealthy perfectionism, set more realistic goals, and tell them that any fear of failure is normal. Life can be messy, challenging, and awkward sometimes, and you are loved and accepted for whoever you are and whatever you achieve.
- Free up time. Look at their schedule and make sure their plates aren’t overloaded. Is there space for relaxing and fun activities? Catch up with mates, have a go at art, listen to music.
- Limit phone usage at night. They need proper rest, but 58% of Gen Zs have problems getting a good night’s sleep and 66% said it’s screen time keeping them awake. So find a healthier bedtime routine, like the no-phones-after-eight rule.
- Go back to basics: eating healthy food, drinking enough water, moving the body, getting fresh air. We all need a reminder sometimes that these are the essentials to a healthy mind and body.
- Consider getting professional help. Nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about here. Seeing a counselor or psychologist is a healthy way to manage mental health. In fact, 41% of Gen Zs told us they’ve been to therapy while 11% haven’t before but would like to.
Mum, Dad, carer… what about you? Are you setting a good example for work-life balance and self-care? Show them how you set personal boundaries and overcome your own struggles. You can be one of their greatest teachers.