Stressed Out Millennial….Some Words of Wisdom from a Gen Xer

Got Stress Millennials????

I am hearing screams of a Hell’s Yeah coming from the masses!

These days I am surrounded by young people and most of them are stressed to the MAX.  Whether they are clients or people I meet networking who are college students, just getting out of college and into the work force or entering their 30s, I see the same thing I see both in myself and those that are older (AHEM young at heart.)

I am a Gen Xer.

I am from the crowd of people who when they were young raged against the establishment, were deemed lazy and entitled and were mistrustful of most adults  We are the generation that were young when the Seattle scene with grunge rock and coffee shops first hit the scene, and when the Brat Pack was popular (I know you have no idea who I am talking about…let’s just saw Rob Lowe and Emilio Estevez if that helps at all:)  We had movies like Singles that told the story of what it was like to be young and have no clue what you wanted and that was MORE THAN OK.

Every time I talk to people about my shock at how stressed young people are, I always reflect on the fact that I really don’t think I was THAT stressed when I was young.  Life seemed fairly simple.  When you got out of college you got what was known as “an entry level job” and you went out with your friends and had fun.  Period, end of story.  Work was 9-5pm after which I went to the gym and either hung out with friends or roommates.  Life was simple.

But something has drastically changed over time and I find it VERY concerning.

Young people don’t act young anymore.  They seem old to me….like right away in their late teens.  They have panic attacks and heart palpitations about the future ALL THE DAMN TIME!  They are then deemed “mentally ill” and immediately put on anti-depressants and anti anxiety medications.


The 20s used to be known as the decade of reckless behavior due to being present in the moment, impulsive and lacking an ability to think about the future.  Young adults used to be free to make mistakes and learn from them.  They did stupid things, most of which no one but their friends (who were also doing stupid things,) knew about.  If you were lucky, the consequences to the stupid things you did were just bad enough so that you heeded the warning and learned the lessons.  In high school you didn’t really have any clue what you wanted to be when you grew up and when you got out of college you didn’t really have that much more insight into the whole future thing and that was OK.

But the game has changed.

The cost of education, financial pressures, the internet, Mark Zuckerberg, social media, the school system, everyone getting a trophy and winning, helicopter parents and WAY too much focus on artificially bolstering self esteem changed it ALL.   And….

Dude the struggle is REAL!!

Most of the time I want to give my clients a warm blanket and pour them a cup a tea (yes you get some herbal tea when you come see me:) and tell them to…..

Chill the F OUT!!

In this interview with Simon Sinek he talks about some of the major issues that come up for Millennials not just in the work place but also in life.

He talks about ways that the generation of people born from approximately 1982-2000 have been affected such as having worse problems with self esteem than any previous generation, struggles in the work place with not knowing how to manage conflict, needing constant validation and having an addiction to immediate gratification due to being raised with technology, primarily through cellphones and social media.

I believe his thoughts are pretty right on; including the fact that

it’s not your fault and that you didn’t ask for this!!!

The beauty of being an older younger woman is that you have wisdom to share.

So here are some words of wisdom from this Gen Xer….

Life is not linear. There is no ladder with steps that just go up.  Life is jagged and messy.  You may leave your solid steady eddy job to take a new job somewhere else as a risk and realize that the promises that were made were hollow. You may find out that it is not the move you thought it would be.

That is life.

You may lose a job or a promotion.  You may break up with the partner you thought would be forever. You may take risks both personally and professionally that do or don’t work out. They may actually work and not work at the same time.  Man isn’t that the most frustrating thing!

I guess what I am saying is that life is a gamble.  I played it safe for a long time until I decided to take a leap and follow my heart.  This hasn’t, by any means, been easy but it has been the single most important thing I have done in my life.  Starting my own business has been a constant emotional roller coaster.  But again…

That is Life.

Life is messy and unpredictable.  Period.

I LOVE my young people.  Most of my work with my clients in their 20s and 30s tends to be focused on bolstering emotional resilience, increasing communication and intimacy skills and learning how to calm down, be less judgmental of self and realize that all the planning in the world will not necessarily bring you what you are seeking because life will take over.  And by life I mean that there will be things that can not be planned and, in fact, do not necessarily make sense because they involve a combination of emotions, spirituality and life lessons.  There is more to life than the eye can see.

It’s like the line in Steve Job’s Stanford commencement speech…

You can’t connect the dots looking forward….the dots can only be connected by looking back.

Some last parting words….

We can’t always know everything even though the mind likes to think it does.

Life is meant to be lived, not constantly planned.

Life is messy and challenging and beautiful all at the same time.

Emotions are not facts…they are just energy and they need you to listen to them.

All we can do is breathe our way through it all.  Be present, knowing somehow, someway, we will always be OK.

Because generally, in my experience, I always am.

Want some more thoughts on how to prevent stress from burnout? Check out our last convo Five Steps to Managing Burnout from Stress


Feel like having some support in the journey towards finding a happy YOU? Contact me here and schedule an  appointment today!



  1. Mellisa Louise on September 18, 2017 at 1:35 am

    Wow Stephanie! Thank you for putting this together. This quote “Emotions are not facts, they are just energy and they need you to listen to them” is a lifechanging concept.

  2. Never Give Up - Your Whole Healing on April 29, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    […] has been written about how the Millennial generation has struggled greatly with this concept.  I see that a lot in my practice and am quite […]

  3. Patrick Doyle on May 21, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    Love your blog Stephanie! Our different generations can learn so much from each other, yet we don’t know the questions to ask; or to take the risk to say “I’m havin a hard time here”. With so many negative influences from our culture, positive messages like this are needed to ground us to what it means to be fully human. We see it frequently with the Families we coach to support a loved one’s addiction recovery, at . Stigma has us believing we are failures, which is a big lie that gets in the way of healing. Keep up your great work.

    • admin on May 28, 2018 at 12:59 pm

      Thank you! Sorry for my delayed response as I am just seeing this now. It is very true. There is so much shame is suggesting that we as a society somehow got off track that we never even bring it up. Given that I see these issues over and over in my work, I am very open with each young client that comes before me about them and asking the right questions to help them talk openly about the life skills they are now missing. Having worked in addictions in the past, I see that these issues definitely impact those struggling with early recovery across generations. The use of positive psychology in addictions work is very much needed. Too much talk about what didn’t work, what isn’t working, how hard things are, etc. Not enough focus on embracing the positive in life and being grateful for what we do have. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I love writing and have been loving my work with my Millennials:)

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