If You’re Stressed and You Know It, Clap Your Hands!

A recent study printed in TIME Magazine claims that the most stressed out generation is–drum roll–YOUNG ADULTS! Aww, thank you! Thank you so much! I was not expecting this, so I didn’t really prepare a speech, but I would like to thank my extremely expensive student loan bill. I mean, every month, it’s like, thanks, DSL! I totally had no interest in saving money for a trip to New York, I wanted to pay more money toward the education I almost forgot I have! Um, also super loud HOLLA to all of the jerks I have dated in the past three years. It has been really nice hearing you dudes continually tell me you love me too much (?) to date me (??) but then courting like…super fake blonde actresses who don’t even have full fringe instead because you clearly do not like real women, just the ones who pretend to be other people!

Ooh, and how embarrassing! I almost forgot to thank society for pressuring women to be a certain size so we can fit into printed jeans (is that what we like now?) without looking like an advertisement for a flower shop or a zoo on the side of the Goodyear blimp.

I am ready to hear your guys’ acceptance speeches.. Come on, young adults! Let’s hear it for the stress!

Okay but (semi) seriously, the report reads that young adults tend to be the most stressed out generation for a variety of what are, to a young adult, obvious reasons: financial problems, work issues, relationship angst, and little or no health care support. The piece that stood out to me most, as a kinda stubborn (ha! “kinda stubborn”) young adult, was the health care aspect of dealing with stress. Though a contributing factor to our generation ranking the highest in stress levels is the fact that many of us–far too many of us–do not have any health coverage at all, the other aspect is that those of us who are covered do not view stress as a mental health issue, therefore we are not focused on “curing” our issues. If you get sick, you go to the doctor, right? (At least I hear that’s a thing. See: aforementioned stubbornness.) And you go see the dentist if you have a toothache, or a cavity, or you are just a responsible young adult so you get your teeth cleaned or whatever people do when they go to the dentist every month. (Overachievers.) But what about if you cannot fall asleep at night because you think about how in debt you will be for what seems like the rest of time? Why not get that little issue checked out? Listen guys, and I am totally being hypocritical right now, but maybe us young adults should consider caring for our mental health as we care for our physical health.

Mike Hais, co-author of Millennial Momentum claims that us “millennials,” people ages 18 to 33 years old, have a harder time transitioning into adulthood as the generations before us because we are growing up during a much tougher time. Concerning our generation, Hais says that “they were sheltered in many ways, with a lot of high expectations for what they should achieve…Even though, in most instances, it’s not their fault — the economy collapsed just as many of them were getting out of college and coming of age — that does lead to a greater sense of stress.”

In no way would I ever feel comfortable claiming that my generation (I didn’t know we were called “millennials,” but I kinda dig it!) has it harder than every other generation, but I will say that with the wide range of options we are provided with, our lives seem a little more difficult to hone in on. We are told that we can be whatever we want to be from a very young age. Though I am incredibly grateful to have as many options as I do have for the rest of my life, it is incredibly stressful to be like…do I want to travel the world (and the seven seas), or do I want to go to grad school and further my education that I already pay too much for years and years after I graduated? Or do I want to promote within the company I already work for, or do I want to write like ten books and see if any of them get published? Do I want to move to a big city, or stay in a small one, or move in with my mom and never pay rent again?! DO I WANT TO BE THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BECAUSE THAT ISN’T JUST A MAN’S JOB ANYMORE?

I mean, I can do literally anything that I want to do, but sometimes it takes money, or time, or effort that I do not necessarily have, so yeah, that stresses me out because I would love to move to New York City and Carrie Bradshaw-it-up, even for like a year or two, but then I will be practically 30 years old, and shouldn’t I be thinking about having a baby before my eggs shrivel up or whatever happens to eggs after a woman turns 30? And also, can I even afford an NYC life, because I can barely afford to live in my small town and pay my phone bill, my internet bill, my student loans, sometimes my mother’s phone bill, and my far too pricey rent, as well as the fact that I am still paying off my laptop and it is not even an Apple product, and speaking of Apple products, I want an iPad, but I know that financial choice is not the wisest, and I can’t even go out with my friends because I either A) can’t afford it or B) have to work early in the morning, not to mention C) what if I run into my dumb ex-boyfriend?

Real adults don’t stress about these things, right? I mean maybe the bills, but definitely not the ex-boyfriend, and hopefully not the should-I-stay-or-should-I-go-ness of being in your 20s.

Ugh. Here’s hoping, at least.

But I don’t want to end this on a sad note, you guys. Let’s talk about anti-stress-ers. Healthy ones! To relieve stress you can/should:

  • Get a puppy! Or if you can’t because your landlord won’t allow them, borrow a puppy to walk once a week. The puppy’s owner(s) will be so grateful, and so will you, and so will the puppy. See? Win, win, win.
  • Let someone take you on a date, even if you think it might be casual, even if you think or know that you will never fall madly in love with him or her. It is perfectly acceptable to like someone, but not totally be in love with them. Dates are fun. So is making out. And it is really good for you.
  • Get a massage. Can’t afford one? Make your friend give you a back massage. What are friends for? Back massages. Plus you get the bonus of venting about all of your problems to them while they give you a rub down. Then buy them some coffee, or lunch, or tweet at them or something. Don’t use your friends because that leads to them deleting you on facebook and that will just add to the stress.
  • Take a long shower, even if it makes your roommates mad, because who even cares if your roommates get mad? When you are a real adult, you won’t even talk to your roommates anymore. Oh, come on, you know it’s true.
  • Go for a run. Or a walk. Or like….at least leave your house and breathe fresh air. Have you blinked in awhile? You have probably been on the computer too long. Go do a puzzle or something with a fan pointed at your face. Or buy one of those running magazines and pretend that you are going to start doing it.
  • Take your vitamin D. In fact, if you live in rainy Seattle like I do, double up on your vitamin D. I’m serious. Don’t act like a vampire, it isn’t as sexy as the media makes it seem.
  • Go shopping. Modcloth is cool. So is Etsy!
  • Get a punching bag. At least an emotional one. (They are called “boyfriends,” I think.)
  • EAT COOKIES, JUST BECAUSE YOU SHOULD EAT ALL THE COOKIES. Also good to know: a dozen donuts is one serving.
  • Listen to your music really loudly, but not in your earbuds because one day you will not be a young adult, and don’t you want to hear your kids’ stories when you get old?
  • Spend ALL of your time on HelloGiggles.com, because here, we understand you. xoxoxo
  • Alright, Millenials. Keep your heads up. Once you are 34 years old, everything will be perfect, or so this is my understanding.

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