One of the biggest trends sociologists and psychologists are noticing about the Millennial generation is the high levels of burnout across the entire demographic. In fact, we even touched on this very thing in our blog in an interview with renowned Millennial therapist, Tess Brigham.
But, as summer approaches and we [theoretically] have at least one moment to ourselves to reflect on just what we’re even doing anymore, we figured it was time to look at a long-lost Millennial indulgence: hobbies.
So, grab a hot cup, a tasty cocktail, or some sparkling water, and let’s dive into a pastime we should be doing more — that is, pastimes, of any kind, where the only #grind you should be getting into is a rich cup of coffee.
Ads Show You the Way
Perhaps the biggest indicator of the split between Millennials and their free time comes in the form of advertising. On Instagram, Facebook, streaming services, and even good ol’ fashioned cable [which we only watch when we’re visiting our Boomer parents, naturally], Millennials are flooded with options for what to do with their “extra cash” [HA!]. In fact, as Millennials, we’re more often than not in the ads offering quick getaways, special deals, and travel packages we’d love to hit with a little more time and pocket scratch. On one hand, the gigs are great! On the other, we’d love to take a little taste of what we’re creating every now and again.
And we’re quickly learning that if we don’t carve out time for ourselves to do these things, no one else will.
Hobbies Becoming Hustles
Maybe one of the most classic Millennial moves is to take a passion project — either from childhood, adulthood, or the neighborhood — and see if you’re able to make part of your living from it. On one hand, it’s a natural progression: do the thing you love because you love it, and if you can do the thing you love for an actual living, well, isn’t that the Millennial American dream?
It certainly can be. But everyone, of all generations, can attest to where that can go. When you’re doing the thing you love for work, eventually it becomes actual work, and suddenly, you no longer have the thing you loved to do… you just have yet another job to keep track of in the gig economy that helps your bottom line, but doesn’t quite get you over the hump to have it be your only job. From there? Well, more likely than not, it’s time to drop the hobby in place of something that’ll make you more [or escalate it to maybe, possibly, hopefully be your only gig]. Either way, the thing you did to unwind and show some self-love gets absorbed into the #hustle… and you’re burning out all over again, but with the added emotional context of losing something you loved, as opposed to simply adding another survival job.
On a personal note, I don’t mean to sound bitter about this —we’ve both caught ourselves in this Millennial cycle more times than we can count as Millennial voice actors. But we’re both at stages of looking for what else we can do that’s just “for us,” and we know we’re not alone [just search “Millennial burnout” or “Millennial hobbies” and you’ll see every example you could want].
So… What Do You Do for Fun?
Increasingly, Millennials are turning away from the traditional modes of unwinding [despite what advertisers might say], and looking for things that a) bring Millennials more “in the moment,” and b) are activities that are the total opposite of what they do for a living. If it hits on both? Even better.
Oftentimes, this means turning to “older” hobbies, a.k.a. the hobbies of our grandparents. Look through Millennial Instagram, and you’ll be flooded with images of Millennials crocheting, making sourdough, birdwatching, canoeing, cross country skiing, and gardening. Board and card games have made a huge comeback in the last 10 years, as has crafting in all forms, from adult coloring books all the way to simple woodworking classes. The common thread? All of these are decidedly unplugged activities. For a generation that’s allegedly “addicted to our phones,” we’re sure trying to move away from them as quick as possible for our leisure time.
A Little “Millennial Me” Time
So as you take to summer, please: do your best to take your summer and practice some good self-care doing something you genuinely love. While “summer” may never be a verb for Millennials at large, it can still be a perfect time to unwind and find something that’s purely for you.