Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Taking Care of Yourself Can be Messy for Millenials

UMC posted the following story authored by Ruth Cummins.

When mom tells her millennial “Take care of yourself,” eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep and exercise might seem like it’s enough.

But for true self-care, young adults in the millennial age group of about 23-38 must also take care of their mental and emotional health. That can be a tall order for a population that’s big on technology, but perhaps not so big on routine preventive care and consistently good decision-making on health issues.

“A lot of times, millennials will talk to me and say that when they’re overwhelmed or stressed, they will watch Netflix for two or three hours, or thumb through Facebook on their phones,” said Dr. Danny Burgess, associate professor of psychiatry and director of University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Center for Integrative Health.

“There’s nothing wrong with disengaging, but it’s a passive coping behavior. With self-care, you need to recognize what your body needs, and you need to be intentional about it.”

Taking good care of your body at any age is a key to good health, but in young adults, getting into a mindset of self-care might be necessary in order to achieve health goals.

“Self-care has to do with your physical body, your emotions, and your spiritual, social and leisure time needs,” Burgess said. “I want my patients to think of care in all of those areas, and then ask themselves: ‘What is it that works for me, and how can I intentionally incorporate that into my life?’

“For some people, it might be going to yoga, or going for a run. For some, it might be journaling. It’s not just going home and crashing on the couch,” Burgess said. “You deliberately engage in activities that are good for you.”

Third-year internal medicine resident Dr. Meredith Sloan is preparing to go into study mode for her boards. She finishes her residency in May, but is continuing for another year as chief resident.

“It’s definitely not something that I’ve given up on,” she said of practicing self-care as a millennial, and at one of the busiest times in her life. “I’m about six months out from finishing, so self-care is taking a back burner.”

She has several favorite ways to de-stress. “Sometimes, it’s just taking the evening off and watching Netflix,” said Sloan, who lives in Ridgeland. “I enjoy running whenever there’s a nice day, and to just get out of the hospital and enjoy the outdoors.”

Millennials would do well to practice boundaries between work and their personal life, said Dr. Daniel Williams, division chief in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior. Williams also is associate director of UMMC’s Office of Well-being.

“This balance may be slightly different for different people and different jobs, but having a way to separate yourself from work is important,” Williams said. “Consider some boundaries such as not answering the phone or texts during dinner, or not checking work emails after hours unless it’s a true emergency”

The biggest hurdle to millennials practicing self-care, Burgess believes, is the guilt they might feel. However, “self-care is not selfish,” he said. “Taking time for yourself isn’t a selfish thing to do. That might be treating yourself to a nice dinner, or taking a bubble bath, or just cocooning in your bed. You’re not doing something at the expense of someone else, but instead, taking care of yourself so that you can be productive in life and in relationships.”

Sloan understands the guilt thing. “I call it study guilt,” she said.

“It starts in med school, when any time you’re not studying, you feel like you should be. You have to forgive yourself for not getting everything on your to-do list done in a day,” she said.

It can be hard to achieve a guilt-free balance, Sloan said. “It’s something you have to learn, and some people come by it more naturally than others.”

Even small, quick actions can contribute to self-care, Williams said. “Learn fast-acting ways to relax. Practicing mindfulness, deep breathing or meditation can be done in several-minute blocks and can significantly improve how you feel,” he said.

“Taking a few minutes between meetings, at lunch or when you get home from work to center your thoughts and bodily responses can make a surprising difference.”

And if running or a yoga class seem impossible in your schedule, you can still move toward fitness – at the office, Williams suggests. “A good first step is to take a few minutes at work to get up, out of your chair, and move your body in a gentle way,” he said. “Stretch your muscles to let your body get out of your usual computer posture. Walk down the hall and get a drink from the water fountain. Maybe even take the stairs to your next meeting.”

Self-care in millennials, Burgess said, “is not always well-modeled for us. It’s always, ‘How are you helping other people?’ or ‘Are you working as hard as you can?’ There’s not enough emphasis on the balance. You need to pause and be deliberate about your self-care and not feel guilty.”

Burgess advises planning self-care into your schedule, just like a doctor’s appointment. “You need to say that on Wednesday at a certain time, I’m going to read a book. That’s you planning and being deliberate about your self-care, and making it as much of a priority as going to a doctor’s appointment. Treat it as if it’s just as important.”

Reschedule your self-care if you have to delay it. “If your bath time gets interrupted, reschedule your bubble bath to tomorrow. Make sure you keep your self-care behaviors as a priority, and not something easily canceled or dismissed,” Burgess said.

“You want to feel good about those behaviors, and feel good about yourself and taking care of yourself.”

“It’s natural for our time and attention to focus on our problems, worries and concerns,” Williams said. “Sometimes, this means that we don’t take time to savor our accomplishments, appreciate our successes, and be grateful for good things in our lives.

“Write down a few things you are grateful for, tell a friend or family member why you appreciate them, and take stock of progress you have made recently. You may be surprised at what you find when you intentionally appreciate positive things in your life.”


Anonymous said...

Just work harder and suck it up snowflake millennials. /s

Anonymous said...

And the floor is open for millennial jokes. Thanks KF.

Anonymous said...

Interesting article. So basically we shouldn't stay on our phones for hours at a time after work, and we shouldn't stare at screens for hours on end for pure enjoyment.

I'm no rocket scientist but haven't all generations before millennials done that anyway? Did we really need a 1500 word article to tell us not to stick our finger in the socket?

Anonymous said...

We claim to care about self care but do we really? Physical education is all but stripped out of the curriculum by 6th grade. Relegated to the optional extracurricular sports. I think some form of sports class should be mandatory as our society becomes increasingly sedentary.

As a 32 year old millennial I didn't take my health seriously until 3 years ago and figuring out what was effective proved much harder to do in the sea of (mis)information.

I do take issue with part of this article:
>Millennials would do well to practice boundaries between work and their personal life, said Dr. Daniel Williams, division chief in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior. Williams also is associate director of UMMC’s Office of Well-being.

Easier said than done. This also requires cooperation from work side as well. My wife will routinely come home and still have work to do sometimes until late at night. And in my previous job I would be working alternating 80 hour weeks. So, yes I do agree that work-life balance is extremely important, but it seems that this is not so important to business in the current always-online era.

Anonymous said...

Back in my day all you needed was a high school diploma to get a job making $45,000 a year dumping toxic waste in the river at night.

This was back when a house only cost $30,000 and a brand new car was $3,000. And we didn't have smartboxes and iBoxes.

I don't understand why millennials are so fragile and why they think they should have everything right out of school.

Maybe you snowflakes should watch Tucker Carlson and grow up.

Anonymous said...

3:05 pm

I don’t care if you were serious or joking

It’s funny both ways

That’s true thought/humor imo

Anonymous said...

Some study must have determined that chicken nuggets, strips, etc are bad for you. I mean that's all they it, right?

Anonymous said...

Many . . . (but not all) . . . of these kids are too damn lazy to even make a 2:00 a.m trip to the neighborhood Taco Bell.

Or any other late night joint.

No wonder Krystal, has filed for bankruptcy.

Anonymous said...

“Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times.”

― G. Michael Hopf, Those Who Remain

The last 40 years have been pretty much boom times, and the millennial generation (not all but most) may go down in history as "The Weakest Generation" because their parents spoiled most. However, the cycle will revolve and they will get their turns being made strong, or they will roll over and vote Socialism en masse - another damaging thing the boomer generation did.

Anonymous said...

@5:58, very true. That’s why so many kids of wealthy parents who were given everything are so weak. Just look at the president’s temper tantrums if you need proof. Once the kids these days are faced with depleted natural resources, a climate that is uninhabitable, an economy that has been kicking the debt can down the road for decades, and destroyed ties with traditional allies, then they will understand the hardships that no other generation faced and we will see if the human race will survive.

Marilyn Brookes said...

The major problem I see with the "younger generation" is that most of their connections are on phone or computer. I have been through some hard times, as I assume most of you have, and I depended on my friends to help me through. If all your friends are electronic, who is going to come hold your hand or bring you a casserole or a bottle of wine? I worry that the young people have mostly friends on line. I think that is a real problem for them. They don't have eye contact huggable friends.

Anonymous said...

"Millennial joke." That's redundant.

Anonymous said...

good grief 6:08pm, is everything about trump to you? it must suck to be constantly obsessed with someone whom you hate so much. looks like you need to take some advice from the article and chill the fuck out.

Anonymous said...

Calm down Greta and take your meds. The earth will not be uninhabitable in 100 years.

Anonymous said...

@8:33 AM
How absolutely dare you make fun of a girl with disabilities!

Anonymous said...

Where does she get 38? These shitheads cut off about 26. Absolutely fuckin useless unless you want someone to take a picture of a taco you just ordered at Babalu or as fuel in a doomsday scenario

Generational Guru Sez said...

@12:44 PM - it's not "age," it's birth year. Let me help you with this. Each year someone gets a....wait for it...a year older.

For example: in 20 years a millennial will be 20-years older, but....wait for it....still a millennial.


Anonymous said...

38 year old millennial here. Class of 2000. Old enough to have been deployed in the War on Terror. My kids are kids born in the 21st century. Gen Z aka Zoomers. What you ignorant Boomers keep calling millennial. They are the ones likely to be sent off to the next blood for resources boondoggle our leaders cook up.

Anonymous said...

Much like the 12th graders in a N.C. high school last year that protested studying about WW2 was stressful and created anxiety for them due to kids there own age going to fight. The school district sided with students and scrapped the class. You can't make this stuff up if you tried. Millennial generation would have us all speaking German.

Unknown said...

Every generation throughout time has thought that the next generation is doomed. The kids will be fine.

Anonymous said...

@6:44 AM
You must be trolling because millenials are too old to be in high school. Maybe you meant millennial school teachers?

Anonymous said...

" blood for resources"


If some of you would ever glance at a history book, you might understand these things.

All Wars relate to economics.
Hell "blood for resources" dates back to the caveman days.

But since many schools no longer teach history, (before 1980) . . . we understand your ignorance about such.

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