AUDIO: Burn Out is Taking a Toll

It doesn’t stop.

The din of the modern world drones endlessly, relentlessly, and there’s no way out. The stress of work, money, social media pressures, emails. It’s constant.

So every now and then it’s worthwhile to stop and get context. Are things really so bad? Direct comparisons with previous generations are difficult, but it must be admitted that the Depression and what followed offered plenty enough stressers to burn people out. Except they didn’t because it wasn’t an option.

“The things that stress people now are frankly mostly ridiculous,” says Julie Nise, who consults businesses and advises clients as a family therapist. “In the Depression, that was real stress. People literally didn’t have food. People were losing their homes. In the 40’s, with world wars, there were really significant challenges.”

The children who survived the Great Depression became soldiers fighting malaria and enemies in swamps and were concerned about more than their social media profiles and how many likes they had. Hey young people, the work-hours during World War Two were terrible, too.

In a world that doesn’t slow down or stop, it’s helpful to remember that in earlier times some people were hoping the speed of change would pick up, bringing things like air-conditioning, washing machines, antibiotics and deodorant. The simple things. The pressure to meet an orthodontist’s bill can seem overwhelming, but before braces people worried more about keeping their teeth than straightening them. Sure, a quicksand of changing social mores can throw anyone off their game, but does everyone have to be offended by everything?

“Nowadays, everybody is perpetually offended at the slightest thing and they call it a huge stress. People today don’t even know what stress is,” adds Nise.

Somehow, we survived Neanderthals, sailing across oceans, many wars and shepherding in the Information Age. Hang in there, kids. Odds are you’ll make it without burning out.

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