Millennials attract an awful lot of negative press attention these days. Whether we’re being pulled up about our fashion trends, the foods we eat, the haunts we frequent, or our obsession with technology the stereotypes that the older generations have bestowed upon us are hard to shake. On the face of it, we shouldn’t care; we lead our lives as we see fit. However, what if the health professionals, politicians, and older folk are onto something? What if our unhealthy obsessions and inability to grasp, and accept the consequences are leading us down a treacherous path? Perhaps you don’t want to contemplate your unhealthy lifestyle or its associated dangers. We’re here to ask you to think again.
Living fast, leading to excess
There can be little doubt about it; the millennial lifestyle is far removed from the daily grind experienced by our parents and grandparents. Hundreds, if not thousands of hours of research have gone into ascertaining that millennials, as a general rule, smoke more, eat unhealthily, and do less exercise than any generation that has gone before. We stress unendingly about the things we cannot control and have allowed our unhealthy obsessions with technology and social media to dictate our body image and reactions to peer pressure – not to mention the many, many units of alcohol we’re capable of consuming in a single night out. We enjoy sugary, caffeinated drinks and long, lazy mornings snuggled up with a box set and a tub of ice cream. We’ve been known to lose entire weekends at a time, but make up for it during the week when our heads never touch the pillow. The millennial lifestyle is a rollercoaster one, and it isn’t without associated health risks.
So, what’s awaiting us, and is there anything we can do to reverse the inevitable?
Listen up, because this next part is important. It’s time we were held accountable for our actions, and we don’t just mean that poorly judged sweater you wore a week ago last Tuesday. The millennial lifestyle is at risk of leading us all astray – and worse – if we don’t sit up and take note of the advice that’s being handed out. Okay, so perhaps we’re used to being the butt of the media’s jokes, and the subject of much scorn and ridicule amongst our elders. However, have you ever stopped and thought about the changes that you have the power to make; the changes that it might be necessary to make?
Stress, anxiety, and depression
Mental health awareness has never been such an issue before; it would appear that our penchant for working longer hours, staying up later, and obsessing over social media is causing our emotional health some serious damage – but we’re often too ashamed or embarrassed to seek help. The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is real. Indeed, we’re often so concerned with how we should look, what trends we should be engaging with, and which Kardashian is our spirit animal that we forget how to live and live well. Take a step back and breathe; realizing that you need a little help is the first, vital leap towards feeling well again. It’s time to break that vicious cycle and take control.
Burnout and high blood pressure
While we’re on the subject of slowing down, did you know that an estimated 19% of young people suffer from high blood pressure? That number far exceeds original estimations made by doctors and scientists, proving that millennials are living faster, unhealthier, and more stressful lifestyles than even we’d dared to imagine. High blood pressure places a person at an increased risk of a heart attack, stroke, or kidney disease, but it’s not the only symptom of a frantic lifestyle. Total burnout and exhaustion is also a real issue amongst millennials; we’re often so busy pleasing others before ourselves that we forget to stop every once in a while. Trust us when we say that it pays to take care of yourself and listen to your body.
Cholesterol is no longer an issue for the elderly, infirm, or obese. According to research undertaken by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute as many as one-third of young people, and children, in the US have high cholesterol; a controllable risk factor of heart disease. Although deaths linked to poor heart health declined between 2000 and 2010, the instances of young people falling victim to heart disease and cardiac arrests rose by 5% during that time. If the figures shock you they’re meant to; you only get one heart. High cholesterol is a severe problem across our generation, but it’s relatively easy to combat. A simple cholesterol blood test could tell you everything you need to know before it’s too late. A healthy diet, plenty of exercise, and some consideration for the well-being of your heart won’t go amiss either; put down that cheeseburger and Frappuccino, and listen to the thudding in your chest.
Cancer, stroke, diabetes, and heart disease
Heart disease has been the number one killer of women in recent years; young women aren’t always on the radar for screenings or tests, and so opportunities for diagnosis and treatment are often missed until much too late. So, why is it that we’re suffering in silence? We shouldn’t be suffering from these kinds of illnesses when so young. However, we’re placing ourselves at an increased risk of cancer, suffering a stroke, and diabetes, because we live a little too well at times. Inactivity, rich, processed foods, and sugary treats all contribute towards an unhealthy lifestyle, and our bodies are running out of time. Step back and assess your diet; are you getting enough of the good stuff? Now is also the perfect time to pick up a new hobby, such as jogging, walking, swimming, or hitting the gym. It’s never too late to make a change for the better.
It’s not just heart disease, strokes, stress, and burnout that we’re courting with our hard and fast lifestyles. A lack of sleep encouraged by too much screen time, eating disorders inspired by unrealistic expectations, and skin cancer caused by an addiction to the tall, tanned visions of loveliness we’re told to aspire to become are dogging our young lives. Millennials might get a lot of bad press, but we don’t deserve the myriad of health problems that await us if we continue to live as we do. Your health matters; the way you feel about yourself matters. We have become a generation stereotypically obsessed with our looks, celebrity, and a quest to do everything this instant. However, maybe, just maybe, it’s time we all slowed down and took a long, hard look at what we’re at risk of losing if we don’t start acknowledging our health. We’re not invincible; please remember that.
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