Thrust into an isolating, online existence, was a pretty extreme reality during pandemic, fuelling mental health and social issues in a global evaluation of the ‘meaning of life’. A perfect storm for the rise of the wellbeing sector, ushering in a plethora of therapists, mental health experts, healthy eating and hormone remedies, all algorithmically driven to the appropriate demographic in a digestible affirmation or life hack demonstration, in an effort to reprogram our consumer habits.
I for one was gobbling up all the goodness, till I realised consuming the beautifully packaged products, chanting affirmations and advocating for others, didn’t mean I was living a balanced life and earlier this year, I became one of the 69.9% of marketing and advertising professionals to burnout.
I’ve mentored and supported others in creative industries, but in truth, I’d never advocated for myself and part of me thought burnout a Gen Z affliction, as Gen X, I was brought up in studios with blurred hours, loving my boundary-less work/life, never thinking to push back, even if I was broken from exhaustion every 6 months.
But now, on the other side, I want to enjoy my work and my life, so like many, I’ve become more interested in the culture of a workplace than the job itself.
Although I’m not quite a conscious quitter (getting your work done, then switching off guilt free) I do kind of get it, as it’s no less valid and anyway, we’re not all clamouring for employee of the month.
We’re already seeing the shift with agencies like Kindred ‘committed to maintaining a safe and sustainable place to work, where health and wellbeing is consistently supported and promoted’ or giants Google, offering ‘thoughtfully designed‘ wellness programs to enhance ‘health and wellbeing‘ and ‘make it easy for [employees] to take good care of [themselves].‘ You can even tap your Headspace app for tips on wellbeing in the workplace.
Which means we’re heading in the right direction. But in a world where AI is seeping into the fabric of life, being human is more precious than ever. The robots can’t quite mimic our creative, quirky, nuanced selves… yet! So huge emphasis needs to be put on the importance of connection, communication and community to future-proof our mental health. Advocate for yourself, check in on others and let’s help change industry standards.
In researching other burnout-ees, I came across the founder of design company, utendahl creative, Madison Utendahl, who launched the Burn Out Candle after experiencing her own, ‘because the only thing that should be burning out around here is this small batch, hand poured, soy wax blend candle. Breathe in, breathe out and remember that you deserve a damn break.‘ So I’m buying me an ironic candle to light every time I need to remind myself, it’s only advertising.
Featured image: Polina Kuzovkova / Unsplash