Being overworked is no longer exclusively an adult problem.
Though workplace overload is a well-known issue in the adult world, don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s exclusive to grown-ups! Increasingly, children, teens and young adults are being affected by this problem. Many young people become exhausted because while they have physical strength, they haven’t yet acquired enough mental resilience.
- 15-24 year olds account for 10% of the labour market;
- 16% of this age group will stop working because of a physical or mental health problem;
- More of these young people have irregular schedules;
- They perform increasingly repetitive tasks;
Source: Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST).
Read on to discover how this situation affects us all!
Family ties seem to have a direct link to professional exhaustion episodes (also known as burn-outs). There is a high correlation between parents and siblings of the same sex burning out. For example, if daddy burns out often, his sons are likely to do the same. If mommy’s the “workaholic”, guess what? Her daughter may become one too. Monkey see, monkey do.
Even young children can be susceptible to burn-outs. Some can go through exhaustion episodes as early as kindergarten! According to pediatrician Catherine Dolto, the youngest of children are the most affected by their parents’ stress levels and the pressure to perform. Parents who place a high importance on performance and development for their children tend to give them very busy schedules. By the age of five, many kids are juggling school, judo classes, extracurricular soccer, swimming and piano lessons!
It’s a normal reflex: parents often want their kids to have all the tools and opportunities they never had. Some even try to compensate for what they perceive as their own botched childhood.
But once the child has burned out, what can parents do to ensure their well-being?
Treating for Burn-Outs
Experts recommend that parents give burnt-out children about a week of unstructured time off to allow them to “unplug” and rest properly. All they need is usually a quick recharge! It’s important that they get proper sleep and a healthy diet, accompanied by a good dose of entertainment and fun.
Parents should also re-evaluate their expectations towards their children if this situation arises. Helping children understand that their entire future doesn’t depend on each day, each exam, each moment, can help. De-escalate the situation to allow everyone to breath and assess the situation.
After all, failing is an important part of learning. Failures are often stepping stones, and may reveal new paths and outlooks. Excellence isn’t the only way to feel accomplished. Knowing how to pace yourself and planning time off is a skill that will be useful for a lifetime.