Blurred Lines: Millennials’ Work and Home Life Challenges and Ways to Overcome Them

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By: Melissa Schenkman, MPH, MSJ

The story below is a part of  YMyHealth’s Making a Healthy Office Comeback series. As more millennials return to the office or transition to hybrid work schedules in 2022, we will be highlighting the concerns and health challenges Generation Y tells us they are facing and feature advice from millennial experts on how to maintain your healthy habits.

It is all a little too déjà vu.

While many of us started this year thinking we were going back to at the very least a hybrid schedule at work and having kids with continual in-person learning at school (for millennial parents), the Omicron variant has put a new twist in the seemingly never-ending plot of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jason Phillips, LCWS, 37, runs his own private practice, Peace & Prosperity Coaching. He uses evidence-based treatments to help clients achieve success in the areas of mental health and wellness.

What challenges did you face in 2020, 2021, and now find yourself facing while working from home in 2022?

Fellow millennial, life coach, and mental health therapist, Jason Phillips, LCWS, shares his insights on the two major challenges his millennial clients have shared with him, and ways we can think about these challenges to unblur the lines of work and home life to make the day work for us.

What’s been keeping millennials up at night?

Two things, according to Phillips: your job and your family.

Throughout the pandemic, his millennial clients have expressed concerns about wanting to ensure that their jobs have their best interest at heart. Now with the omicron variant extending working from home, many millennials are asking themselves even more: “Does my job really care about me or do they only care about what I can produce for them?”

In some cases, the answer to the question is making the difference in whether millennials are choosing to stay in their jobs or becoming members of what’s being called “the great resignation” and leaving jobs to take another job that suits the amount of work-life balance that is a better fit for their ‘new normal.’

The other major challenge keeping millennials awake is the continual blurring of boundaries between work and family life, and how to navigate them. Millennials are constantly being challenged with what to do for their families.

“If you have a loved one, who you need to care for, millennial clients have been asking themselves: ‘How can I provide that care and be safe whether I’m going into the office or working from home?’ Phillips said.

On the flip side, millennials have been asking themselves what it would mean to home school their children or to do virtual school. This has been a very big challenge for millennial parents, especially for those who are performing their professional job at home while parenting.

Aligning Your Values

As we face Omicron and other unforeseen variants down the line, Phillips suggests several ways to frame your thinking in overcoming these challenges.

Millennials have been learning to prioritize in order to be successful and in some cases, if we are being honest, to just survive the day. To overcome the challenges that work and family can present, you have to determine what’s most important to you and what that life actually looks like.

“You have to decide what your value is first,” Phillips said. “Knowing that, then you need to answer the question: ‘How can I align what I value first—whether that’s family or health—with what you’re doing on a day-to-day basis?”   

For example, if you have to work later because you have caregiver responsibilities or doctors’ appointments, or equally important, you have physical health routines you want to keep up, ask yourself this question, Phillips said:

“What are some ways you can set boundaries to make that happen and still be a great asset to your organization?”

Now, try answering that.

It may not be easy, but your thoughts will change your day and all the ones that follow.

To learn more about the mental health challenges millennials are facing about work and the pandemic, and solutions to overcome them visit our Making a Healthy Office Comeback page.

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