Gen X is the 'most stressed' generation alive but they're also the best at handling it
via Wikimedia Commons

Generation X, people born between 1965 and 1979, are America's goofy middle children sandwiched between the much larger Baby Boomer and Millennial generations. Gen X prides itself on being individualistic, nonconformists committed to a D.I.Y. ethic whether that means writing a punk 'zine or launching a tech start-up.

(If you just asked yourself "What's a 'zine?" you're clearly not a member of Gen X.)

It's a generation marked by an aloof cool where any personal slight can be written off with a "whatever" that's deathly afraid of taking anything too seriously. It's a generation that was so put off by the corporate, commercial culture of the '80s it rebelled by wearing second-hand clothes and ironically embracing low-brow '70s culture.



It's the generation of hip-hop, Tiger Woods, Quentin Tarrantino, the re-birth of punk rock, John Cusak movies, and Atari.

A big reason Gen X is so self-reliant is that it's the generation hardest hit by divorce. According to a 2004 marketing study it "went through its all-important, formative years as one of the least parented, least nurtured generations in U.S. history."

Gen X was the first generation that experienced both parents working outside the home. But, unfortunately, at the same time, childcare centers and afterschool programs had not yet emerged to a significant extent.

Now, the "Coolest Generation" finds itself somewhere between 42 and 56 and is hitting middle age. Unfortunately, that means it's now the most stressed generation in America. Although, in true Gen X fashion, many refuse to let anyone see they're stressed.

An extensive study by Penn State showed that stress began to hit Gen X sometime in the last decade. The 2012 study discovered that Gen X had an average stress level of 5.8 (out of ten) while Millennials (3.4) and Baby Boomers (4.4) were a lot calmer.

A study from earlier this month shows that the trend hasn't changed. In 2021, 22% of Gen Xers admitted to daily struggles with stress followed by Millenials (17%), Gen Z (14%), and Baby Boomers (8%).

A big reason for the stress is having to take care of multiple generations. Many Gen Xers have to care for their aging parents as well as their children who are just starting to make their way in the world.

Gen X may have aged its way into the most stressful part of its life, but things could be a lot worse. There's no group of people better equipped to deal with stress. When executives at Nike studied Gen X it found the generation's hallmarks are "flexibility," "innovation," and "adaptability." "They have developed strong survival skills and the ability to handle anything that comes their way," the study says.

Gen Xers may think that's just a bunch of corporate B.S. However, it's true. Gen X grew up during the AIDS epidemic, the end of the Cold War, the Challenger disaster, the late '80s and early '90s crime wave, 9/11, the Great Recession, COVID-19, and managed to survive after "My So-Called Life" was canceled.

We've survived tough times and we'll make it through these as well. Just got to follow the advice of Gen X's poet laureate, Tupac Shakur: "And it's crazy, it seems it'll never let up, but please, you got to keep your head up."

We can also look forward to grabbing a big box of popcorn and enjoying the massive Millennial meltdown that happens when they hit middle age. It's not going to be pretty.




Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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via Fox 5 / YouTube

Back in February, northern Virginia was experiencing freezing temperatures, so FOX 5 DC's Bob Barnard took to the streets to get the low down. His report opens with him having fun with some Leesburg locals and trying his hand at scraping ice off their parked cars.

But at about the 1:50 mark, he was interrupted by an unaccompanied puppy running down the street towards the news crew.

The dog had a collar but there was no owner in sight.

Barnard stopped everything he was doing to pick the dog up off the freezing road to keep it safe. "Forget the people we talked to earlier, I want to get to know this dog," he told his fellow reporters back in the warm newsroom.

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Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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