Are you a twenty-something and you’re completely and utterly lost in life? Did your original life plans change or fail and it now seems like there is no hope of ever finding the right path to take? You might be experiencing a quarter life crisis. I’m here to tell you that as confusing and terrible as this time may be, it can get better.
It’s been four years since my quarter life crisis and I’m glad that those dark days are behind me. Since I was unaware of the possibility of having a quarter life crisis, I was completely unprepared to handle it. I found myself making my crisis worse because I simply didn’t know how to care for myself during such a difficult time. I may have made some mistakes in handling my quarter life crisis, but it helped me grow as a person because I learned how to add wellness into my life. I was skeptical at first, I didn’t think that taking small steps to better my health and my relationship with myself would do anything to lift the heavy fog of confusion I was living in. But when I did, my life started to brighten. Today’s tips focus on what will make your crisis worse and how wellness can help you start to feel better. For more information about what a quarter life crisis is, check out my first installment in this series, Quarter Life Crisis: Awareness.
3 Things that Make a Quarter Life Crisis Worse
- Drugs and alcohol
Forgetting your worries may be no more than a shot of tequila away but it won’t actually solve any of your problems. Relying on substances to make you feel better will only stall your progress and leave you lingering in a quarter life crisis for much longer than you would want.
- Negative people
Negative people will only add to feelings of self-doubt you are already having in a quarter life crisis. Some of these people might be fun to hang out with but after a certain amount of time you will start to feel worse about yourself and life in general. Avoid them whenever possible.
- Indulging in negative thoughts
Just like in the song Somebody That I Used to Know, “you can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness.” During a quarter life crisis, it’s easy to get stuck in a pattern of negative thoughts but try not give them too much of your time and energy.
3 Things that Make a Quarter Life Crisis Better
- Find your anchor
When you have questioned or done away with your old beliefs or life plans, it can feel like you are floating with no purpose to hold on to. This is when it’s a good idea to spend time questioning what is truly the most important to you. Then, anchor your life around it. Your anchor could be your family, your career, your faith/spirituality, or anything else that provides structure, support, and hope for the future. From my experience, anchoring myself around building a career in writing helped me move past my crisis. It may take a lot of soul-searching and misadventures but it’s worth finding your anchor.
- Focus on your physical and mental wellness
Even though I did start eating healthy and losing weight before my quarter life crisis, sticking to a healthy diet and incorporating exercise into my daily life helped keep me healthy for most of my crisis. Find one practical way you can add wellness into your life and use it to balance your mental and physical health: it could be doing yoga, eating better, taking vitamins, or spending more time with the positive people in your life. Your mental wellness and physical wellness are interconnected so it’s vital to keep yourself as physically and mentally healthy as possible during this rough time.
- Talk to someone who understands
It’s normal to think that no one is going to understand what you are going through. People put on a happy face. They use filters on Instagram, and only post about their accomplishments. It’s easy to feel like you’re the only one who doesn’t have an amazing life. Open up to the people around you who you trust. Chances are they have gone through something like this themselves. If your crisis is severely and persistently making life difficult to live, turn to a mental health professional for help. Here at rtor.org we have a directory of vetted and trusted mental health professionals who serve the Northeastern area of the United States.
The Golden Takeaway: A quarter life crisis isn’t something that is all bad; it can help you grow as a person. It may be difficult to experience but allowing wellness to be a part of your life, even just a little bit, can make this turbulent time more manageable. If things do get worse, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
For Families: Be there for your younger family members who are going through a quarter life crisis. Listen to them and share your past experiences of when you were younger and lost in the world. It helps them to know that others have made it through this difficult period. Also, be aware that young adulthood can bring about the first symptoms of serious disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. If it appears that their quarter life crisis is turning into something more severe, encourage your younger family members who are struggling to seek help from a mental health professional.
If you or someone you know is in need of mental health resources contact one of our Resource Specialists.