What the heck is a quarterlife crisis?
More than ever before teens, 20-year olds, and 30-year olds are feeling frazzled, anxious, and overwhelmed.
The search for oneself is becoming more and more difficult, and the obstacles in the way seem larger and more numerous. Therapists report that anxiety, depression, and disorientation in young adults is becoming commonplace.
Being a young person was never easy. Modern times bring the ‘usual suspects’ that we’ve dealt with for centuries … breaking away from your parents, creating a sense of individuality, and mapping out a future.
Yet, it seems that these modern times also bring new or growing stresses, such as higher-than-ever expenses (think higher education and rent in larger cities). The effects of social media cannot be discounted. Daily bombardment of influencers and friends alike - seemingly enjoying the perfect life, with the perfect friends, and the perfect job – color our perception of reality and drive up unnecessary anxieties.
On top of it all, young adults are dealing with climate anxiety, a poisonous political environment, and Cold War-like tensions.
The quarterlife crisis is real and it’s no wonder that feeling frazzled, anxious, and overwhelmed is on the rise, regardless of age range.
What’s a young adult to do?
Building healthy habits always helps. Putting regular exercise, an attention to nutrition, and good sleep at the top of the list is an excellent starting point.
Setting and working towards realistic goals can build self-reliance, which brings the confidence necessary to face the future with optimism.
Taking stock of one’s life on a regular basis, every six months or so, and making necessary adjustments (with spending, work, and relationships) can help ensure we don’t go too far off track.
Being patient and enjoying the process can make a significant difference. No one is expected to have their life fully planned by the age of 20. That’s a myth. And it’s OK to live with family for a bit, if welcomed. Leaning on others when needed is encouraged, as long as we learn to lean on ourselves more and more often. Trust in the fact that we all know when we’re ready to fly the nest.
Don’t forget to slow down and breathe. Breathing helps everything.
And … of course … finding help when needed is so very important. Thankfully, professional therapists and counselors provide a safe accepting environment where young adults can find relief from the overwhelming stresses associated with this exciting chapter of life.
Dr. Wayne Bullock is a Washington D.C. area therapist specializing in the needs of gay men and the LGBTQ community. Wayne expertise includes helping those affected by anxiety, depression, and trauma.