• Creating greater awareness requires you to slow down and become more mindful of what you're thinking and feeling in the moment.

Mental health illustration
Mental health illustration
Image: File

Often, the 20s and early 30s are thought to be the most exciting and best times of a person's life. Individuals in this age range are generally in good health, have minimal responsibilities and are able to explore opportunities and take chances in both their professional and private lives.

However, it's becoming increasingly clear that young adults are not free of the stresses that come later in life.

In fact, many people in this stage of life experience periods of uncertainty and anxiety during which they question their goals, plans and even relationships.

Now more than ever, young people are feeling stuck, uninspired, or uncertain in life. While this pandemic and subsequent shutdown have affected everyone, young adults are struggling more than elders with challenges around the pandemic for many reasons.

This is what we call the quarter-life crisis.

What is a Quarter-life crisis?

Similar to the more widely recognized midlife crisis, the quarter-life crisis is a period of uncertainty and questioning that typically occurs when people feel trapped, uninspired and disillusioned during their mid 20s and early 30s.

People may feel that they are stuck in their dead-end job while all of their friends advance their careers or wonder why they cannot seem to make a romantic relationship last when other members of their social group are getting married and having children.

4 ways to handle a quarter-life crisis if ever you start having one

1. Become a "Thought and Feeling " Detective

You can't pick a direction of you don't know where you're today. This means that in order to create any kind of forward movement in your life you need to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings in the moment. Without a sense of " does this make me happy?" or " do I enjoy the day to day aspect of my job?" it's impossible to know what is truly working and not working in your present life.

Creating greater awareness requires you to slow down and become more mindful of what you're thinking and feeling in the moment.

2. Audit your days

Pick a block of time every single day to audit. Write down exactly what you did and add your thoughts bout this activity and how it made you feel. You want to start thinking like a detective and get curious about the things you do each day that make you feel happy, challenged, frustrated or sad.

Do this over the course of several days or even weeks, and then look back at your notes. You'll start to see patterns of what kinds of activities at work make you feel inspired and excited and which drain you of your energy. You'll start to notice if you're not spending enough time on activities you enjoy or perhaps if you're surrounded by people who create anxiety and stress.

3. Start Making Fearless decisions

Making decisions when you're young is difficult. When you have your whole life infront of you the possibilities are endless and when the possibilities are endless the harder it is to make a decision. One of the biggest myths of decision making is that there are "right" or "wrong" decisions. Not true. There's no "right" or "wrong", there are just the decisions you make.

All decisions are helpful because they provide us with information. If you want to better understand yourself and what you want in your life and career, you need to start making decisions.

4. Trust the Discomfort

Making decisions is hard, but what's even harder is sticking with the decision even when things start to get uncomfortable.

Once you make a choice or you choose a certain path, you will be giving up all the other options available to you, and that will feel like a loss. This loss is not regretted or an omen to change your mind; it's a natural feeling of sadness for the road not travelled.

Remember a quarter-life crisis i a crisis of self-identity. If you've spent your entire life with one vision of what adulthood would look like for you and suddenly you've realized that vision doesn't align with the person you've become that's really difficult and incredibly uncomfortable.

Practising self-compassion is honouring yourself and accepting your humanness. There are certain people in the world who knew what they wanted to do when they were kids and have never wavered. But the majority of adults went through twists and turns while determining their unique life path.

Your discomfort with your new identity is a natural part of the process so please remember to practice self-compassion and trust you'll find the right path for you.

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