3 Tips to Survive a Quarter Life Crisis

Thursday, September 8, 2016 @ 9:55 PM

Turning 25 can be a big deal for many of us. It was for me. It’s hard to believe that you are a quarter of a century old. Your life is not what you thought it would be. We’ll discuss what is a quarter life crisis, and what you can do about it.

What is a quarter life crisis?

As little girls and boys, we dream of what we will be when we grow up. A fireman. An actor. A teacher. A wife and mother. An entrepreneur. But then life happens. You change dreams or may those dreams were squashed. You weren’t accepted at the college that you had hoped. You’ve finished college and you’re still not sure what you want to do with your life. You want to be in a relationship, but no guys or girls seem interested in you. You cannot afford your hobbies with your current salary. These and many other things can leave you stressed and wondering what the next stage of your lives holds. Will it be more of the same? Will you ever reach your goals?

The crisis comes when your goals are blocked and you see no way out. Your mind panics. The ‘what-ifs’ shout at you, making you more anxious and even more paralyzed to take action.

Symptoms of a quarter life crisis?

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depressive thoughts
  • Helplessness
  • Worry
  • The ‘What-ifs’
  • Feeling immobilized
  • Not knowing what next steps to take
  • Your mind races
  • Comparing your life to others
  • Wishing things could be different

I’m sure there are more symptoms that you could name. If so what are they? These symptoms can be the products of many things. But if you are in your mid-twenties and experiencing these symptoms, you maybe having a quarter life crisis. A quarter life crisis is fairly normal and here’s why.

Why is a quarter life crisis normal?

My guess is that you have spent much of your life living with your family who gave you some guidance, or a lot of guidance. Most of your life up to this point has been mapped out for you. High school. College. Not many decisions had to be made without the input of family or close relatives.

But then you finish college, and now you have to look for a job, figure out where you are going to live, establish friendships, pay bills, and figure out what kind of person you want to be. The decisions start and end with you now. You don’t have as much guidance and that is scary for many of us. You are experiencing the weight of the decisions and the weight of the consequences of those decisions. If things go right, you have yourself to congratulate. If things go wrong, you have to own the consequences. This is a big responsibility. No wonder you are stressed!

How to survive the quarter life crisis?

Step 1 to survive a quarter life crisis: Reflect on why it matters so much.

Make a list of the areas you are stressed about. Ask yourself the following questions:

Why does this area matter so much?
What does it mean to me?
What does it say bout me if I accomplish this? If I don’t?
Many times we can get stressed about certain areas of our lives because of what we believe they say about us. For examples, “If I don’t find a relationship soon, no one will want me.” Or “If I don’t get a job in this field, I’m a failure to my family.” Unless we reflect on these things and discover our negative self-talk, we can miss what is driving our anxiety and stress. If you believe those example statements mentioned above are true, no wonder you are anxious, depressed, or unmotivated.

How can you begin to question your negative self-talk and attach new and more accurate meaning to these decisions and events? For example, “If I don’t find a job right away, does it really mean I’m a failure? Are other friends and family saying that to me, or is just in my head?”

Step 2 to survive a quarter life crisis: Take things one step at a time.

Instead of feeling the need to make all of the decisions or accomplishing all of your goals at once, prioritize which decisions or goals need to be made first and/or which one is most important to you. Rank the rest. Then take the top goal or decision and ask yourself:

What is one tiny step that I can take to move me in the direction of accomplishing this goal or decision?
What resources or tools do I need to make this decision?
What will give me the confidence I need to take this step?

Step 3 to survive a quarter life crisis: Ask others for input

Even though you are in charge of your life now, that doesn’t mean that you cannot ask others for input or advice so you can make a good decision. Who are friends, mentors, etc. that you trust to give you good advice? Go take them for coffee and find out what they think of your situation. Ask them what they have done in similar situations. You are not alone!

I know this all just touches the tip of the iceberg. I am confident that if you take it one step at a time, get input and understand what might be driving the crisis, you’ll be way ahead of most people in this process. Feel free to reach out to me if you’d like more help in the future.