While you may be familiar with the term “midlife crisis,” 20-somethings are increasingly battling a demon of their own: the quarter-life crisis. Maybe you’re questioning your choice of major, or are anxious about the direction of your life. It’s not an uncommon phenomenon: Research has shown that young adults are afflicted with insecurity about their lives just like people combating a midlife crisis. The problem is most common in young adults a few years out of college, so take steps to avoid a quarter-life crisis altogether with these preventative measures:
1. Cultivate relationships
The support of family and friends is a critical component of happiness. To be content with your life, you need to spend it with people who are supportive and want to share your experiences, both good and bad. Taking time to cultivate relationships with people you love and trust will increase the presence of positivity in your life and help you avoid feelings of doubt or despair.
2. Do what you love
In terms of your career, it’s important to pursue something that you love to do and makes you happy. It shouldn’t feel like work. Beyond your job, making time in your day to do things you enjoy – whether that be trying a new recipe or volunteering with children – will go a long way towards maximizing your happiness.
3. Try something new
The crisis of direction that comes after graduation may have something do with the monotony of adulthood (head to the office, drive home, eat, sleep, repeat), so continually creating new, exciting experiences may help you avoid a quarter-life crisis. Take a dance class or learn Spanish – whatever inspires you to break out of your routine.
4. Be yourself
It may seem obvious, but being true to yourself and not spending unnecessary time and energy to fit the mold society has created for you will improve your quality of life considerably. Not everyone needs a dog and a white-picket fence. Envision what type of person you want to be and what you want your life to consist of – then go for it!
5. Stop playing catch-up
Don’t force yourself to aspire to the type of life that you may not even want. If you spend time worrying about what others think of the direction of your life rather than what makes you happy, you’ll quickly find yourself facing a quarter-life crisis. Instead of “keeping up with the Joneses,” make decisions based upon what you want for your life.