Help! I’m Having a Quarter-Life Crisis!
People often joke about and stereotype the mid-life crisis. You might think of someone buying an expensive sports car or getting cosmetic work done to make themselves appear younger. However, we don’t talk about quarter-life crises nearly as often. But, if you’re in your mid-twenties or early thirties, you might wish you had some insight into navigating one.
Yes, the quarter-life crisis is very real. While it might look different than a mid-life crisis, it can be overwhelming to deal with and work through. Thankfully, it’s not impossible. Let’s take a closer look at some common signs of a quarter-life crisis and how you can get through one in healthy, productive ways that will actually have you looking forward to your thirties.
What Does a Quarter-Life Crisis Look Like?
The idea of going through a crisis in your twenties and thirties is nothing new. It’s a stage of life where you’re trying to figure out who you are, what you want, and what your future should look like. While it’s normal to think and wonder about those things, a “crisis” tends to take them further.
With that in mind, some of the most common signs of a quarter-life crisis include:
Wondering what you’re doing with your life
Wondering what the point of everything is
Considering quitting your job
Sound familiar? If so, don’t panic. Instead, consider how you got to this point. As a whole, people tend to have a lot of pressure put on them from a very young age. Did anyone ever ask what you wanted to be when you grew up? While it was likely an innocent question, that mindset tends to stick with us. From a very young age, we’re pressured to get good grades, join clubs and activities, attend college, get a job, etc. Now that you’re at an age where you’re likely done with school and working full-time, you might wonder what it was for.
Understanding Who You Are
The best way to combat a quarter-life crisis is to understand your true value. You’ve likely spent a lifetime trying to live up to the expectations society has put in place. Maybe you’ve been trying to impress your parents, do better than your siblings, or even beat out your own expectations. But, if you spend too much time focusing on moving forward and not enough time realizing who you are and what you have to offer, you’re likely to end up in a crisis mindset at some point. Things like learning subjects you’re interested in, traveling, and navigating relationships are all fantastic ways to learn more about yourself. If you have had the opportunity to explore those things, take the time to do it now.
As you work through your quarter-life crisis, be kind to yourself. Acknowledge your past and how it’s brought you to where you are today, but understand where you are now. Mindfulness can help. Mindfulness is a wonderful technique to reduce anxiety and stress while focusing on the present moment. Close your eyes and take slow, deep breaths. You can’t control what thoughts might enter your mind, but you can control how you react. Let negative thoughts about where you are in life pass you by.
Finally, don’t judge yourself or compare yourself to others. When you become more grounded in your values and who you truly are, you’ll spend less time worrying about other people’s expectations. You might even start to change your expectations or yourself, which can alleviate some pressure to perform.
If you’re still struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Having someone to talk to is important. Take charge of your mental health, and you’ll get through this stage of life in a much smoother fashion.
Jennifer Perera is a mom of two boys, a spouse and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She is also Certified as a Perinatal Mental Health Professional by Postpartum Support International. She has a private practice in Springfield, New Jersey and also sees clients throughout New Jersey , New York, and Pennsylvania via telehealth. Her passion is helping new moms and dads find their joy again in parenthood through individual and couples counseling. She also runs workshops for new parents, teaching them techniques and strategies to help them have a stronger relationship - built to thrive during the parenthood years. Jennifer specializes in working with parents during the prenatal and postpartum periods and those coping with grief or loss issues surrounding pregnancy.