6 Ways To Tackle A Quarter Life Crisis Head-On

There’s a time in your mid to late twenties that feels something like what I imagine Armageddon to feel like (or Y2K, because the world was basically ending). We lose direction, become unsure of our life’s “purpose,” feel like our hopes and dreams are suddenly unachievable, and lay in bed every Saturday watching “Everybody Loves Raymond” reruns, imagining that’s what our lives will be like soon. All the forces of the universe are working against us, and we just need some goddamn stability. But unlike our older counterparts who are having midlife crises, twenty somethings have no money to buy a new sports car or dye our hair burnt orange to help ease our worries. If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, try any (or all!) of these six things to help get your mindset back on track.

1. Make A Dream Board: Flip through magazines and newspapers and find images of things that make you happy. Whether it’s a beautiful vanity or wad of cash that draws your eye, cut it out and paste it onto a piece of poster board (or a notebook page), creating a collage of images. When you’re done, observe the pictures you’ve chosen and write down why each one appealed to you. Did you pick an image of a happy couple because you hope to find love? Is it mostly material items that you’re drawn to? Did you like the bright colors? When you’re done, hang the board in a visible spot to remind you of the things you’re drawn to. Having these visuals in plain sight will help you keep your eye on the prize, making your dreams and goals seem more possible.

2. Establish Measurable Goals: Feeling lost sucks. To find your way out of a dead end, write a list of measurable goals for yourself with a timeline of dates in which you want to achieve those goals. By listing out “I want to make $70K in the next year,” or “I want to purchase a home by the time I’m 35,” for example, you can then create achievable goals to help you set each of those wheels in motion. For example, if you want to make $70K in the next year, break down your financial plan by month, describing how you’ll meet that goal whether you “earn $600 freelancing in January,” or “sell used Coach purse on eBay in May.” Each month, evaluate your successes and make up for any shortcomings the next month. This will help you to feel more in control of your goals and the direction of your future, in general.

3. Start A New Hobby: Just like a gym or workout routine can become repetitive, it’s important to change up your hobbies, too. Mixing up the mundane with something new, whether you try your hand at painting, watch a new TV series or join a bar trivia team, gives you something new to look forward to, excel in, and hopefully, provides an outlet for any frustration that may be a-brewin’. Why eat crackers every day for a year if there’s a chocolate bar, potato chips and pretzels in the cabinet, right? Try something new. Keep life exciting.

4. Tie Up Loose Ends: In laymen’s terms, get your shit in order. Whether you have bills to pay, need an oil change, have been putting off a loan application or need to go to the post office, DO IT. Even if you can cross one thing off your list every weekend, you won’t have a black cloud of To-Do’s hovering over you, which, IMHO, is the ultimate buzzkill. Nothing feels better than getting things off your plate.

5. Find “Me” Time: No matter how busy you are, try and carve out 30 minutes each day for “me time.” Watch your favorite TV show, write, take a bubble bath, go to yoga, do whatever you need to do to feel more at peace. When you’re relaxed, it’s easier to focus on what’s important, and it will help to distract you from your whining coworker, noisy roommate and your toxic thoughts about ending up alone and senile with a house full of cats and birds. (Note: no disrespect to old, senile people with cats and birds. You do you.)

6. Clean Up: Tidy up your space, whether it’s your desk, closet or your entire home, and you’ll instantly feel your mood boost. Living in clutter reminds us that life is messy (and you can also trip on wires and stuff- I’ve done it), but a quick sweep, dusting or organization project gives us the feeling of starting with a blank slate. When you’re in a clean environment, you have nothing visibly distracting you from doing all of the above. Good luck!

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