In your 20s and struggling with the 'real world'? You're not alone
We've all heard of a mid-life crisis, yet the quarter-life crisis may not be so well-known. However, according to research, most 20- and 30-somethings will face one.
Your 20s can be a difficult time. You may have an overwhelming amount of decisions to make but limited opportunities, and you may feel like you are struggling to make it in the "real world" with the anxieties of careers, relationships and debt.
According to research by Gumtree.com, 86 per cent of young people feel under pressure to succeed in their relationships and careers before the age of 30, while research by Vodafone suggests that 73 per cent of 26- to 30-year-olds are experiencing a quarter-life crisis. However, although it may not feel like it now, your crisis can be overcome. Here are 10 ways to survive a quarter-life crisis.
Share your problems
If you are experiencing a quarter-life crisis it is common to feel alone, as though you are the only one facing this.
It can seem as though everybody else is breezing through life, following their dreams, picking up promotions and falling into movie-worthy relationships as they go.
However, if you open up to your friends about how you are feeling, you may be surprised to find you're not the only one having these thoughts.
Acknowledge your feelings
It can be easy to take on board the flippant advice of others that "you're young and have your whole life ahead of you", and to feel guilty or self-indulgent for harbouring doubts or feelings of dissatisfaction with life.
However, it is important to realise that it's completely acceptable to have these emotions and your thoughts are valid, whatever your age. Know that you are entitled to your feelings and that they deserve to be taken seriously and addressed, not ignored.
Decide what you want
from lifeTo increase your satisfaction in life, you have to decide what you want from it. We often compare ourselves with others and think we want what they have, but just because something makes somebody else happy it doesn't mean that it is right for you.
Stop comparing yourself with others and feeling pressured to strive for goals that aren't on your to-do list (such as starting a family, earning more money or buying your own home).
Make an action plan
Once you have outlined your priorities and needs it is helpful to set some goals to help you feel in control of your life, rather than a helpless back-seat driver. Set specific goals relating to your personal life and career, dividing your ambitions into short-, medium- and long-term goals. Think about what you want and how you can get there, then take small steps to achieving these, whether by starting a career-driven course, taking steps to start a relationship or getting help to sort out your finances.
Many of us define success by what we own and have, which can lead to feelings of hopelessness if you are not where you want to be financially. Rather than obsessing over your status, try redefining success for yourself based on what you have to offer and how you can make a difference to others. Make a commitment to doing something selfless, such as volunteering. This will help you to appreciate your value and worth.
Put some fun into your life
Adult life can sometimes seem like hard work. The wild nights of university become few and far between, financial restrictions rear their ugly head and you can easily settle into nine-to-five drudgery.
The most important thing is to inject some fun into your life again. Have a think about the activities you enjoy, then plan to spend time doing these things.
Spend time with people of different ages
Life can sometimes seem like a competition and it can be difficult to stop yourself from comparing your lifestyle with that of those around you.
Spend time with people from all walks of life and of different age groups, so that you are not constantly in "competition mode".
Don't be afraid to try things
It can be tempting to live life from the safety of your comfort zone and to feel as though you are not good enough to achieve your dreams. However, giving things a go is not only the perfect way to break out of a rut, it is also the only way that you can have any hope of achieving the things that you want in life.
If you have something you have been longing to do for a while, don't let the fear hold you back. It may not work out but at least you can say you tried rather than living to regret not giving it a go.
When making plans for your future it is important not to get too focused on time. For instance, deciding you want to own your own home by 26, be married by 27 and have kids by 28 will only make you feel despondent if life doesn't pan out this way. Real life hardly ever works to a perfect schedule.
We often spend so much time fixated on what we want out of life that it can be easy to ignore what we already have. Spend some time remembering all the things that you have achieved and that you should be proud of or grateful for.
Whether you have graduated from university, learned a skill or life lesson or established a quality friendship, reflect on what you have achieved so far and the things that have given your life value.