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7 Things Millenials can do to Beat the Quarter Life Crisis

7 Things Millenials can do to Beat the Quarter Life Crisis

Just what is this thing called the Quarter Life Crisis anyway? Dictionary.com defines it as “a crisis that may be experienced in one’s twenties, involving anxiety over the direction and quality of one’s life,” or, “an emotional crisis in one’s twenties with anxiety and self-doubt after leaving academic life.” The term has only recently become popularized in relation to the current generation of 20-Somethings who collectively answer to the term: “Millennials”.

Typical features of the Quarter Life Crisis are:

  • Anxiety
  • Frustration
  • an overwhelming dissatisfaction with the direction of one’s life
  • feeling as if life has no specific purpose
  • feelings of self doubt and confusion

Left unchecked, these feelings can trigger a downward spiral from anxiety to depression…or worse. Recent research has shown suicide as being the leading cause of death for young adults in both the UK[1] and Australia[2], and the second leading cause of death amongst 25-34 year olds in the US[3].

If the Quarter Life Crisis is responsible for playing any part In these troubling stats, then finding ways to overcome it early on could be incredibly important.

Here are 7 simple steps that an individual at risk can take to give the Quarter Life Crisis a side-step:

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1. Know Yourself – Identify Your Top 3 Personal Values

Really knowing what makes you tick, what turns you on to life, is incredibly empowering. This information can act like a compass for you as you go through life, giving you a sense of clarity in your decision making. This clarity will eliminate a lot of the mental fog that can cause self-doubt and confusion.

Your Personal Values are the things that are at your core, that make up your essence, and which you consider to be highly important across every aspect of life.

Examples of personal values are: Creativity, Growth, Honesty, Responsibility, Persistence etc. Getting down to just 3 values can be tough, but when you do narrow it down, you will have a clear focus for everything you do. Darren Hardy has a great tool on his site (available for free, via the link) that can assist with the process of identifying your own top 3 Personal Values. Curious? Check it out here: http://thecompoundeffect.com/downloads/english-core_values_assessment.pdf

2. Detox Your Mind – Go on a Mental Diet

On an average day, most of us are overloaded with more information and communications than we can handle or process. Sometimes the clutter of all this information and mental noise can fog what’s really important to us, and for us. In the same way that our physical bodies can benefit from a good detox – eliminating the bad, and flushing out our systems with the good – so too can our minds feel refreshed and renewed after consciously deciding to monitor the information we let into it for a period of time. Try one week without Reality TV, soaps, gossip magazines, news, social media (I know, it will be tough!) and radio etc. Try flushing your mind out with a combination of silence and carefully selected positive material designed to boost your mental well-being. There are lots of free resources available on the Web, but sites like www.knowledgeisking.co.uk are focused on providing you with the best mental food available.

3. Adopt a new Attitude – 100% Personal Responsibility

This is one of the easiest tips to implement… if you are mentally prepared to take it on. Your attitude is nothing more than a choice. This piece of advice puts you fully in the driving seat of everything that happens around you. 100% responsibility means that even if something isn’t your fault, you still take responsibility for how the outcome has impacted you. This gives you the opportunity to open your eyes to how you might actually be affecting things that you previously thought were outside of your control. This is especially important if the effects that you have been experiencing have been less than positive. 100% responsibility means always asking, “What could I have done differently? How can I change my behaviour in the future to positively affect the outcome?” Ask these questions, instead of looking at what other people have done wrong, or how they are to blame for a given set of circumstances or outcome.

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The next time you feel some frustration or anger building up inside you towards someone or something else, just ask yourself, “How might I have contributed to this situation? What would I do differently if it were to occur again?

4. Practice Responding, rather than Reacting

This tip is actually pretty closely linked to the previous piece of advice, but worth mentioning in a different light. For most of us, most of the time, when we speak or act, we are reacting instinctively to something that has been said, or has happened immediately beforehand. Responding means that we allow a little pause, some space, between what is said or done, and what we choose to say or do as a result. It doesn’t have to be a big dramatic pause, just enough time for us to give brief consideration to the things we do and say. In this pause, we can do a quick mental check, that will eventually become automatic, to see if we are responding in a way that aligns with our core values and is in line with us taking 100% responsibility.

Try using that space in your next conversation, and see if you don’t feel a great sense of calm about your communications and interactions.

5. Pick a Destination and Enjoy the Journey there

Now, this doesn’t necessarily relate to a holiday destination. Although it might be if that’s a big goal of yours. This tip refers to the principle of having a specific overall purpose to your life, and learning to enjoy the process that will help you to achieve it. Once you are clear on your values, it becomes much easier to identify what direction you want to take your life in, and for what specific purpose. That is your destination. Doing the things that will take you towards that destination will be what makes up a substantial part of your life, so it is important that you see it all as part of a process that you can enjoy. Take pride in this because you know it is all contributing to you achieving your purpose.

One activity that can help in identifying what destination, or purpose you want to have in life, is to go through the process of writing your own obituary. What would you like your life to look like on paper if someone was writing it up after your departure? To do this exercise justice, you need to set aside some specific time to sit quietly. Maybe you could start by reading the obituaries of one or two well known people that you have admired for inspiration. Upon reflection, begin jotting down how you would want your own obituary to read.

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6. Balance, Balance, Balance – Keeping it all in check

Balance here refers not to balancing all the different roles and responsibilities that you need to fulfill on a daily basis, but rather balancing the 3 elements that make it possible for you fulfill those roles in the first place – your physical body, your thinking mind and your guiding spirit. Balancing them doesn’t necessarily mean spending equal time on each, but being aware of each and giving them acknowledgement of the role they each play in your life. For your body, this means eating right, resting well and getting some exercise. For your mind, this could mean that after your Mental Detox, you adopt some new habits about what goes into your mind, and the space you give it to process the information overload each day. Depending on your beliefs, your spirit may be as simple as your gut feelings. The emotions that we feel can be a guiding voice, regarding a particular situation. This is not to say that you should be ruled by your emotions, but equally, don’t ignore your inner voice – it’s often giving the wisest advice.

7. Put Your Life in Your Hands – Have a written plan

Chances are, if you’ve ever planned anything important, you’ve had a written plan. Starting a business, planning a wedding, a project at work…it all gets written down. How much more important is this for your life?

Imagine holding a document in you hands, containing the plans for the next 5 years of your life. Identifying your top 3 values is a great start. From there, you could go on to create your bucket list. Then, pick the top thing from there that you would like to prioritize for achieving in the next 12 months. Then, jot down a list of everything that you would need to do to make it happen. What are the major stepping stones for achieving that thing? What are the specific tasks that you would need to do to achieve each of those steps? When will you do each of these steps? These are some of the basic questions that you would need to ask yourself to give yourself a great chance of making that thing happen. There are lots of goal setting programs and apps out there that can help you with the process of achieving specific goals.

If you take a little bit of action on each of these steps on a regular basis, you will reduce your risk of being hit by the Quarter Life Crisis. You’llalso increase your ability to deal with it, if that is where you already find yourself.

The Quarter Life Crisis is not an inevitable transition into full blown adulthood – you CAN find a way to Beat it!

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[1] www.ons.gov.uk

[2] www.abs.gov.au

[3] www.cdc.gov

Featured photo credit: pretty hippie girl playing guitar via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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