What Is a Quarter Life Crisis?

Relational/Couples Counseling, Trauma Recovery

Most people have heard of a mid-life crisis, and there are plenty of stereotypes that surround it. Some people buy a fancy new car. Others become hyper-focused on their looks and try to appear younger. 

But, did you know that you can also experience a quarter-life crisis?

It might seem strange to consider that young adults could be facing a “crisis” of any kind. But think about all the challenges they have to face as they navigate adulthood on their own for the first time. 

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at what a quarter-life crisis is, and how you can work through it.

Defining the Quarter-Life Crisis

When you’re in your early or mid-twenties, you might think you have your whole life ahead of you to figure things out. Or, maybe you’ve had specific plans for quite a while, but…things didn’t go the way you planned. As John Lennon so expertly said, “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” You can’t always control your circumstances. 

Unfortunately, that’s left far too many young adults dealing with a quarter-life crisis. But what does that mean? 

According to Forbes, a quarter-life crisis is a period of intense “soul-searching and stress”. That could include stress about money, your living situation, your career, or even your relationship(s). 

If you’re not sure whether you’re experiencing a quarter-life crisis, some of the common warning signs include trouble making decisions, a lack of a sense of purpose, and a loss of motivation. You might also feel like you’re overly stressed, leading to anxiety or depression. You might struggle with fatigue, or feel like you’re just going through the motions in life without any real direction. 

Unfortunately, a quarter-life crisis can also take a toll on your confidence. All of these factors can lead to more challenging mental health issues and a sort of vicious cycle that makes it hard to escape. 

But, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. 

Understanding the Root

The best way to start recovering from a quarter-life crisis is to understand what triggered it. Maybe you lost a job you had planned on having for years. Maybe you’re going through a messy breakup. 

Even something as simple as living alone for the first time or graduating college without plans for the future can trigger your brain into crisis mode. Don’t run from the root cause of your quarter-life crisis. Acknowledge it and use it as a starting point to begin healing. 

How to Navigate a Quarter-Life Crisis

Dealing with a quarter-life crisis can seem overwhelming at times. But you don’t have to let it take over your life or dictate your future. 

Once you develop an understanding of what’s causing it, you can build a plan to move forward. That should include things like self-reflection, creating personal and professional goals, financial management, and more. 

It’s also a good time to redefine what success looks like to you. Are you going through this crisis because your expectations of yourself were too high? Maybe it’s time to show yourself a little more compassion and self-love. Doing so will help to build your confidence and can make it easier to create realistic, attainable goals for the future. 

Of course, when you’re in the midst of a crisis, it’s not always easy to pull yourself out of that gray area. Thankfully, you don’t have to do it alone. 

If the signs above sound familiar and you’re feeling lost about your present and future, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. When you’re ready to set up an appointment, contact Valued Living Therapy.

Valued Living Therapy

We are a dynamic, trauma-informed, multi-specialty group practice of mental health professionals offering therapy in the heart of Edina, MN and online throughout Minnesota.

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