By Dr Oliver Robinson
A quarter-life crisis is a challenging and unstable episode in life that typically lasts about a year, and occurs when a person is in their mid-to-late twenties or early thirties. New research from first direct shows that over half of millennials from the UK are currently in the midst of one. Although those currently experiencing one can feel overwhelmed by negative feelings, inner conflict and confusion, a quarter-life crisis episode is often an important turning point in life, a stimulus for trying new things and a time of positive growth. Research found that half of respondents agreed personal difficulties could actually be a catalyst to a positive future.
Below we have included five signs that you might be having a quarter-life crisis and some tips for how to manage the way you are feeling.
You are unsure if your life and career are on the right track and feel you might have to make some big changes
What should you do? As a young adult, it is normal to question from time to time if you are on the right career path, and if you are heading in the right direction in life generally. In fact, 30% of millennials have had a quarter life crisis due to working in a challenging job and over a quarter blame being in a challenging romantic relationship. However, before you quit your job or dump your partner, try changing the small things first - making these little changes may be what is needed to re-energise your life, like taking up healthy eating, reducing the amount of alcohol you drink (if you do), or take on a meaningful volunteering role outside of work.
You feel unusually unstable in your emotions and your sense of self-esteem
What should you do? Be aware that periods of crisis and the emotional instability are both common and normal. If you are feeling like you are experiencing difficult feelings, speak to someone about it. Don’t keep it to yourself. Reach out to a friend, a life coach or a therapist, and remember that asking for help is an expression of strength, not weakness. First direct have written guide on the Quarter Life Crisis “How to turn your Quarter-Life Crisis into a Quarter-Life Catalyst” which details the different stages and understanding what you may be experiencing.
You are keen to try fun new things and experiment
What should you do? When thinking about what to add it your life to make it more fun and interesting, it can help to recall and write down what used to bring fun and positivity to your life when you were younger, then work out a plan to devote some time to it each week. Also, think about the exciting things you have never done before and would really love to try at some point in your life, and make a plan to do at least one within the next year.
You feel like you are on a quest to make sense of life and find a deeper meaning
What should you do? Read books that provide ideas and practical advice on how to embrace crisis to find new meaning and purpose. Victor Frank’s book Man’s Search for Meaning is a classic example. I have a forthcoming book called Paths Between Head and Heart (available for pre-order on Amazon), which is all about learning how to express the rational and spiritual sides of yourself to ensure that life is has a meaningful balance of head and heart.
You feel that you might need some advice with managing money and finances
What should you do? You aren’t alone if you are feeling the monetary pressures of modern day living. One of the biggest stressors of a Quarter Life Crisis are financial difficulties, first directs’ recent study revealed that nearly 60% of millennials admit this to be one of the main causes, acknowledging that they spend more than they earn each month.
A new guide to turning your quarter-life crisis into a quarter-life catalyst
I have been working with first direct to bring awareness to the phenomenon of quarter-life crisis. We have together produced a brand new guide to turning a quarter-life crisis into a “quarter-life catalyst”. Have a read to learn more about the phases of a crisis and all the ways to deal with one. https://wdc-evrgrn-fdib.lp.hsbc.co.uk/1/PA_esf-ca-app-content/content/content_static/pdf/guide_%20web.pdf