7 Effective Ways to Deal With Quarter-life Crisis

By Vuthy Pisey

matheus-ferrero-226756-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

From the previous post, we discussed about the quarter-life crisis, a period when you feel you have reached a crossroads and the lowest point in your 20s and 30s. The feeling of uncertainty, doubt and confusion about your identity, goal, career, and relationship.  

According to a new LinkedIn survey in 2017, 75% of 25 to 33 year- olds reported having experienced a quarter-life crisis. But even if you are not 25 yet, I bet chances are you are already experiencing a quarter-life crisis, though you may not be aware of it or know how to deal with it.

Since you cannot escape the quarter-life crisis anyway, why not face it head on? So, here are the 7 effective techniques to beat the quarter-life crisis:

1/ Accept that challenges are part of your life

To resolve the quarter-life crisis, you first need to accept the fact that it is a part of your life. (You can neither hide nor escape!) The crisis you encounter in your 20s or 30s is happening for a reason, and that is to make you stronger and wiser.

Let me stress again that the quarter-life crisis is one of the overwhelming challenges that’s expected to occur in life. It is very common to many people, even successful people. So, there is nothing wrong with you. If other people can beat it, so can you.

giphy.gifPhoto by  Giphy


2/ Understand What You Are Dealing With

Quarter-life crisis hits us hard because there is a sudden change in our life. Thus, it is important that you understand what you might experience and determine which stage you are in right now.

According to a recent study titled  The Holistic Phase Model of Early Adult Crisis,  by Dr. Oliver Robinson at the University of Greenwich, quarter-life crisis is divided into four (4) phases:

Phase One – Locked-In: You feel powerless and are trapped in your current life situation. You no longer desire relationships, and you feel highly stressed and dissatisfied with the career you once committed to. This phase would involve compulsive activities such as drugs or alcohol use.

Phase Two

  1. Separation: an intense period with mixed feelings, such as guilt, anxiety, shame, sadness and confusion. This pushes you to quit or distance yourself mentally and physically from your current commitment and relationship. You lost what defines the current you but have not yet found the new you.
  2. Time Out: You’ve had enough for all of these things and decide to take action.

Phase Three- Exploration: You purposefully look out and explore for ways to develop a new life structure, aspiration, and values that define the new you. You will feel dramatic changes such as when you start to change careers, form new relationships, develop new hobbies and interests.

Phase Four- Rebuilding: You finally manage to align your career, relationships and identity, which are more comprehensive and clearer than before.

3/ Give yourself a break to recall and reflect

When you are in the quarter-life crisis, it seems every obstacle comes at once. Allow yourself to take a break from what’s happening in your life, and spend some time with yourself. (If you can, take some days off or a short vacation, folks!) When you have this time and space to yourself, define and list down what is actually bothering you and how you want to change it.

For example, if you are confused about who you are, ask yourself the hard question: WHY? Is it because you have not figured out your potential? Is it because your friend has a great job, family, and social status, while you feel like you are a nobody? Do you lack the information and experience to define who you are?

The answers to your questions can help you understand why you are encountering this crisis.  You may identify reasons such as a lack of self-confidence, limited opportunity and information, peer pressure, etc. All of this information is crucial to figure out the solution to your crisis.

4/ Seek advice and assistance from others

Like I mentioned earlier, you are not alone. Whether you are struggling to find your identity, career path, or relationships, you can ask for advice from people around you (.such as your family, friends, seniors, boss, or professors ). Ask them lots of hard questions and listen to what they have to say! Learn about what they have been through, what types of job they are doing, how they get through the crisis, and whatever else you need to know to solve your problems.

If you find it hard to talk to people face-to-face, you may find some wisdom from other sources such as books, movies, blogs, or talk shows whichever medium that is convenient to you.

But bear this in mind! What they tell you are from their own personal views or experience, and don’t necessarily apply to you and how you define who you are. At the end of the day, it is your life and you make your own decisions.

5/ Listen to your inner voice

Whoever you think you want to be, whatever job you think you are passionate about, whatever skills or activities to manage your work/life balance gather your courage and just do it. Life is too short to waste on thinking rather than doing. You will never know how what you want to do will turn out until you do it.

You can know yourself better by interacting with people around you and learning from their experiences. For example, if you feel like you want to be a journalist, you don’t need to dive in immediately. You can start by doing some volunteer job, interviewing people, talking to people in the field, and getting yourself into the job experience where you can. If you find that you don’t like it, move on to another area of your interest. If you feel good about it, you can gradually find a way to get in.

If-you-want-something-you-never.jpgPhoto by Quotescloud



6/ Be the master of your own clock

Each person has their own timing for everything, from waking up to going to bed. Just like you accept that the time zone in Asia is different from Europe, you should accept that your time of success or failure is not necessarily the same as others. You shouldn’t judge and compare your achievement to theirs. Some people found themselves and became successful when they were in their 20s or 30s, while some in their late 40s or 50s.

Never allow the clock of other people to affect you. Whoever gets married or is in a relationship, has a high salary or position, is none of your business. You walk on your own way with your own timing and they with theirs.

7/ Life is a trial and error process

Remember we are only human. We make mistakes, we are sad, we laugh, we get lost, we move on and we find our way back. Such is the human life. Life might just be a big game we are playing, except winning is defined by each player. And like a roller coaster, it’s fun when it goes up and down.

So, believe in who you are and do what you think is right. If something goes wrong, just pick up the pieces and fix it or build a new opportunity. If you have found yourself, go ahead and embrace who you are. If you haven’t found yourself, move on and keep exploring. The sun always rises and there are more tomorrows.

Mistakes are not the end and doubts are the beginning of wisdom 😊.


Views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.


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