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9 Tips To Get Through a Quarter-Life Crisis

A QLC leaves you feeling unsatisfied and uncomfortable. When I went through mine, I did a lot of research on how to beat my blues and come out on the other side. Here are the top 9 things that worked for me. defines a quarter-life crisis as: “The quarter-life crisis, or QLC, is essentially a period of anxiety, uncertainty and inner turmoil that often accompanies the transition to adulthood.”

For me, my QLC had me feeling unsettled and unfulfilled. I felt like I was on the edge of something great, but was too far away to reach it. I hated this feeling!

I normally feel so in control of my life and things around me, and to have a feeling of discontent was quite unsetting for me.

So I went to work researching what a QLC is and what I could do to get out of what I felt like was a whirlwind of change and dissatisfaction.

I learned a lot during that time and am happily on the other side. Here are some of the things I did and learned during my QLC that I hope can help you, too.

1. Figure out what you don’t want.

When I asked myself what I wanted, I couldn’t necessarily answer that question.

So, instead, I figured out what I didn’t want. I decided what things in my life made me unhappy and what kinds of things I needed to stop doing. This helped me get to a place where I could effectively answer, “What do you want?”

2. Read and Learn.

Spend time learning as much as you can. For me, I spent time reading books and listening to TED talks and podcasts. I just wanted to know more things. There was something about getting smarter that helped to make me feel more confident.

If you are looking for books to help motivate you, check out our list of Books To Change The Way You Think About Your Career (and Shonda Rhimes’ new book Year of Yes is also a great choice).

Jen from Get Bullish recommends learning a quantifiable skills as opposed to soft skills.

3. Spend time with friends.

Just like Anita from The Average Girl Chronicles says, “I’ve found that genuinely caring about your friends lives really makes for a good friendship.” This comes in handy in particular when you’re in your QLC.

One of the goals of the QLC should be to find things that make you happy. Spend time with friends and just focus on having fun. I love dancing, so I went out with friends and danced. Whatever your thing is that makes you happy–do it!

4. Write down what makes you happy.

Make a list of things that always give you joy or just things that you enjoy doing. This will help you to do those things. This list can also be helpful if you want to find a new job or are narrowing down on what kind of job you want to have.

Don’t deny yourself happiness!

5. Write down what you want your life to be like.

Here is your opportunity to dream. Whether you write it down in the form of a list or get more creative and create a vision board, this is a useful activity. Here, Nina from Lunar Look explains what a vision board is and how to use yours!

Think about what kind of things you want out of life. For me, this helped me land on my next step in my life. Use this to help create a roadmap and goals, like Jessica from Laces and Lattes.

6. Manage your expectations.

We are young and early in our careers. This crisis that we are feeling is normal and is only helping us grow. Don’t feel bad about feeling like you are in turmoil. And wherever your life is, embrace it.

Whether you are single or in a relationship; in a job you hate or love, be okay with it. Don’t feel like your like should be figured out by now. It is unlikely that everything will always be in sync and great all the time, so be okay with the fact that it isn’t. Embrace who you are right now like Alissa from The Adored Life.

7. Stop comparing yourself to other people. Now.

Gosh I do this all the time. It is so easy to compare your life to other people, please don’t do that. We all have our own path and we have to own it. Enjoy where you are now and what you are doing and don’t get caught up in what other people are doing.

Also, don’t compare your life to what you see on social media. Again, it’s easy to do it, but don’t.

For me, there are times when I don’t let myself check Instagram or Facebook because it is sure to make me sad or feel like my life isn’t where it is supposed to be.

8. Sit with how you feel.

This was something I didn’t immediately learn. I kept trying to push away my feelings and just keep busy, but that didn’t help me.

I literally sat down and tried to understand why I felt the way I did.

I tried to ask myself why I felt discontent and what I wanted to do about it.

Allow yourself to feel, it will help you move on from your QLC.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Allow yourself to feel, it will help you move on from your quarter-life crisis.” quote=”Allow yourself to feel, it will help you move on from your quarter-life crisis.”]

9. Find a way to find your Zen.

I know this may sound silly or idealistic, but it can help. My life moves so fast, and I never really take time to sit and relax. I bought a journal that I would write in and I also drank tea at night and read or just sat.

This is generally good advice, but during this time in particular, sitting and relaxing can be good. For you, it may be meditating, or yoga or running. Find an activity that allows you to relax and clear your mind and do it often. Alta found her Zen by climbing towers in Europe.

Going through a QLC is normal, but that doesn’t necessarily make it fun.

Instead of viewing this time as a negative, use it as a time to recharge and revamp your life. Use this time to find your purpose and your happy. Good luck!


About the Author

Jessica Sharp

Jessica Sharp is passionate about empowering underserved and minority communities, diverse representation, and brain education. Jessica is the Founder and Chief Educator of Sharp Brain Consulting which works with public service agencies to provide education about the brain and its effect on organizational outcomes. Additionally, she is on the leadership team of Meals on Wheels in her town of Greenville, SC. She is completing a Masters of Public Affairs from the University of Missouri. Upon her completion, she will attend William James College to obtain a Doctorate of Psychology. Follow her on twitter at @sharpjes.