According to the notorious Urban Dictionary, “adulting” is about “carrying out the duties and responsibilities expected of fully developed individuals.” That entry ends with a snarky line declaring that the word “adulting” is “exclusively used by those who adult less than 50 percent of the time.” It’s snarky and it’s unfair. Society shifts from generation to generation and today’s millennials face circumstances that are difficult for older folks to comprehend.
Anxiety around adulting is neither uncommon nor abnormal. All life’s transitions are stressful — marriage, parenthood, career changes, divorce, retirement, the loss of loved ones, etc. These stages require an adjustment period.
Why Anxiety Around Adulting?
Here are just a few of the unique obstacles:
One minute, your parents are doing your laundry, you’ve never had to call a plumber, and meals just magically appear three times a day. In a flash, you’re expected to handle all that plus advanced education, household chores, serious relationships, staying financially afloat, etc., etc. There’s no shame in taking some time to recalibrate.
Any young adult already struggling with a mental health disorder may initially find it difficult to cope with so many drastic changes at once. If this is the case, choose a pace that works for you. That said, this is not a license to simply delay what needs to happen.
Today’s generation of young adults grew up in a much different world than anyone older than them. Dramatic changes in economic circumstances along with the introduction of online life as the norm are just two factors that have made traditional milestones and standards obsolete.
Loss of Optimism
Following up on #4 above, we cannot underestimate the impact of major global shifts. A generation that spends most of the day scrolling can become overwhelmed — and highly stressed — by the prospect of leaving a comfort bubble.
3 Things To Remember When Adulting
Anxiety is Very Common — So Practice Some Self-Compassion
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issues on the planet. You are not alone and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. So, educate yourself on anxiety and recognize its patterns. For example, anxiety tells very convincing lies, e.g. “you can’t handle being an adult.” Counter these patterns with self-compassion, self-awareness, and self-care.
The Only Thing to Avoid is Avoidance
Anxiety also manifests in self-sabotage. It will persuade you to avoid taking any steps that feel uncertain. But, as it is with any skill, you cannot succeed at adulting without taking calculated risks, making a few mistakes, and learning on the fly. Avoidance only serves to delay your progress and make the challenges seem greater than they may actually be.
Keep a Journal
Anxiety is sneaky. It leaves you believing that it appears out of nowhere — with rhyme or reason. In reality, it typically follows patterns when it comes to triggers and outcomes. Journaling can be your antidote. Keep track of what sets you off and when. Monitor how you responded. What worked and what didn’t?
This body of evidence can empower you to stop adulting anxiety in its tracks before it has a chance to escalate. Your journal will also come in mighty handy if you opt to try therapy.
Speaking of Therapy…
Part of being an adult is recognizing that asking for help is a healthy and productive option. If anxiety feels like a roadblock, it makes a whole lot of sense to address it at the root. Your weekly therapy sessions can help you identify causes, patterns, triggers, and solutions. You can thrive as an adult by recognizing the power of collaboration. Let’s connect soon for a free consultation.
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