Step #1: Acknowledge You Need a Change
For many, the first few weeks of January are the most brutal time of the year. Not only has any feel-good holiday buzz worn off—despite the leftover cookies lingering in the kitchen—but it’s also time to dive back into the 9-5 grind.
Some people find this return to routine manageable; in fact, it might even be welcome. But plenty of other people might find themselves hitting the snooze button more than usual.
It’s tempting to chalk this ennui up to the winter doldrums: After all, it’s cold and snowy outside, and leaving your warm, cozy house for any reason is tough. Plus, having to set an alarm to wake up early after a vacation always feels like sheer torture.
But perhaps this morning misery is actually a signal that something deeper is going on, especially if it doesn’t go away after a few days.
Maybe it’s your mind’s not-so-subtle way of telling you that you’re embarking on a quarter-life crisis.
Don’t let this term scare you. On a broad level, this is defined as “a crisis that may be experienced in one’s twenties, involving anxiety over the direction and quality of one’s life.” However, the manifestations of this uncertainty vary from person to person, and range in severity and tangibility.
You could be finding things to dislike about your job, even if it seems to be going well. Or you might feel restless with an otherwise-blissful romantic relationship, or feel dissatisfied with the quality of your social life or living situation. Your unhappiness might even be intangible: Maybe you’re always bored or cranky, or you’re finding yourself flipping past TV shows or movies you used to love.
It’s understandably hard to admit that you’re feeling unhappy or unfulfilled, especially if, on the surface, everything seems to be going right.
However, when you just can’t shake the nagging feeling that you want more out of life—and when you realize that your dissatisfaction isn’t just temporary seasonal weariness—it’s time to acknowledge that making a change is necessary.
Now that you’ve admitted it’s time for a change, what are the best next steps to take? How can you make this your best year yet? Follow us for quarter-life crisis survival tips and guidance, including step #2, published later this month.