Adult life can be hard. Period.
Coping with life as a young adult comes with extra challenges as our world constantly changes. We can feel vulnerable, frustrated, and defeated, and when we compare ourselves to others, we may believe we are on an island alone with our struggles…that nobody else is experiencing life as we are.
Related: read why frustration is a motivator for personal growth.
The reality is that you are not alone AT ALL with this less than perfect thing called ‘adulting.’
Adult Coping is Never Easy
Coping is never easy, but it is easier when we forgive ourselves for mistakes, when we believe that we are living our life at ‘our best,’ and when we develop a mindset that we are always going to be in the process of learning and growing. As young adults, we typically have not yet developed the skills in life to manage everything that we will experience, and that is more than okay.
Consider these words of wisdom from Brene̍ Brown, “Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.”
Ways to Cope with Adult Life
There is no textbook for adulting, but there are practical ways that you can bravely stake ownership in your story and cope with adult life.
Develop coping mechanisms by focusing on these areas:
Self-Forgiveness and Imperfection
So, you forgot to balance your bank statement (Not your favorite part of adult life?) and your account went into overdrawn status for several days. It caused you a few days of grief. Lesson learned? Move on!
There is no rule in life that requires you to be perfect. If you believe that you should never make a mistake, and if you find yourself unable to easily forgive yourself, work on developing a mindset that life will happen and that you will flub up regardless of your best efforts.
Forgiveness goes beyond putting the past behind you. Yes, you should learn from your mistakes, but you must also accept what has happened and show compassion to yourself. Life is messy. Blunders happen.
Do you know what perfectionism is? It is a person’s endeavor for flawlessness, and it is accompanied by critical self-evaluation. It is dangerous to our mental health to believe that we can achieve perfection.
Perfectionism puts a dent in our coping mechanisms. It simply makes life more difficult to maneuver.
Maturity is a part of growth…and growth is ongoing throughout life. It does not stop when you become an adult. A big portion of maturity comes from learning from mistakes and moving on, as well as making new mistakes, and learning from the experiences.
Patience is a process. Things do not always come easy in life.
So, you have applied for your dream job several times and you cannot understand why the employer has not even called you for an interview. How are you ever going to build your career and obtain the things that you want in life?
It took many years for you to arrive where you are today, and who you want to be in the future is not going to happen tomorrow. Your part in this is to be your best self…be true to who you are. Stick with your goals but pursue them with patience.
A lack of patience does nothing more than stir up frustration, stress, and can lead to chronic anxiety. You do not want that. Sometimes the good things in life happen slowly.
Ownership, Responsibility, and Core Values
So, you spent a night partying, and you made a mess of things with your best friend. You feel guilty, and you are beating yourself up. Guilt is good if it is short-lived. Guilt comes from knowing that you have made a mistake and knowing that you are responsible. Guilt can also come from living outside of your own value system.
There is a unique and beautiful part of adult life that we all possess, and that is who we truly are. Nobody can take this truth away from us.
As responsible adults, we take ownership of who we are, and we live our lives purposefully and successfully when we base our actions and goals on our core values. We own our story and love ourselves when we live by our core values.
What are core values?
Core values are principles that give meaning to our lives and the choices that we make. Core values give us inspiration and guidance to live according to our own truths. Core values are never what someone else has imposed on us.
Life is far from easy, but when we take ownership of our decisions and actions in life, we accept responsibility, and it becomes a learning process that we continually grow from.
Take Care of You
So, you are not feeling well. You are tired. Your friends want you to go on a day trip with them on Sunday, but you feel the best thing for you is to get some alone time…some much-needed recharge time.
Do you go on the day trip and feel horrible the next day (when you return to work)? Do you risk dropping the ball (of fun) with your friends? Or do you listen to your body and mind and get some much-needed self-care?
Have you heard the old saying, if you don’t take care of yourself, nobody else will?
As an adult, you must take care of yourself. Your young mind may want to continue to have all the fun in the world, or you may feel as if you are invincible, but the logic is that you have adult responsibilities, and especially to your own mind and body.
Self-care goes beyond, but includes, eating well, getting enough sleep, cutting back on drinking and eliminating drugs, as well as fresh air, exercise, and partaking in activities (such as hobbies) that enrich your mind and life.
Self-care includes creating your own space. Your space is your sanctuary, the place that you go for respite. The world may be busy, crazy, and difficult, but your own space has nothing to do with the outside world.
Self-care includes building a support system. As humans, we are social, which means we should not rely totally on ‘going it alone.’ Those in your support system have your back. They should listen and coach you in truth.
Self-care includes limiting input from television and other media sources, including social media. Coping with adult life can be hampered by social media. The toxic reality is that social media portrays adult life unnaturally. What you see is often not how things really are. We end up comparing ourselves to others on social media, which deters our ability to cope as an adult, and we hardly notice when it is happening.
Reach Out for Help
The fact that you are here reading this blog is great. It means that you are taking action, learning to manage adult life.
Remember that there is purpose in your struggle. Growth does not happen without it. Trust your process.
Sometimes it is difficult to get beyond specific problems and mental struggles without help from others.
We can help.
Call 619-600-0683, ext. 1, text us at 619-607-1230 or schedule an appointment online. We have both virtual and face-to-face sessions available.