Navigating adulthood can be one of the most misunderstood and challenging life transitions to adapt to. With the many societal changes, this has created new demands and expectations for particularly those aged 18-25 years old.
In modern societies, the period of emerging adulthood remains a phase where individuals often explore and change their sense of self. This ongoing exploration can lead to risky behaviours, especially among those in the later stages of adulthood, posing significant challenges to their well-being.
No matter what stage you’re in, and what phase of life you’re experiencing, these 5 approved tips from our mental health professionals at Cornerstone Counselling can help make navigating adulthood feel a little less daunting.
1. Avoid Burnout
Life reminds us that we can’t do it all. We all have limited time and energy. Some struggle with this truth of wanting to do everything, which can lead to overcommitment and neglecting self-care. Our Canadian Certified Counsellor, Cory Seibel, shares his expertise on how to avoid this kind of burnout.
It’s important to understand your limits and learn to prioritize your well-being. Seibel says that “acknowledging our need for rest, understanding our mental capacity, and making time for self-care is essential. This may involve saying ‘no’ and accepting that we can’t do everything.” He shares that by doing this, we can begin to view our limits as a gift.
As we begin to navigate life on our own it can be refreshing to get to know your limits. Changing the narrative to, “I don’t have to do it all!” and letting go of those burdens can be a healthy way to honour ourselves. Acknowledging our limitations and learning to say “no” can lead to a healthier, more balanced life by preventing overcommitment and burnout.
2. Maintain Resilience
Dealing with major life transitions and changes can be challenging at any age. However, it can be particularly difficult to navigate these transitions on your own for the first time. To effectively navigate these challenges, it is crucial to maintain resilience, says Andrew McBeth, Registered Provisional Psychologist.
He says the key to building resilience through these transitions is to prioritize yourself and take care of your needs. McBeth shares examples like regular exercise, a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep. These self-care practices enable you to develop and sustain resilience, which in turn enhances your ability to handle the stress that often accompanies life transitions, particularly as you go through adulthood. Can you think of any other ways to show resilience through a major life challenge?
3. Embrace Your Authenticity
Within the complex journey of adulthood and life changes, it’s important to be true to yourself and show yourself kindness, says Advanced Graduate Level Intern, Alissa Caskey. Your uniqueness is a valuable gift. Caskey states that, “When facing difficulties, think about what aligns with your heart and purpose, not just what others expect of you.”
She suggests spending time in nature to ground yourself, this allows you to tune in to your life better. Nature offers comfort and provides us with lessons about life’s larger meaning. Embrace life’s uncertainties as an opportunity for growth. Be kind to yourself and recognize that your journey has ups and downs.
Caskey advises in creating a routine that connects you to your true self, nature’s beauty, and life’s deeper meaning. These practices can help you stay anchored, providing clarity and purpose in every phase of life.
4. Take it Step-by-Step
Registered Therapeutic Counsellor, Ann-Renee Shirjang, assures that when we face major life changes, it can be overwhelming. She suggests that to make these transitions easier, it’s beneficial to approach them gradually.
Instead of jumping into the change all at once, we can break it down into smaller, manageable steps for ourselves. She provides an example of starting a new job. We might begin by visiting the workplace to get familiar with it, imagine ourselves succeeding, then gradually interacting with co-workers.
By taking this step-by-step approach, we are able to visualize the outcome, reduce our stress of the situation, and make major life transitions feel more achievable, increasing our chances of success.
5. Avoid Comparisons
Registered Psychologist, Sheila Ennin, advises against comparing yourself to others, especially in terms of what you have or don’t have. She suggests that the constant exposure to other people’s lives through social media can lead to unnecessary comparisons.
Instead of categorizing these differences as positive or negative, Ennin encourages to simply acknowledge the differences, and not put a narrative on them. She emphasizes, “No one in this world can ever be the same, have the same, or live the same. And there is beauty in that.”
The advice Ennin gives to those facing comparisons when trying to navigate your own life, is to practice gratitude for what you already have and trust that what you need will come at the right time.
With all these tips in mind from our certified professionals at Cornerstone Counselling, it’s important to remember that you are not alone even when you feel like you are. Navigating life’s transition as a “newborn adult” can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be. If you find yourself going through a hard life transition, talk to someone you trust or consult with a qualified mental health professional with any questions or concerns about your mental health.
Blog post by Jaylee Cardinal, Executive Assistant.
Arnett, J.J. Emerging adulthood: The winding road from the late teens through the twenties. Oxford University Press, USA; 2004