Moving from childhood into adulthood is one of the most difficult changes we will face in a lifetime. Taking care of “adult things” like groceries, bills, and a full-time job has a steep learning curve with no instruction manual. The fear of growing up and the anxiety you feel once you actually become an adult is seldom acknowledged, let alone talked about.
Whether you are just now gaining adult responsibilities or you have been out of the nest for years, being an adult can always throw a fresh challenge at you. If you are feeling this anxiety surrounding adulting, I assure you that you are not alone!
Understanding and Recognizing Anxiety
Everyone has felt overly stressed out or on edge at one point or another in their life. Anxiety, however, goes far beyond this. If you persistently feel stressed, nervous, or tense, you may live with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). This can interfere with your daily life and decrease your overall quality of life, making it incredibly important to recognize and treat.
Anxiety is not something you can control, so be gentle with yourself! Even if you are a full-grown adult, you do not need to beat yourself up for having anxiety.
Stressors That Come From Being an Adult
Being an adult means facing more new stressors than you previously did. New responsibilities and increased freedom mean more avenues for stress and anxiety to worm their way into your life.
Some of the unique challenges that arise with adulthood are:
- Money problems: As the saying goes, more money, more problems! Unfortunately, money is usually one of the top stressors in any adult’s life. Paying rent, utility bills, groceries, and other costs of living can wear anyone thin.
- Professional anxiety: Even if you love your job, you may still have bad days at work. Or perhaps your company is hinting at layoffs due to the recession. Feeling professional stress comes with the territory.
- Relationship drama: This includes romantic, platonic, and familial relationships! As you grow older, your relationships become more dynamic and intense. As the stakes grow higher, so does the potential stress surrounding it.
Ways to Combat Anxiety
The fortunate news is that plenty of people have gone through the same situation you are going through right now. This is not meant to minimize your feelings but rather offer some hope: there are many tried and true ways to combat your anxiety.
To lessen your anxiety, try out one or two of the following:
- Create a financial diary: Write down a monthly budget or another form that works for you. Knowing where you stand financially will help to eliminate some of the stress you may be feeling surrounding your money.
- Make time for movement: Exercise is a great way to take care of your mental and physical health! Even when life gets in the way, remember that a walk and fresh air will do wonders for you.
- Do not ignore your own needs: As an adult, several people may depend on you, whether at home via your family or at work via employees. This does not mean you have to neglect your own wants and needs! Try to focus on self-care–in whatever form you want.
The ultimate goal, of course, is to put your anxiety far away in your rearview mirror. However, receiving extra help from a trained professional is not a bad idea until that time. Remember, you do not need to have a certain level of anxiety or other mental health condition to qualify to get help from a counselor! I am happily taking on new patients to better serve my community. If you are interested in scheduling an introductory session for anxiety therapy, please contact me today.