Coping with Quarter-Life Crisis: The Importance of “ME time”.

Coffee Break

All too often, we get caught up in the stress of the everyday. Your to-do list keeps getting longer, as the hours for leisure become shorter. You’re spread too thin, and understandably, you’re starting to feel overwhelmed. At this point, every task feels insurmountable.

Here’s the thing—most people would probably tell you to keep your head down and soldier on. That usually works, until you’ve reached your breaking point. When you’re on the verge of a meltdown, soldiering on won’t do the trick. Trust me, you simply won’t have the focus to continue the task at hand. It’ll take you a while to claw your way out of an anxiety attack—and that ‘while’ may just be time that you don’t have.

If you’re like me and most other people, you don’t have the luxury of taking the next few days off to ‘recuperate’—in the spiritual sense, at least. Sick Leaves don’t cover soul maladies—they should, in my humble opinion, but preserving your mental health is hardly your company’s main priority. So instead of ‘nurturing’ or at least tolerating the presence of an impending meltdown, I’d say just prevent its onset.

One practice that has significantly lowered my stress levels in the last few months is this: I always set aside at least 15 minutes of “ME time” everyday. A little peace and quiet may not seem like much, but it’s actually a great way for you to ‘regroup’ in times of immense stress. It also feels incredibly nice to not have to think of anyone else. You know, to put yourself and your needs first, at least once a day.

It doesn’t matter what you do during your “ME time”, as long as you spend it quietly. Whether it’s having a quick cup of joe in the pantry or enjoying a hot bath, the objective is to find time to relax your mind and your body. Look at your “ME time” as a type of sanity break. You know, something that will keep the office meltdowns at bay.

As a general rule, I don’t like bringing work stress into my home life. So back when I still had an office job, I used to spend a lot of time in my car—not driving, just sitting in the dark, ignition turned off, and breathing. I’d close my eyes, and in my mind I was releasing whatever pent-up stress or ill feelings I’d accumulated at work.

I also see my bath time as ‘sacred.’ I love hot baths and long showers—simply because I get to be alone with my thoughts. Most of my ideas for poetry and prose come to me while I’m shampooing my hair or brushing my teeth. If you have more time in your hands, try meditating, praying, grounding, or chanting.

So, there you have it. “ME time” works wonders for me, hopefully, it’ll work for you too.

image: wikipedia.org

Quarter-Life Crisis: Does It Ever End?

Stolen shot while pondering my life choices.
Obviously pondering some of my life choices.

By definition, Quarter-Life Crisis is something you encounter right after you enter “the real world.” For most people, this existential dilemma pops up right after graduating from college. You know, when you’ve sent out enough resumes for your dream job, only to have zero callbacks. When this happens, the first and primary blow lands on your ego. The wallet may take a beating, but the ego tends to crumble. How is it that you’ve spent your entire life believing you were born to do something, only to get slapped with one rejection after another?

You end up settling for just any job that would pay the bills. You tell yourself, “It’s a pit stop.” Only, it’s a pit stop that lasts for years. You settle into the routine, immersing yourself in the everyday. Then, you wake up one day and ask yourself, “Is this really it?” You feel lost, scared, confused. Of course, these feelings go away temporarily through various types of therapies—counseling, meditation, yoga, retail therapy, music therapy, literature therapy, and my favorite, food therapy. But these tend to be band-aid solutions. That awful feeling of inadequacy creeps back when you least expect it—in the middle of a party filled with successful youngsters, while watching some news segment about some genius 17-year-old who just published her first book, and the list goes on.

So, is there really ever an end to Quarter-Life Crisis? Well, at 27, I’m still experiencing this personal crisis—BUT I find that as you learn more about yourself, as you find purpose in what you do, as you learn to appreciate what you have and become more open to experiences and other people’s views, this crisis becomes something infinitely smaller and more manageable.

There is an end to this crisis, but it’s one that comes with inner peace. You can’t measure its diminishment by years. You measure it through experience.

Until this journey ends, (and maybe mid-life crisis makes its unpleasant appearance), I’ll be adding another facet to this blog. Aside from book reviews, poem analyses, and featured authors, I’ll be posting about some of my thoughts and coping methods when it comes to Quarter-Life Crisis. Hopefully, it might help someone who’s going through something similar. Maybe make this journey together?

Note: By the way, my boyfriend suggested this as a good way to help me cope with whatever existential crisis I go through. I must say, writing is an excellent form of catharsis. As for the picture, it’s a good way to get rid of my shyness when it comes to “exposing” myself–mind off the gutter, please. 😉 I’ve always been ‘cyberworld shy.’