Quarter-Life Crisis Is Real And Here's What You Should Know About It

Think only older people have existential crises and worry about the meaning of life? Think again. Quarter-life crisis is a term for the anguish that many people between the ages of 18 and 30 feel about life in general. According to a 2020 research article published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology that examined social media posts from over 1,400 users in this age range, those suffering from a quarter-life crisis commonly feel stuck and have mixed emotions about everything from school and career to family, and frequently express the desire for change in these areas.

"The quarter-life crisis, or my experience of it, manifests itself in me wanting to run away; to start again; or bury myself in anything that will distract me from my own reality," said Juliana Piskorz in an opinion piece for The Guardian. The pain is real for those who are experiencing a quarter-life crisis, and there are now several popular self-help books about this period of time when the entire meaning of life is questioned. But the good news is there are ways to deal with it.

Expert advice on getting through a quarter-life crisis

A quarter-life crisis can add even more stress to a time of life that already carries enough to worry about: university education, finding a first job, and exploring marriage and children. But according to an article from Yale Medicine, up to 70 percent of Americans will experience a quarter-life crisis. 

"Young adulthood is more challenging than ever, especially when making choices. The amount of information available in our hyper-connected world makes it very easy to second-guess yourself," says psychiatry professor Jacob Tebes (via Yale Medicine). "Part of the problem is the growing belief that there is a 'best' choice to be made — about your relationships, career, commitments, or even downtime. This is an illusion."

Tebes recommends that young adults try to focus on protecting their health during this time period. Instead of turning to things like alcohol to handle the stress, which can lead to more health problems and worries down the road, use this time to make healthy habits part of your routine. Take steps to make the future better for yourself. Wear sunscreen, get your annual check-ups, and begin family planning, but leave the stress aside.