When Life Becomes Overwhelming: A Guide to Cope and Hack Your Way into Adulthood

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Life is tough, right? Like, waking up every day, throwing on a brave face, and taking on the world with all its demands, trying to keep it all in check and avoid burning out along the way.

Everyone wants to find purpose and make meaningful connections, but sometimes it feels like a never-ending journey filled with juggling responsibilities and making sure you look after yourself and others.

If it helps, maybe it will make you feel a tad better that you’re not the only one the world seems to be frowning at right now—okay, frowning is a stretch—er…not smiling either.

But fortunately, knowing what to expect and learning along the way can help you cope and grow better. There’s no easy way to sashay your way through life, but there are ways to navigate your way through it.

The first thing you must know is that you’re not alone. Constant learning and expectations keep you mentally informed to cope with stress.

And becoming enlightened isn’t something that happens overnight—and this post might not be able to give you all the answers—but hopefully, with some useful and productive hacks, we can help make your journey just… a smidgen more bearable and smoother.


Everyone is Busy Looking for What to do with Their Lives, and Majority Don’t Even Know What They’re Doing

Literally, everyone feels this way at some point.

When you start feeling pressured somewhere between high school and college, wondering exactly what the next thing to do in life means.

First It starts with focusing and getting into a university. Then it becomes choosing a career and landing your first job. Then it becomes climbing up that career ladder, aiming as high as you can get. Then you start thinking of getting married and having kids, and the list continues.

If at any point you don’t know what you’re doing or you get distracted or fail a few times,

Just know that almost nobody has any idea what they’re doing in their 20s, and I’m sure that continues further into adulthood. Everyone is just busy, trying their new favorite things. People keep changing jobs, careers, families, friends…

Dreams change. Or why do you think someone in their early 20s could be all set, making waves in their career, and then a few years down the line, they bailed to become a chef, DJ, a singer, or an actor, these things happen all the time, which proves this theory—No one really knows what they’re doing, because we’re all busy figuring that out.


Protect Yourself From The Noise

Reading too Much on the Internet can Make You Think Things that Aren’t Really True.

When you spend too much time on the internet, you might start to believe things that aren’t really true. For example, we might think that world war III is inevitable, or that bad people are in charge of everything, or that all men are cheaters or women are mean and lying whores and so on. Although there are bad things and people in our world, some of these things people say online to get attention. The real world is kinder and more helpful than what we see on our screens.

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Try to moderate and take a step back from the extremes of pop culture and find balance in your life. Remind yourself that the world isn’t always as dramatic as it seems online, and that the divides between us are often just illusions. Life is meant to be enjoyed, not stressfully monitored through the lens of the internet. So, take a deep breath, relax, and find your own personal balance in the sea of pop culture extremes.


Don’t Ignore Your Physical and Mental Health

Eating right, sleeping early, prioritizing self care, doing what you love, spending time with your loved ones—keep your mind and body in check.

Make it a habit to disconnect from all of your devices at least two hours before bedtime. This will give your brain some room to breathe and help prevent feelings of stress or overwhelm from the activities of the day.

Another hack is exercising or workouts. Early morning exercises/workouts can help refresh the body and mind and improve your ability to tackle whatever activity you have set for the day. Don’t be surprised when you feel refreshed, and feel like you’re ready to take over the world.

Oh, and what if you aren’t a morning person? exercise/Working out at night can be a great option. That way you get to de-stress and reduce all the mental exhaustion from the day and promote good sleep.


You Can’t Force Friendships

Have you ever had a friend that no matter how much time has passed, you pick up right where you left off like no time has gone by at all? Or have you experienced coming back after a long time away, only to feel like everything has changed with some of your friends?

Well, let me tell you, I’ve been there. Living in away a few times for the last six years has had me saying goodbye to a lot of people. And you know what I’ve learned? You can’t force a friendship, no matter how hard you try. It’s either there or it’s not. That special bond that we can’t put into words, it just happens naturally and magically.

And you know what else I’ve found? You can never predict who will stay close and who won’t. When I left home and returned few months later, some of my closest friends at the time couldn’t even be bothered to catch up with me.

But then, some of my more casual acquaintances turned into my closest friends—it’s just life. It’s not anyone’s fault, and it’s not about being a bad friend or person. It just is what it is.


Pay Yourself First

Start Paying Yourself First.

Paying yourself now will give you a head start for the future and you’ll be thankful you got a jump start on your savings.

It’s always a good idea to make sure you’re taking care of yourself financially. Make yourself a priority and start setting aside a portion of your money each month, no matter how small it may be. If you want to go the easy route, automating this process can be a great way to ensure that you don’t forget about saving money. You can get this done by setting up automated transfers from your checking account to your savings.

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This will help you avoid any forgotten deposits and you won’t have to think about making sure a certain amount of money is being set aside with each cycle. Plus, it takes the guesswork out of trying to manually transfer funds over.


You Have Plenty of Time to Fail Early on

As a young adult, the most valuable thing you have isn’t your ideas, your talent nor experience but—Time. to fail, to experiment even when you’re scared. Your 20s is the ideal time to make big mistakes and get away with it because you have less responsibility than you’ll have in the rest of your life. Like making crappy investments, taking on business ideas that might fail, until you finally figure out the ideal thing to do with your life.

We learn the most important lessons when we fail. If you’re confused and failing now, cheer up because you’re setting yourself up for success in the future.


Enjoy the Little Things in Life

Enjoy the very little things. Enjoying little things doesn’t fix things overnight but small luxuries like—stepping outside to look up at the beautiful stars (you don’t need to be an astronomer to appreciate the mesmerizing night sky), preparing your favorite meals, or getting lost in a good book—can help ease the stress of the day, with little effort.


Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help and Do Things by Yourself

With all that stress surrounding adults, you’ll have to learn to ask for help at some point, you can’t do everything alone, it’s ok to need help here and there, and you might be surprised there are always people willing to help you.

Note, while asking for help is great, doing things solo is just as important. You don’t always have to expect or gather your best friends for a night out in the city, or you’ll never know how fun it is until you try going on your own.

Take yourself to a nice dinner, take up a new hobby, read a book, go to the movies, buy a ticket to a concert even if no one wants to tag along, you name it. Spending quality time with yourself outdoors is another hack you’ll learn to make your life easier for you. Knowing this will help you disconnect from stress, feeling more laid-back and at peace.


Take One Step at a Time

If you’re having trouble getting things done, that could be your attempt to juggle multiple tasks that end up making you feel overwhelmed. Yes, a lot of times we feel that by multitasking we can get things done quickly, but that does more harm than good. Research has shown that multitasking isn’t really effective and can even cause long-term cognitive damage over time.

If you want to get more done, the best approach is to break down your tasks into smaller chunks and tackle them one at a time. Set aside time during the day to check and respond to texts and emails, and when at home, put your phone away when hanging out with friends. This way, you can give your full attention to what you’re currently doing, enabling you to be more productive and get more done.

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Build Your Inner Circle

Making new friends or maintaining one is challenging for adults, and you might panic. But taking a bold step out of your comfort zone is a challenge worth taking. Get out there and strike up a conversation, get to know someone and see if you share things in common, have similar interests, what they do for a living, and build good relationships with people you feel connected to. Aside from honing your social skills, you never know what good their presence in your life has in store for you.

Believe it or not, you are going to need the right people to help you scale through life. This doesn’t mean befriending everyone you come across but having an inner circle of friends that have your back is one of the best experiences that life has to offer (alongside family that loves you).


Don’t Rush Things

Don’t be discouraged, just continue to put in the effort. Remember, everything pace differently, and just because your career hasn’t taken off yet doesn’t mean your life is ruined.

Everything in life takes time, you and your friend’s career cannot take off at the same time. Your relationships and goals will happen at the right time.


Everyone Makes Mistakes, it’s What You Do Next That Matters

It’s normal to have ups and downs in life, and sometimes things might not go as planned. You might mess up, let people down, or feel embarrassed. But it’s important to remember that these moments don’t define you. It’s what you do next that matters the most.

When you make a mistake, it’s okay to feel sad or guilty. But don’t let those feelings take over. Be kind to yourself, just like you would do for your best friend. Take responsibility for your actions and do what you can to make things right.

The hardest lessons in life are those that turn out to be the most valuable.


You’ll Feel Lost

A lot of people’s reality turn up after the excitement of Graduation wears off, if you feel a little lost, don’t beat yourself, it happens to everyone. Even people who seem to have it all figured out still have doubts and uncertainties.

With time, it can be a bit bumpy, especially when you face roadblocks like a struggling economy, stuck with a job you don’t like, or just feeling like you’re not making progress toward your goals. It may take years to reach your career goals and you might start to wonder if it’s even worth it.

It’s completely normal, especially in your 20s and 30s. But you can manage it in healthy ways like doing things you enjoy, being around with friends and family, or learn a new skill—while you figure out what you really want in life. You can also talk to someone you trust for guidance, and if you can, going to therapy can also help.

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