More often than not, life in your twenties can feel like a mess of anxiety, confusion and unanswered questions. In reality, people of every age experience this feeling of being lost and losing sight of who they are.
Even though you may feel like you're aimlessly drifting from one day to the next, it's important to remember that it is possible to find your way back. In fact, you were never really lost in the first place — just transitioning from one phase to another.
But we get it. Right now, you feel lost. And that's pretty much the only thing you can focus on these days. When this feeling hits, looking forward is key. Take your mind out of your present unrest and zero in on the steps you can take to lead you back to your center.
Remember: You're not broken — you're just transitioning.
Here are seven ways to make sure that this transition doesn't last forever.
1. Take a trip home and let your parents do their job.
When you don't live near family it's easy to feel a little disconnected. Plan a weekend to jet home for a little R&R. Whether they're helping put things in perspective or providing an objective point-of-view on a situation you're dealing with, your parents — not to mention your grandparents, uncles, aunts, siblings and cousins — can help bring much-needed clarity to your life.
Plus, you're guaranteed to leave feeling refreshed after spending quality time with the people who love you most.
2. Invest in your health.
Most of us forget that our physical health is tied to our emotional health. When you're feeling lost, it's easy to slip into a habit of not taking care of yourself. But you may find that putting a little more effort into your wellness is just what you need right now, especially if you're feeling anxious or depressed: Countless studies have shown that exercise can improve your mood, reduce stress and help you sleep better, among other positive outcomes.
So, take that run, start being better about going to the doctor, eat more healthful foods and remember that you come first, no matter what you're going through.
3. Set some long-term goals.
When you're hustling to get everything done on a daily basis, it's inevitable that there will be times when you lose sight of the big picture. But here's the thing: Looking toward the future is a great way to get yourself back on track.
Take some time and think about where you want to be in five years. Whether it's studying a subject you love in grad school, working in a different industry or simply living a healthier lifestyle, establishing a specific goal will give you something to aim for.
And once you have a goal in mind, all you need to do is break it down into a handful of short-term changes that will help you get there over time. You'll feel more structured, so the next time your life starts to feel chaotic, you'll be able to take a step back and find comfort knowing you've got a plan.
4. Reconnect with an old friend.
Is there a better feeling than retelling old stories with a friend you've known for years? Spending time with someone who knows the real you is a surefire way to get back to the core of who you are. Whether it's a video chat, a phone call or a coffee date, reach out to one of your OG pals and throw it back to the old days.
Though you can't control many aspects of your life, you can control whom you spend your time with. Make an effort to surround yourself with positive friends who understand you better than anyone — you'll be glad you did.
5. Detox your social media life.
In today's world of digital baby announcements and wedding hashtags, it's impossible not to get caught up in other people's seemingly perfect lives while yours feels harder and harder to figure out.
Put some guidelines on your social media use: Remove any users who make you feel down about where you are in life — this might mean taking an extended vacation from certain apps — and reduce the amount of time you spend staring at screens. You'll be happier. Trust me.
Your mom was right when she told you that doing something nice for someone else will make you feel better about yourself. Instead of focusing on YOUR life's unanswered questions, turn that attention outward and spend some time giving back.
Walk dogs at a shelter, serve dinner at a soup kitchen or raise awareness about a cause you believe in — you'll be surprised how quickly you gain a little perspective and clarity about your own situation. If you're in need of some inspiration, you can find volunteer opportunities here.
7. Cut out the negativity.
When you're feeling off base, you definitely don't need external factors bringing you down. More often than not, these “factors” are people — co-workers, friends, even loved ones brimming with negativity. Even when it's not directed at you, this pessimism is so contagious that it doesn't take long to start rubbing off on you.
Even though your life might be going great, when you're surrounded by negative people it's easy to trick yourself into finding problems where there are none. And when you start focusing on the wrong kinds of things, your anxiety is sure to go up, which distorts your sense of perspective.
So, practice positive thinking, and make it a point to spend time with people who uplift you. These are the types of interactions that will anchor you on your journey back to yourself.