What happens when you wake up one day and realize your life looks nothing like you pictured it would be?
You’re a 20-something and still in college.
You have way too many weddings to attend, and none of them are yours.
You have no real money saved in your account because you're still a mess.
You have no boyfriend (or even the prospect of one), and you just have a cat or two.
It's scary how time really flies, and it's disappointing if you haven’t achieved everything you set out for yourself.
You look around and see that your friends and family are moving on.
Everyone around you has real jobs.
They’re not the kind where you just sit around your apartment all day, pretending that writing your blog or making pretty drawings is a real, paying job.
They are all moving on, graduating, working, getting married, moving in with someone — you get the picture.
You start to get this weird feeling in the pit of your stomach.
What is it? Jealousy?
So before you start heading down some deep "Alice In Wonderland" type of rabbit hole, you realize you have to do something.
What do 20-somethings do when they're stuck?
As Millennials, we have several coping mechanisms for our disastrous lives.
We can induce some kind of drugged-out psychosis so our parents will take us back with the same disapproving looks they've been giving us all our lives (not recommended). We can get a job at the nearest Cheesecake Factory with the excuse we're only working there long enough until we fulfill our artistic needs (a lie).
Or, we can actually do something to wake ourselves up from the monotonous routine we've gotten ourselves into.
Here are six productive ways you can get yourself out of a rut:
1. Exercise regularly.
"Healthy body, healthy mind" is a phrase we often hear.
Working out will not only help you look better, but it will also help you feel better.
Exercise clears our already overloaded minds so we can actually function.
Talking to yourself while you're sweating out those delicious burritos from last night will not only make you fit in that LBD you want to wear to your singles' party for Valentine's Day, but it will also certainly help you think better.
You’ll unload all of those negative thoughts that have filled your mind.
It will you feel like you've lost 20 pounds of brain fat.
2. Keep it clean.
It has been suggested, studied and proved that creative minds work differently than others.
While I'm not arguing what scientists say (you should see my apartment every Monday morning), I can reassure you from my own experience that a messy apartment, room or house will never help you clear other things in your life.
My mom always said, "The way you have your room is a reflection of how messy your thoughts and brain are."
I never wanted to believe her because someone would always pick up my mess until I moved into an apartment by myself.
Mess is everywhere, and I can honestly say that the messier my apartment, the more depressed, anxious or even angry I may be.
Keeping your creative and living space clean might help you feel better by lightening the list of chores you have to do that day.
Nobody likes to come home after a long day of work or school to a messy, smelly apartment where the bed hasn't been made.
It will also help with your romantic life.
You don't want someone you're dating to run away because you can't change the sheets every once in a while, or because the dishes are piled up higher than the Empire State Building.
You want to be an organized person without falling into the OCD type or becoming a messy hoarder on crack.
3. Focus on each task.
Don't try to achieve everything at the same time.
As Millennials, we’re all about multitasking.
Some of us may even do a better work under the pressure of a panic-induced deadline.
If you ask me, multitasking is not all it's been said to be.
Try focusing on one thing at a time so that each project, homework or job assignment you complete is your best work.
By focusing on one task at a time and taking your time to complete it, it will make you feel less stressed and more secure that the outcome you'll have will be positive.
Forget about those days when you're stressed because you're failing out of college, not dating anyone and spending more money than you have.
Your goal is to reach a state where all of your tasks are successful, and that can only be achieved if you can concentrate on each one of them and give it your best.
4. Don't compare.
Remember when your mom used to compare you to her friends' kids, and it would make you feel bad about yourself?
Don't leave me hanging; I know all moms do this.
I know it's hard not to compare ourselves with the people who surround us or those sharing their amazing lives on Facebook.
Social media is a good thing until you turn 24, and everyone starts graduating from college and getting married.
After that, it’s just a race of who's doing better and who's happier.
Stop comparing your success to those around you, and try competing with yourself.
It will only make you get better and ahead of everyone else.
Stop worrying if your best friend from middle school is working in Germany or if your sworn enemy got married to your lifelong crush.
If you stop worrying about what everyone else is doing, you might surprise yourself.
One day, you could wake up and be exactly where you dreamt of being all your life.
Remember everyone has his or her own timeline, and the time will come for you to do great things (if you ever manage to stop obsessing over how many karats your ex-friend's engagement ring is).
5. Be passionate.
It does't really matter what you do.
It doesn't matter if you're an accountant, a gym instructor or a neuroscientist; all that matters is that you're passionate about it.
Maybe you chose the wrong major and you're suffering through law school or some engineering class, and you're feeling lost and hopeless.
Find a hobby you're passionate about.
I don't care if it's flying kites at night, scuba diving with sharks or drawing in your spare time.
Just find something that makes you feel alive again and makes you forget about the stress of life.
It's not ideal to study or work on something you don't really like, but it's not the end of the world.
Doing something you enjoy in your free time will make you feel like yourself again, and you'll be renewed to complete your career demands.
You never know if a hobby or a passion can turn into something you can live off, so enjoy doing things that don't necessarily pay your rent for now.
Someday, it could become your main income.
6. Learn to relax.
With the world moving so fast around us and connections being made every second, it seems impossible to relax.
The modern world demands so much of us: working out, working, studying, being happy, finding a partner and procreating all before we reach a certain age.
It would seem that only a robot could successfully handle a day without needing a glass of wine or shot of tequila by the end of the day.
We need to remember we're only human.
If we don't want to die at the age of 35 from a heart attack or a stroke that was induced by unnecessary stress, we have to learn how to breathe.
We have to make ourselves remember we have time to do everything, and we only have to prioritize our tasks. Stop trying to be perfect, and remember to be human.
We also need to stop trying to look perfect.
We need to treat exercise as a way to feel better that will reflect on our bodies by looking better.
What's important is not only how well we are dressed, how thin we are or how successful we seem to be.
It’s all about how happy we are.
By trying to be perfect and not achieving it, we sometimes fall in some sort of functional depression where we're sad all the time.
Remember every day is a struggle and a battle for everyone in his or her own very unique way.
So, stop trying to be like everybody else, and start living your life.
One day, you’ll realize you've achieved everything you were anxious about before, and you now have time to enjoy yourself.