5 Things I Struggle With As An Adult (and How I Deal With Them)

Adulthood comes with responsibilities. Don’t get overwhelmed; you can sail through smoothly. Read these strategies if you’re struggling with adulting.
A young adult woman overwhelmed by adulting tasks

Adulting can be fun if you understand it well. You might come across some challenges but you can tackle them. Some things you face difficulty with are maintaining friendships, dealing with anxiety, taking care of your health, managing your finances, and other aspects. You might feel the pressure of adulting and make some mistakes. Here are some strategies you can use to overcome the challenges of adulting. ~ Ed.

5 Things I Struggle With As an Adult (and How I Deal With Them)

After a certain age (usually 21), people are deemed as adults. Being an adult comes with its own set of responsibilities: finding a job, paying bills, cooking, cleaning, and so much more.

But none of us get an instruction manual when we turn 21. No clear set of instructions and guidelines to follow to ace this whole ‘adulting’ thing. More often than not, we need to figure it out along the way.

I’ve been an adult for close to a decade now, and I’ve struggled with my fair share of challenges. Through personal experience, the help of others, and sometimes by just winging it, I’ve learned ways to deal with these challenges.

Yes, we don’t get an instruction manual, so let’s help each other out. Here are some things I struggle with as an adult and how I deal with them. I hope some of these strategies help you too!

Maintaining Friendships

Back in school, we hang out with our friends all the time, so staying close is easy! Once you graduate, however, everyone goes their own way and does their own thing. You don’t see each other as much and keeping in touch requires more effort. Drifting apart is a real possibility, especially if both parties don’t put in the effort to stay in touch.

The importance of strong friendships

A long-term Harvard study revealed that social connections are the key to a happy and fulfilling life. This includes strong friendships with people we love and care about. A lot of things in life change and our social connections offer stability and help us stay grounded.

However, it’s easy to lose touch with friends in our 20s and 30s when we’re focused on career and family. Losing valuable friendships over time can become a significant source of regret later in our lives. Hence, making the effort to meet and catch up as often as possible is important.

How I maintain friendships as an adult

I’ve certainly dropped my share of balls when it comes to keeping in touch. I’ve gotten so busy with college and subsequently work that I lost touch with some of my school friends. As I get older, I’m starting to learn the value of good friendships. They enrich your life in a very special way.

Now, I have a small group of close friends. They’ve been there for me through my ups and downs, and they’ve seen me grow as a person throughout the years. I know I would kick myself if I drifted apart from them.

I’m trying harder now to stay in touch with my friends. Weekend catch-up calls, virtual game nights, and co-working sessions are all things I’ve come to love dearly.

So if there’s a friend you’ve been meaning to call for a while now, pick up the phone and give them a call. You won’t regret it!

Dealing with Anxiety

With the demands of work, societal expectations, and especially in the current pandemic, many of us struggle with anxiety. This persistent emotional overwhelm can take a serious toll on our mental health if we don’t learn to manage it effectively.

As a child, I was pretty carefree, but once I joined the workforce as an adult, the anxiety started to kick in. I worried about my future and constantly doubted myself. It’s taken a lot of time, but I’ve finally learned ways to manage my anxiety and live a more peaceful life.

How I manage anxiety support system

I don’t think I could have gotten through my difficult days without the support of my loved ones, especially my husband. Having someone to talk to is really important when you’re dealing with mental health issues.

If you’re struggling with anxiety, turn to someone you trust and talk to them. Consider talking to a therapist who can teach you various coping techniques to manage your anxiety. Reaching out for help is probably the most important step you can take towards improving your mental health.

Know it’s okay to walk away

A few years ago, I struggled with anxiety at the workplace. I took up a teaching position that didn’t suit me for a year and it really took a toll on my well-being. Despite speaking to my supervisors and switching from a full-time to a part-time teaching load, my anxiety persisted and only got worse over time.

Ultimately, I mustered all my courage and handed in my letter of resignation. At first, I felt like a failure for walking away. But in retrospect, I realize it was the best thing to do for my mental health. Since then, I’ve taken a different career path as a writer and I feel happier and more fulfilled than before.

If you’re struggling at the workplace despite all your efforts to make things better, perhaps it’s time to look out for other opportunities. There’s absolutely no shame in walking away from something that doesn’t serve you.

Make time for fun activities

As a chronic overthinker, I still experience anxiety and worries about the future. Spending time on activities such as cooking, writing, and yoga helps to take my mind off things and acts as a great way to de-stress.

As they say, all work and no play make Jack a dull boy. Making time for fun activities is important. Having positive outlets for stress helps ensure we don’t bottle everything up inside!

So if you like to paint or play tennis, schedule some time each week to enjoy these activities.

Taking Care of Health

As a young adult, I focused a lot of my energy on my studies and subsequently on work. I paid very little attention to my health. I didn’t exercise much and my diet certainly wasn’t great.

As I approach my 30s, I’m beginning to care more about my long-term health. I have a family history of heart disease and I want to start stacking the odds in my favour. Thus, I’ve started to make some changes to my diet and lifestyle.

How I prioritize my health

Opt for healthy alternatives

We are what we eat, so it’s important to have a healthy and balanced diet. Unfortunately, a lot of food that we find in supermarkets is highly processed, and loaded with fat, sugar, or salt to amp up its flavour. Making healthy food choices plays an important role in our overall health. We need to invest time to learn about nutrition and make more informed choices.

Pursuing healthy eating habits, I’ve made some healthy food swaps. For example, I’ve switched from refined grains (white rice, white bread) to whole grains (brown rice, whole grain bread), and from refined vegetable oil to extra virgin olive oil. In addition, I’m also making more of an effort to swap meat-based meals for plant-based meals a few times a week.

Do some physical activity that you enjoy

Diet is important, but so is exercise! Make it a point to move your body in some way or form every day, even if it’s just for 10 to 15 minutes on busy weekdays. If you hate hitting the gym, find some other form of physical activity that you enjoy. Explore different sports like tennis or swimming, dancing, yoga, and hiking.

Exercise becomes easier to do when you enjoy it. I enjoy doing a little yoga to stretch and ail any achy muscles in the morning, and I go for a pleasant walk outside in the evening to enjoy some fresh air.

Managing Finances

Managing our own money—tracking expenses, paying bills and taxes, investing—is the epitome of adulting. However, personal finance can be pretty daunting for a young adult. This is something I often struggle with as well, but there are a few golden rules of finance that I swear by as an adult.

How I handle my finances

Automate your savings

This is such a simple yet powerful step to take in your personal finance journey. Automating your savings can be as easy as setting a standing instruction to move a portion of your salary every month to another account for saving purposes. Doing this allows you to save on auto-pilot, and you’ll be able to build an emergency fund in the process.

Use your credit card wisely

Credit cards often get a bad rep, but when used wisely they can be a great asset! Using a credit card creates a credit history in your name, which comes in handy when you apply for a bank loan. Paying your credit card bills on time helps to boost your credit score, and shows the bank that you’re a responsible, trustworthy applicant.

Only spend money that you have

Spending within your means is probably the most important rule of personal finance. With credit cards, it has become too easy to spend money that we don’t have on things we don’t need. Plus, many retailers now offer attractive payment plans for the latest electronics, tempting us to upgrade our devices frequently.

Paying with credit cards and monthly payment plans may sound attractive, but they often involve a steep hidden cost—interest payments. Interest, especially for credit card debt, can snowball into a rather sizeable amount. Hence, it’s important to live by this personal finance rule.

Spending within our means can be as simple as exploring different budgeting methods, tracking our expenses, and saving up for the things we need and want. This approach to personal finance can save us a lot of money in interest payments and give us peace of mind as well. 

Managing the Household

Shopping lists, meal prep, deep cleaning—these are just some of the words that make most adults groan, myself included. When I moved out of my parents’ home and into a rental apartment with my husband, I began to realize how much work goes into managing a household.

It requires planning, effort, and teamwork to keep a household running smoothly. After much trial and error, my husband and I have finally found ways to manage chores around the house with our sanity intact. Working together as a family unit and dividing different chores between the two of us has made a huge difference.

How I manage household chores with my husband

Cooking meals

Shopping for groceries and preparing meals can be both time and labour intensive. So we try to stock up on groceries over the weekend. Whenever we have some extra time on our hands, we try to cook a big batch of food that we can reheat for lunch or dinner the next day.

On busy weeknights, we opt for quick and easy meals like a stir-fry. Cooking together doesn’t just make an otherwise dull chore more enjoyable, but also promotes family bonding in the process.

Home cleaning

We divide home cleaning into the day-to-day stuff and more thorough deep cleaning. We each handle different aspects of the day-to-day stuff like sweeping the floors, wiping down the kitchen counters, and taking out the trash.

On weekends, we do a few hours of deep cleaning together and treat ourselves to a nice takeout meal afterward. Dividing household chores between family members is important to ensure no one person gets too overwhelmed with the demands of managing a household.

Summing Up

At times, this whole adulting thing can be quite challenging. As a young adult, I would often feel overwhelmed with the pressures of being a responsible adult. Over time, I’ve come to realize that no one has everything figured out. We’re all learning and improving along the way.

So don’t put so much pressure on yourself to be the perfect adult. We all make mistakes and learn from them. God knows I have! I hope some of these lessons and strategies that I’ve picked up over the years help you on your own adulting journey.

Over to you

What do you struggle with as an adult and how do you deal with it? Do share your experiences in the comments section below.

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  1. To answer the question at the end of this piece–I struggle as a parent of a young boy to model what a sensitive, genuine man is vs. the stereotypical adult male presented in the media–the reason this is so challenging is because, like so many in my generation, I was raised by a single mother. By the way, I like this summary of what’s important to pay attention to to live a more fulfilled life–attention to our anxiety, fiances, health. Well done, and many thanks!

  2. Hi Vidhya,
    It was such and wonderful post to read first of all. I feel that adulthood comes with some specific responsibility that is somehow difficult to manage all the time but this is the life we are given to live so why not living it to the fullest.. I do genuinely struggle with being responsible all the time but then these responsibilities teach you so many things in life that eventually help you grow.

  3. Sounds like a very well-organized, sensible and practical life. I shared the 5 things I struggle with on Twitter but did not say how I dealt with them. Here are the five: 1. Injustice. 2.Climate change 3. Aging gracefully
    4. Writing 5. Knowing when to tune out, turn off. The other things are more trivial and of little consequence except maybe for health both mental and physical and the prescription/solution for that is self-care. And that is a more complex process that requires discipline and commitment. I’ve been an “adult” for 63 years if you start counting at age 21, so I have had lots of practice. Regardless, this is a thoughtful and useful post that could be helpful to many people. And very well organized and written too. Thank you!

  4. Hi! I’m really lucky to have got surprise chance to read your post via-fb. Your thoughts are full of truth and a great lesson for every day survival. I have read multiple books, but I couldn’t come across with such great writing like your articles.Keep on producing such articles.Thankx.

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