Adulting is Hard: The Struggles of Being a Grown-Up

Being an adult certainly has its perks; independence, responsibility, and the freedom to make your own choices. However, it also comes with significant challenges. Adulting requires you to take responsibility for your own life, which can be overwhelming at times. In fact, I find in my practice, so many women dread  adulting. Trust me, you are not alone. Many of us struggle with adulting despite our age and experience. So why does adulting cause so much stress and anxiety? Let’s dive into the reasons why we dread adulting and what we can do to make it a little easier.

frustrated stressed female office worker--represent hating adulting.
Photo by Mizuno K on retrieved 4/22/23

Responsibility Overload

One of the biggest struggles of adulting is the tremendous amount of responsibility that comes with it. As adults, we must maintain our own households, pay bills, take care of families, nurture our friendships,  and grow professionally. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with so many responsibilities pulling you in different directions. However, there are ways to manage them more effectively. Break down each task into smaller, more manageable steps. Create a schedule, prioritize your tasks, and complete them one at a time, focusing on accomplishing one thing before moving onto the next.

Balancing Act

Women are expected  to balance work, family, and personal life. This is  a challenge. We may struggle to find enough time for ourselves, let alone time to take care of those around us. It’s crucial to make time for things that matter the most to you, like spending quality time with family or indulging in hobbies. Make a daily schedule, including dedicated work hours and time for the activities that matter to you, and stick to it. Remember, it is important to take care of yourself first so that you have ample energy and desire to be present for your loved ones.

One helpful way to look at it is through the  juggling metaphor.  As we age, we still need to juggle a lot of balls but it is ok to put some down for a while.  The shape and size of the balls may change too.  For example, if you love working out you can still do it but it may mean a 20 minute workout at home instead of a 2 hour gym session. 

Financial Pressures

As adults, we are expected to manage our finances, pay bills on time, save for retirement, and plan for the future. Women especially struggle as we overall earn less than our male counterparts. It can be overwhelming, especially if managing finances isn’t our strong suit. It’s essential to have a budget, live within your means, and have an emergency fund to prepare for unexpected expenses. Some financial planning gurus also recommend talking to financial advisors to get started with investing early.   

In current times, it can feel especially overwhelming as all we hear about is a bad economy.  The reality is that yes, some things are more expensive now.  However the economy waxes and wanes.  It will bounce back.  Keeping that in mind can help alleviate some tension. 

Social Demands

As we grow older, our focus changes. Instead of socializing with a large group of friends, we seek more intimate, quality time with our loved ones. It’s a struggle to balance our social demands with our personal needs. The solution lies in setting expectations and being open and honest with others. Communication is key. Connect with friends by scheduling regular calls or meetups. Keeping up with our loved ones doesn’t need to be a burden. Instead, it can keep us feeling grounded and happy.  As an adult, you can also be choosy about friends.  Don;t waste your time or energy on relationships that don;t serve you.  Here is a guide on how to break up with a friend. 

The Mental Load

The mental load of adulting can be overwhelming.This is probably the number one issue women and  moms struggle with. It’s a round-the-clock responsibility that comes with making decisions constantly. Even simple tasks like grocery shopping can become complicated and time-consuming. The best way to cope with this mental burden is by delegating tasks to others or by outsourcing some of the mundane tasks. Share the responsibility with family members to lighten the mental load. Fun activities that promote mental relaxation can also alleviate stress.

Adulting is hard. It can be overwhelming, especially when dealing with so much pressure, responsibilities, and expectations. However, by breaking down tasks into smaller, manageable steps, establishing priorities, and delegating responsibilities, we can make adulting a little less daunting. We need to remember that being an adult means also taking care of ourselves and our mental and emotional needs. The most important thing is to remember that we are not perfect, and we shouldn’t expect ourselves to be. The journey of adulting is different for everyone, and what works for some might not work for others. We need to find our own path, take things one step at a time, and don’t forget to enjoy the ride.

Are you struggling right now? Give us a call or email and Jen will schedule you with one of our expert clinicians.

Sharon P. Fisher is a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and founder of Nurtured Well, LLC, a boutique women’s mental health practice in Towson, MD. ALthough she finds adulting hard, her 7 year old insists all she does is go to meetings and take care of kids which is far easier than the second grade.

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