As kids, we couldn’t wait to grow up and do fancy “adult things”. Fast forward to our early twenties, we’re suddenly thrust into a world of bills and responsibilities we did not see coming. As it turns out, #adulting isn’t all fun and games. It doesn’t even come with a basic manual like the IKEA cupboard you bought to store your nice threads!
But, take it from us – it isn’t all bad. While the traditional markers of adulthood like buying a house or getting a job may seem abstract, there is a joy to be found in adulthood. For one, you can exercise your right to freedom of choice and shape your life the way you want it, which can be empowering. Here are a few quick tips on how you can learn to embrace adulthood and all its joys (and anxieties)!
1. Nurturing your career #likeaboss
As a new adult, you would probably learn from early on, that a job can define the way you manage your life. From landing your first internship to finding your dream job, learning to adult in the best way possible means figuring out your career path.
One of the ways you can nurture your career is to practise important soft skills such as building relationships. The word “networking” might induce groans, but it’s possible to overcome an aversion to it through a change in mindset. Networking isn’t just about attending work-related social functions, it’s also about reaching out to your colleagues in and out of the office, so you can learn the tricks of the trade from them.
Learning to give and, and more importantly, receive feedback, is also crucial to ensuring you kickstart your career on a high note. Actively seeking feedback rather than waiting for the annual performance review, is a sure way to quickly improve yourself.
Additionally, you should practise paying it forward. As you slowly but steadily climb up the career ladder, always remain open and generous to sharing your knowledge with others, even to the new intern at your office. Who knows if these connections might pay off in future? And don’t burn your bridges when you decide to move to another company – you’ll never know when you might need your ex-colleagues to give you a good reference!
2. Practising self-care
When was the last time you visited a dentist? Or the last time you got a consistently good night’s sleep? Being young may make you feel like you’re invincible. But the truth is, now that you’re a full-fledged adult, you’ll have to learn to make your health a priority.
You should also find a way to stay motivated to exercise regularly. You can stay fit while on a budget, by working out at home with the tons of exercise videos online, or by taking a walk in the park. (Make sure to eat a balanced and nutritious diet as well – your metabolism rate will drop and it would be easier to pack on the pounds as you get older.
Mental health is also important. Do not ignore stress-related issues as they may set you up for health concerns later in your life like heart disease or depression. Take your time to learn to communicate your feelings and make it a point to check in on your mental state regularly. One way to find relief? Consider picking up yoga or relaxation techniques which can help you to unwind and achieve a state of ‘zen’.
3. Maintaining healthy relationships
Cultivating healthy connections, whether they are platonic or romantic, can improve your life and boost your psychological welfare. That’s why the upkeep of relationships should be seen as a lifelong endeavour.
As we age, we might find our social circle changing. If you feel like you’re losing contact with your school friends, that’s perfectly okay. A significant marker of being an adult is learning to accept that you’ve outgrown a relationship and letting it go. People change, including you. This can translate to a lack of common interests or similar values, as you and your friends find different paths in life. Being mature enough to take this change in your life in stride means that you are growing as a person.
Seek to expand your social circle instead. Meet new people by picking up a new hobby or sport, or by connecting with them on a professional level at first, via LinkedIn. Being open and non-judgmental also helps to make you a person worth hanging around. Practising good body language such as not folding your arms while speaking to someone, ‘speaks’ volume.
4. Staying on top of money matters
Rejoice, it’s payday! But before you rush to spend the bulk of your hard-earned money, you would need to factor in your commitments including bills, taxes, and household expenses. Using the 50/30/20 rule for budgeting is an easy way to manage your earnings, savings and expenses.
You should also start tracking your daily expenses using finance management apps like Standard Chartered’s Money Manager. This will enable you to observe your spending habits and tweak them accordingly. Once you have a good gauge of how much you’re spending on average, set a monthly budget. Additionally, experts advise that you should have at least 6 to 9 months’ worth of expenses saved up in the event of an emergency.
To grow your finances, you can also consider saving your money in a high-yield savings account such as Standard Chartered’s JumpStart. This savings account allows you to earn 0.4% interest per annum on balances of up to S$20,000 and you would not have unnecessary costs like monthly service fees or fall-below fees with JumpStart.
Furthermore, as you will be entitled to 1% cashback on eligible debit card spends with a JumpStart account, you will not only be able to earn as you shop and rebuild your coffers faster, this will also help with reducing your financial stress.
Learning to adult well can feel overwhelming, but trust that you’ll get the hang of it. Remember to be smart with your actions, decisions and money, and you will soon find yourself rocking adulthood like a simple TikTok dance challenge! Good luck!
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