Overcoming Anxiety About “Adulting”: Tips for Managing Life’s Responsibilities

Anxiety around “adulting” has quickly become one of the most common problems faced by people today. No matter what stage in life you’re at, you might feel as if you should be farther along than you are—that there’s an unwritten set of rules no one ever gave you.

Regardless of your background, you likely grew up surrounded by voices telling you what you should do and how you should do it. It’s only natural to feel anxious about how you’re doing—or to feel out of place amongst your peers.

In today’s post, we’ll talk about how to overcome anxiety around adulting and manage your responsibilities..

Get Structured

Crafting a Budget

Man Holding Teacup Infront of Laptop on Top of Table Inside the Room
Anxiety feeds off of uncertainty. Accordingly, structure is often the cure. Spreadsheets aren’t the sexiest thing in the world, but they can help bring a little order to the madness, and provide a bit of clarity for the future. Start off small by creating a very barebones budget based on your income:

  • Food/groceries
  • Entertainment
  • Bills/expenses
  • Monthly savings

This should start as a very broad system, that you can break down further over time. Many banks offer tools that can help you understand how you’re spending your money. See if you can register for their online portal and spend some time exploring what tools are available to you. If you’re with a smaller bank that doesn’t offer those tools, it might be worth looking for another option.

Creating Routines

Think about time as a resource: it’s something to be sliced up and spent according to your needs and preferences. Use a calendar to bring a bit of structure to your day by setting aside times for meals, light exercise such as walks, work, and downtime.

Create a list of routines that you think “adults” take care of. They’ll give you a framework to work within.

Spending Carefully

If you’re struggling with impulse buying, it’s time to implement some fail-safes to keep you from clicking that ‘buy now’ button. Leave items in your cart overnight before clicking the purchase button; let some items sit for a couple days, or a couple of weeks, and re-evaluate whether you still want them.

In addition, always take the time when making a purchase to read the worst reviews left on an item. This is a good way to play devil’s advocate for the purchase; make it a habit to evaluate the pros and cons of purchases before buying.

Realistic Expectations

Consider how much of your anxiety might be tied to unrealistic expectations you have for yourself. What is the idea of adulthood that you carry with you and judge yourself against? Is this a realistic expectation, or is it something that was drilled into you by others?

Overcoming your anxiety often involves letting go of your expectations. Understand that there’s no right or wrong way to be an adult. There’s no need to feel guilty for enjoying childhood hobbies.

Avoid Over-committing

When you’re trying to do too much, you often end up doing less. One of the best ways to manage life’s responsibilities is to avoid taking on too many of them. This means learning to delegate tasks to others when you need help, without feeling ashamed.

It also means saying no. Be honest about your limitations. This is especially true in the workplace. Giving your focus to a smaller number of areas ensures that you have the bandwidth to get the job done properly.


There’s no right or wrong way for you to “adult” and there’s certainly no timeline that fits everyone neatly. If you’re struggling with anxiety related to adulting, reach out today so that we can schedule some time to explore your fears together.

Adulthood doesn’t come with an instruction manual, but it does come with a whole host of new responsibilities. Learning to manage them isn’t something you have to do on your own.