An existential crisis can become quite serious when left unchecked. You begin to question your very existence, your place on the Earth, and what your true purpose really is. This can make life especially difficult, especially if you’re failing to find the meaning in what you do on a daily basis. Staying productive during an existential crisis may be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. Here, you’ll find some valuable tips for navigating an existential crisis while holding onto your motivation.
What is an existential crisis? An existential crisis usually means that change is coming, or needs to come. You could be unhappy with your former self, or with your life’s current path. If this is the case, it’s actually a good thing; it means you’re recognizing what’s holding you back from being truly happy. Losing one’s assumed identity can be incredibly confusing and even depressing, but remembering that you’re only ever one decision away from an entirely different life can help bring you back to the ground. Yes, it’s hard to change your life, but if you’re unhappy to the point of a crisis, change is long overdue.
Change is hard for everyone. It means the unknown lies before us, beckoning from the dark for us to choose a new path. Many will fear that darkness because they don’t know what lies beyond it. This is entirely human, but there comes a point when you must push through and see what’s waiting for you on the other side of change.
Find the Source of Your Crisis
An existential crisis will usually have some kind of trigger or a build-up. The cause of your crisis is crucial to your recovery efforts and remaining productive during the extent of the crisis. What made you feel like your life has no meaning? Where were you when you first felt the symptoms of your crisis? At work? At home? Are you happy with both/either? Pinpoint where your unhappiness lies, and you’ll likely find the source of our crisis.
The answer to this question may just surprise you. Sometimes, people get locked in routine and don’t even realize that their job or home life is making them feel terrible on a daily basis. They’ll go through life unhappy, but unsure why they’re unhappy, and then an existential crisis occurs. It may take an existential crisis to realize you’re actually unhappy with your marriage, your career, your family, etc. Self-awareness is the key to navigating your crisis successfully and maintaining some sense of normalcy during the crisis period.
If your crisis makes you switch up your schedule or habits, that’s a good thing; as long as you stay consistent. Consistency is important to feeling like you’re on the right track, and when you’re changing a habit or your entire lifestyle, it’s vital to your success. An existential crisis doesn’t have to make your life spiral out of control. If you can maintain a schedule and consistency in your thoughts and actions, you might find it to be actually useful.
You Can Take a Break
No one can be 100% productive every hour of every day, it’s simply not possible. When you’re in the midst of a crisis and feeling overwhelmed, the best way to get your motivation and your productivity back may just be to take a long break. That’s right, a break. It’s almost unheard of, isn’t it? For someone to take a mental health break from their job, their family, their entire life; but sometimes, we get over-civilized and need to go somewhere peaceful.
For some, this is a cabin in the mountains or a camping trip, and for others, it might be a hotel in another city. Whatever the case may be, don’t be afraid to give yourself permission to hit the brakes and slow down. A break will allow you to focus on what’s causing your crisis and formulate a plan to fix it. When you come back, you’ll likely find that your motivation and productivity have returned.
See a Counselor
A counselor is always a good option when you’re having any sort of mental crisis, especially one as impactful as an existential one. When you’re questioning your very existence and your purpose on the Earth, there’s something big missing from your life that your therapist may be able to help you find. Or, there’s something big standing in your way, which a therapist can also help you with. There’s no shame in seeking help, and it’s readily available if you just reach out and ask for it!
The Bottom Line
If you’re having an existential crisis, hang in there; it doesn’t last forever! When it’s all said and done, you may actually have gained some valuable clarity, which you can then use to fuel real change in your life.