How to enjoy being a grown-up

There comes a time in many young people’s lives when they decide they’re done with the party lifestyle they adopted in college and carried on through the early years of their career. They get sick of the hangovers, the lack of sleep, the bad decisions, regret drinking their salary away and having to live off crackers and ramen for the last week in every month. They don’t have any energy at work and don’t have any energy for hobbies or exercise either. On top of that, they might miss days at work, often due to their suppressed immune system or damaged stomach lining. All of these reasons conspire together to encourage most adults to give up their hedonistic ways and start taking care of themselves.

There are, however, one or two things nobody tells you when you first make that decision. The first is that you don’t feel better straight away. In fact, it can take months before you start noticing any difference. All of this comes down to how much you drank and smoked and the reasons underlying it. Quite often, the partygoers who hit it hardest, actually do so to supress their social anxieties. These people are at high risk of becoming alcoholics. They will often drink on weekday evenings without asking themselves why. In the mornings they experience heightened anxiety and wonder what’s wrong with them. They can’t wait until the weekend to get drunk and let loose again. When someone like this stops drinking, it can result in a surge of anxiety as the body’s nervous system is no longer being subdued by alcohol. In fact, it can almost have a spring back effect. It becomes more of a challenge for the person to go without a drink than it is to go on a night out.

If you were a smoker and you’ve sensibly knocked the habit on the head, you should be prepared for several weeks and even months of feeling under the weather. Your body needs to recover from all the punishment you have put it through before you can reap the rewards of not poisoning yourself any more. You will likely cough up mucus that has been sitting in your lungs as the cilia regrow and begin to cleanse your lungs. You’ll feel sleepy and exhausted during this time and you’re advised not to push yourself too much. Exercise gently rather than trying to do too much.

The second thing people don’t tell you is that being all grown up and responsible can be lonely and boring at first. If you have the will power, you could always go out for part of the night with your buddies and just stay off the booze. The likelihood of succeeding in this depends on what your buddies are like. If they’re mature then it probably won’t make much difference at all. If, however, they are not, you may find yourself under pressure to get drunk again. They might spike your drink. After a while you might see how silly the situation is and realize just how annoying drunk people can be. If that happens, you’re probably going to end up staying at home in future.

If you have to leave people behind, then so be it. The first thing to do is concentrate on yourself. Choose yourself a memory foam mattress from to help yourself get a good night’s sleep. Change your diet, seriously. Snack on fruit and whole grains, avoid too much processed food. You can still treat yourself. Start doing some light exercise that you find enjoyable, going for long walks, cycling or swimming are all great. Spend more time outdoors, especially when the sun is shining – exposure to sunlight makes a world of difference to our moods.

Do all this and you’ll still go through period of loneliness and boredom. Read books that interest you, watch documentaries or learn a new skill. As you begin to feel better you can take on more strenuous exercise – perhaps join a gym or a sports club where you will meet other healthy people. If your reading leads you to develop a new interest, seek out people who share it with you. Once you do this you are well on your way into your new lifestyle, enjoying being a healthy grown-up.