Adulting can be demanding. Learning and improving basic life skills, such as self-care, may help you live a better quality of life.

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Basic skills in various areas are needed to be successful as an adult.

You may have learned some of these skills already, or there could be some you’d like to learn more about. But not everyone is taught these skills before adulthood.

Whether through education or enlisting the help of a professional, there are always ways to improve your life skills.

Having the characteristics to behave in a way that is characteristic of an adult is defined as adulting. If you’re adulting, this often involves necessary tasks to survive, such as:

  • cooking
  • paying bills
  • managing finances
  • keeping up with laundry
  • resolving conflict

These skills are necessary for independence from caregivers and can often feel overwhelming for young adults transitioning into living independently.

Why is it so important?

Adulting is essential because doing those mundane, necessary tasks gives you the skills to live independently. For example, learning financial skills can help you in do things such as:

  • feed yourself
  • pay for housing
  • pay your utilities
  • save for retirement

Those are just some examples of how learning one life skill can benefit you and is necessary for survival.

Research from 2017 indicates the development of life skills plays a vital role in our mental development and overall well-being.

There are various categories of skills needed to survive as an adult. But you don’t have to learn all these skills simultaneously.

Consider working on one category at a time. You can decide which category you want to prioritize first.

Domestic skills

Domestic skills include skills related to household management, such as:

  • cooking
  • cleaning
  • car maintenance
  • basic household repairs
  • grocery shopping

These tasks can be overwhelming for many people. Especially if you live with mental health conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), that can impact executive functioning.

If these tasks feel overwhelming to you, consider:

  • delegating tasks when possible
  • watching a youtube video to learn about basic household repairs
  • following influencers who teach the skill you need help with
  • seeking out the help of a mental health professional

Sometimes you may have to seek help from other professionals to reduce the overwhelming feelings surrounding these tasks.

For example, if your household chores seem unmanageable, you may consider using a cleaning service or professional organizer.

Financial skills

Financial skills are related to money management, such as:

  • managing a bank account
  • budgeting
  • establishing credit
  • saving for retirement
  • investing
  • paying taxes
  • saving money

If you find yourself having challenges with financial skills, here are some things you can do:

  • assess your spending
  • create a budget
  • use automated bill pay
  • take a financial literacy course
  • hire a financial advisor

Financial literacy can affect how you manage debt and save and invest your money. A 2019 study suggests that financial literacy directly affects financial behavior.

Findings indicate that low levels of financial literacy relate to:

  • unhelpful spending habits
  • ineffective financial planning
  • expensive borrowing, such as payday loans
  • complications with debt management

Job skills

Job skills include skills related to seeking, finding, and maintaining employment. Job skills may consist of:

  • developing a resume
  • writing a cover letter
  • using a job search engine
  • preparing for an interview
  • identifying your strengths
  • negotiating salary
  • finding the right benefits package

Each job or career path may require a specific skillset based on the position you’re considering. If you need help developing and improving your job skills, you may consider:

  • having a friend or family member look over your resume
  • participating in a mock interview
  • taking your cover letter and resume to a professional
  • educating yourself on how to negotiate your salary effectively
  • taking a career inventory or assessment to determine what jobs may be a good fit
  • attending a job skills training

Relationship skills

Relationship skills are skills related to forming and maintaining close personal relationships.

Relationship skills may include:

  • practicing active listening
  • communicating clearly and effectively with others
  • resolving conflict in a healthy way
  • using social media in a responsible way
  • learning how to develop connections with others

Relationships aren’t easy; they can require a lot of attention and work. If you’d like to improve your relationship skills, you can:

  • join a social group or club
  • attend relationship counseling
  • take a communication skills class
  • read books or articles about improving communication
  • use “I” statements
  • use a mediator to resolve help resolve conflict

Additionally, you can practice interpersonal effectiveness skills often used in dialectal behavioral therapy (DBT). Interpersonal effectiveness skills encompass the relationship skillset.

According to 2016 research, DBT skills can help those with difficulty maintaining interpersonal relationships, such as those diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

Self-care skills

Self-care skills involve taking care of your mental health and can include:

  • obtaining proper treatment for mental health conditions
  • practicing basic hygiene
  • resting and taking a break from work or school
  • taking care of your body
  • getting adequate sleep

It can be hard to take care of yourself if you have never learned how to do it.

If you have challenges with self-care, you may consider:

  • finding a therapist
  • creating a routine
  • exercising regularly
  • eating nutritious food
  • taking medications as prescribed

Taking care of yourself can help prevent burnout and reduce stress. And learning how to rest and relax may help to improve your overall mental health.

Adults have a lot of responsibilities. Sometimes these responsibilities can be demanding and require prioritizing.

Various life skills may involve enlisting the help of someone else. You don’t have to know everything, but you can always learn and improve.

If you need help managing the demands of life, consider using this tool to help locate a therapist near you.