As I sit on my bed looking out the window on this bustling and sunny California morning, I can feel my priorities beginning to slip and rearrange before my eyes. The laziness is knocking, Netflix is calling, and my DIY Pinterest board is singing its siren song, tempting me with herb garden projects and yarn art. Two months into my career search and I am already yearning for the structure and assurance of an upcoming college semester. College was easy. It was clear what was expected of me, and what was expected from the institution. This new adult lifestyle? It ain’t so clear.
The highly organized, often over-scheduled and project-hungry Elizabeth has an empty planner, no job and very few projects to keep her busy.
It’s easy to pretend that everything is fine, and that I am “finding myself” in California, but the reality is: adulting is hard. The struggle of feeling fulfilled, trying to earn money and making new friends outside of a safe college environment is a challenge unprecedented by anything I’ve experienced.
How have I fought these blues? It’s been a mix of keeping routine, staying connected, and keeping busy. Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper IBAW (ImBetterAtWriting.com) post without a handy list to keep everything in order:
7 ways to fight the post-grad blues
- Make your bed. That’s right. I said it. As someone who has been against this chore since I was about nine years old, it is amazing how much more put-together I feel after fluffing my pillows and straightening the duvet. This small task helps me to mentally prepare for the day’s to-do list, and acts as a springboard to completing the less appealing tasks of the day.
- Don’t just job search – career search. The first few weeks of applying for jobs was overwhelming. So many openings for places I knew nothing about. Once I reached the point of blindly opening job description tabs on my browser and overwhelming myself with the task at hand, I took a different approach. I decided to zero in on a few select companies I knew I wanted to work for, and apply – even with no openings available. You never know what may be in the works. Worst that could happen is they aren’t hiring, or they don’t respond. Take it as an opportunity to network and get a feel for the local industry.
- Find something to keep you physically active. The couch can be a cruel mistress. Sitting around applying for jobs and waiting for responses is definitely a mental workout, but don’t forget to stay active. I recently discovered the phenomenon of hot yoga and feel instantly refreshed after a 90 minute session. Find your vice. Take a stroll around the neighborhood. Go on a hike. Watch & follow some YouTube workout videos. Get moving.
- Get out of the house. Much like #3, find something to run towards. Explore a hobby. Go geocaching. Volunteer. You won’t meet people sitting around. The past month I began dogsitting for families in the Sacramento area and am signed up to volunteer at the local animal shelter. Caring for animals is something I am passionate about, and adds a little bit of routine to my day. Find something you enjoy away from the house and run with it.
- Stay connected with friends and family. It’s easy to feel alone after college. I packed my bags and moved across the country, away from everything familiar and safe. It’s easy to feel “connected” with friends and family through social media, but I felt as if something was missing. I missed seeing my family and friends face-to-face and hearing about their experiences first hand, so my family and I set up a weekly Skype date with the whole fam. I also make sure to call my friends at least once a week. Find your way of staying connected, and stick to it. You’ll feel so much better afterwards.
- Use your guilty pleasures as rewards. For me, it’s Netflix. Give me a great show to watch and it’s all I want to do. Especially with my relatively free schedule and open job prospects, I’ve found it harder to say no. Once I found myself plopped on the couch — a good three seasons into LOST — I decided it was time to start regulating t.v. time and to get down to business. Completed all my errands? House is tidy? Job application quota reached? Permission to Netflix – granted. Find that guilty pleasure and turn it into a motivator.
- Find a new project or skill and run with it. For me, it’s this blog. When I started this project, I was trying to balance school, work, final projects and extracurriculars. Now, I have all the time in the world. Continue to build on what makes you awesome. Take that online accounting class. Learn how to build something on YouTube. Freelance design, or do it for fun. Take on learning ukulele. Learn how to do a handstand. The possibilities are endless, so don’t let the lull get the better of you.
See something I missed? How are you fighting the post-grad blues? Let me know in the comments below. As always, stay fabulous!