I know people keep harping on the fact that your college years are some of the best of your life—and for some people this may be true.
Don’t get it twisted: my time spent in college was awesome, and I loved the heck out of that ride. But like moving on from a bad breakup, moving on to post-grad life can be just as traumatizing, if not more so.
You might want to grab some Ben & Jerry’s before we go any further.
Saying goodbye to new friends, making the leap from intern to real-world-working-adult-wow, and paying for your own stuff…permanently. I never would have thought going into college that it would be so easy, such a safe haven. We all have to move on sometime, however—no matter what your older brother who lives in your parents’ basement says. The truth is, you could be sabotaging your own efforts at having a happy, healthy transition into Adultland.
I think I was.
I moved back home after I graduated for various reasons—one of them being a lack of dolla dolla bills. Can I get an “Amen“?
I was torn because on the one hand, I didn’t really mind moving back home. I’m one of those rare people who gets along with their family (sort of). I knew this would also be a great time to save up some of that elusive cash money.
However, I also was accustomed to being somewhat independent, and I didn’t really want to give that up. I wanted to move out for good with a few of my closest friends and call it a day.
You feel me?
A few months in, and I knew I was sabotaging my own efforts at being happy. I felt lazy and unmotivated. Sound familiar?
I sort of had an idea as to what I wanted to do with the rest of my life—a big enough decision!—but I felt no drive to actually go out there and do something about it.
I’m going to clue you in on the 5 (fairly painless) ways I made my post-grad life better and how you can, too. This strategy—a path to contentment and success—also helps eliminate nosy and/or irritating dialogue from family and friends regarding life, career, and lunch choices (but this is no guarantee). 😉
Here we go. Deep breath in.
How to Practice Self Care After Graduation
1 | Set a daily routine.
This is by far the best advice I can give and the one thing that seemed to influence all my other actions and results. If you need to, buy a personal daily planner. Actually, I think it’s in your best interest. It’s a myth that it takes around a minimum of 21 days to form a new habit. Rather, good habits are formed daily. So don’t get discouraged if your new routine falls apart within a few hours (or minutes, if you’re anything like me).
Here, I’ll help you out.
For starters, set a time for getting to bed and a time for waking up. This will no doubt end up being the most important part of your daily routine and what holds the rest of your routine together. It was for me. You can’t do the life-ing and the adult-ing if you’re staying up until 4 and sleeping past noon.
I would know; I’ve definitely been there. I have the t-shirt to prove it.
In addition, set a time or reminders for things you have to do/want to accomplish throughout your day: working, going to the gym, grocery shopping, exploring a new hobby, hanging out with friends. Try to stick as close to your routine as possible. I know it can be excruciating at first, but it’s good for you. Like broccoli.
2 | Make yourself accountable to others.
If and when you ultimately fail at the above, go to someone you trust, and tell them what you’re trying to do. Having an accountability partner makes things so much easier.
I’m sorry, that was a lie.
It doesn’t really make it easier, just…harder to ignore.
Your accountability partner can be anyone you know that is responsible enough to make you do the work. For example, say you’re working on your first book. Awesome, tell your best friend you’re aiming at finishing a chapter a week, and you want them to hold you accountable to that task. Losing 10lbs for your wedding? Let your fiance know to hold you accountable. Even better: work out together and be that couple that everyone loves to hate.An accountability partner helps you show up and do the work to help you crush yo' goals.Click To Tweet
3 | Find your passion, boo.
Yeah, I know everyone is telling you to get a job and start working immediately. You may have to, depending on your particular post-grad life financial situation. I’m also telling you that this is the perfect time to find your passion. I know you just got awarded a bright, shiny new degree, but that doesn’t mean your career is going to be defined by that.
Ask yourself these questions:
What have you always loved doing?
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
What does the world need more of? (The answer is chocolate. The world needs more chocolate.)
4 | Do something productive every day.
Even if you haven’t found the perfect internship or job, you still need to be a productive member of society.
So while you’re job hunting (or working that traditional 9-5), use your time and resources to also volunteer in your community or with your family. Volunteer your time at your local food kitchen or spend some time at a senior center getting to know people who are actually cooler than you. Help plan a family vacation or reunion or spend some time helping your grandmother with her flower garden. It’s not all about you all the time. Get to know others and in doing so become more acquainted with yourself.
Related: 5 Ways to Make Decisions Like a Boss
5 | Focus on your health.
I know this is listed last, but it really should be first.
Sorry if that was misleading.
Becoming a healthier person (mind, body, soul) in my post-grad life is something with which I struggle. #realtalk
Good health and I have commitment issues with each other.
I know. I know.
It’s so important. How do you plan to accomplish your goals and dreams if your health is suffering? Your physical and mental well-being should be your #1 priority. All of these steps are dependent on one another, so don’t just focus on one. Involving each of these aspects of your life will ultimately be the most helpful and make you a happier and more successful version of yourself overall.
Here’s to the glo up, ya’ll. 🙂Your physical and mental well-being should be your #1 priority in post-grad life. Click To Tweet
What was your transition to “adulting” like? What is your advice for others in similar situations who are struggling to navigate this super weird stage in life?
I want to hear your stories!
Don’t be shy, girl. I know you sing karaoke on the weekends.