The period after graduating college is a pretty scary time.
If you haven't found a job yet, you find yourself worrying about when you will find one. If you have found a job, you'll most probably have anxiety about your new position and all the bills you'll have to pay.
It's a rough time — you're not only trying to reconfigure yourself but also may be in a new city away from friends and family. Unfortunately, even though you went through this your freshman year of college, it's different this time because it's harder to make friends.
So, what can you do to avoid getting depressed about your new lifestyle? I've got some advice from my first couple of months out in "the real world."
Be realistic about your budget
A couple times a week, I sit down and crunch the numbers so I don't have a surprisingly low bank account a week before pay day. If you look at the numbers straight on and figure out what needs to be allocated where, you'll save yourself a lot of stress later on in the month.
Exercise, exercise, exercise!
I gained probably around 10 pounds the first couple months I started working because I wasn't going to the gym and wasn't involved in any physical activities. Since I've started going three or four times a week, I've started feeling better about myself. It's amazing what endorphins can do for your mood!
Reach out to the people around you
Are there people your age at your workplace? Think about maybe arranging a group outing or lunch/coffee with one or two people. It can be a little scary making the first move, but you'll be glad you did once you start to make a few new friends. You may find that they wanted to make a move but were too shy to.
Find a hobby
It can be frustrating to have so much free time on your hands, especially when you were super involved in college. You don't have to be involved in an official organization. A hobby could be as simple as adopting a dog or going to church every week. Just find something that you can do on a consistent basis that gets you out of the house.
Plan for a fun outing
If you're really missing your college friends, try to plan a date when all of you can get together. Of course, this will be a little difficult considering you are all over the place now, but with some negotiating, you'll be able to find a date. Pick something fun to do — maybe go to a football game at your school or pick a concert to go to. It will give you something to look forward to.
The best way I have found to deal with this lifestyle change is to accept it. This is your new "normal." While the past four years were amazing and filled with fun times, you have to be willing to move on. Living in the past won't solve anything.
Want to read more? This blog, though it's a little older, has some good advice.
Image: Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net