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Life after college can be difficult, confusing and nerve-racking, especially since there aren’t any “sparknotes” to help guide you.
As your college days come to an end, you’ll begin to feel as if your school life of “do’s and don’ts” are ~ officially ~ over.
There are no more grades, homework deadlines or teachers to ask for help.
There aren’t any big group projects to look forward to or seeing your classmates every day in the hallways and on campus.
This, for some, can be such a relief!
However, for others, you might begin to feel lonely, sad and think of your life as “pointless.”
This part of Post-Grad Life can be a very sad time…and it’s called Post Graduation Depression.
What is Post-Graduation Depression?
This type of depression is common among recent graduates.
If you are are recent graduate and are experiencing:
- Sadness and loneliness
- Loss of motivation
- Decrease in energy
- Feeling of hopelessness
- Loss of enjoyment in things that make you happy
Then you might have post-graduation depression.
This illness usually stems from anxiety or new stresses that come about during your transition to “adulthood.”
Factors that play into Post-Graduation Depression
College doesn’t teach you how to deal with the depression and anxiety that comes with adulting in the real world.
There are lots of life transitions that you’ll go through post college and with that, comes factors that people don’t take into consideration. For example, your social life and free time will be a bit different. You won’t see your friends as often as you have been.
When you are in school, many college students tend to drink a lot and go to the local bars. This ~usually~ should decrease when you graduate. However, sometimes people get in the bad habit and some may have a substance abuse problem.
This is just another factor that leads into a depressive state.
Not only do we take into account these factors, but we also want to talk about the stress and anxiety that comes with searching for a job.
Or finding a job and starting out as the “newbie.”
Or, if you’re going the other route and are interested in graduate school, then that’s a whole other stressful situation.
Also, don’t forget about looking for a new place to live, or moving back home with your family members, or moving to a new state or country!
Even though you are excited to start your life in the real world, it can be extremely stressful and for some people, can lead to a depressed state of mind.
If you are like me and are moving back home to live with your parents for a bit after college, you’ll definitely want to read my “Moving Back Home With Your Parents After College: 3 Tips To Staying Sane” post!
How to prevent post-graduation depression
I’m here to help you navigate the early stages of your mental health, so that you can learn to cope better when daily stressors enter your life.
I’ve got 5 tips you can use to help prevent and overcome this mental illness.
Tip #1: Stay in contact with your old support system/network
If you are someone that has graduated college and is moving back home, consider reaching out to family and friends that still live there.
It’s always good to have a network of people you can talk to for advice when things get tough.
If you are not moving back home, think of ways you can broaden your social network and make new friends.
Try adding connections on LinkedIn or joining a Facebook group.
Little things like this can work as a helpful resource to you when needed!
Tip #2: Stick to a daily routine
Working in a routine for your life is both satisfying and productive.
You had a routine when you were in school, so make one in your new life!
You’ll begin to feel accomplished when marking things off your to-do list and it sets your mind at ease.
Think of all the aspects of your life and establish times to work those in every day.
- Meal times
- Sleep schedule
- Hanging out with friends/family
- Self-care, etc.
According to Northwestern Medicine, it is known that having a routine can lead to better stress levels which leads to improved mental health. There is also more time to relax and you’ll have less anxiety.
Tip #3: Create and plan goals for yourself
Not only do you need to have a plan for your life, but you also should set realistic goals for your career.
I’ve got some great tips in my blog post “How To Set And Achieve Your Career Goals Post-Grad” that you’ll thank me later for. 😉
Setting goals can work as milestones in your adult life and they’ll feel like accomplishments when completed.
You’ll have more motivation to work towards your goals if you have them written out!
Check out these great goal setting planners:
- The 100-Day Goal Journal: Accomplish What Matters to You
- Pursuit Goal Journal – A unique, down-to-earth method for productivity, motivation, mindfulness, and goal planning.
Tip #4: Have short-term things to look forward to
Having long term goals and plans for your life is something everyone should do, but you should also incorporate short term goals and activities.
You need something to get excited about every now and then.
Whether that’s planning a vacation or setting a date to grab a drink with your friends; any event, big or small, will help you get through the roughness that the adult life can bring.
And hey, the best part of the winter months is it’s holiday season!
Whether you are living back home or somewhere else, the holidays are always a great time to bring people together.
When you are with the people you love, you’ll begin to feel happier and appreciated.
Tip #5: Remind yourself of your accomplishments thus far
Don’t forget to remind yourself of all the good things you’ve done with your life.
I mean, you’re a college graduate for Pete’s sake! That’s something to always celebrate!
Whether that’s big accomplishments or small, everything you do in your “new” life (and past), you should be proud of.
There are so many things you can do to help prepare for and prevent yourself from post-graduation depression.
These are only a few tips that I’ve used myself that helped get me by my first year out of college.
I hope these tips can help you or someone you love that’s going through this type of depression (or any depression for that matter).
Just remember, the first year out is always the hardest so just know that it does get better!
Good luck and congrats to all you recent grads – You got this!