For a majority of students, the college experience offers a safe, accepting environment to learn, socialize and gain support from friends, professors and mentors. College graduation marks an important achievement, but also the beginning of what can be a difficult transition into “adult” life. With their tightknit college support system suddenly gone, many recent grads experience significant feelings of loss, loneliness and even depression.
If you finally have your diploma in hand but feel that the post-graduation transition is having negative effects on your mental health, here are some tips that our patients have found useful.
Create work-life balance. Remember the flexible college schedule where it was OK to occasionally skip class? No more. Skip out or show up late to work one too many times and you’ll find yourself out of a job. Expect to have limits on your free time. Transitioning to a 40-hour work week can be hard, so try to break up your workday by getting out of the office during your lunch hour. On the weekends, plan time both for errands and for activities you enjoy.
Stay in touch. Moving away from friends can be one of the most challenging parts of post-graduation life. Make an effort to keep in touch whether through texts, Skype or the occasional lunch date. Also don’t forget to cultivate new friends by joining a club, volunteering, becoming active in a local church, attending community events or being socially active in other ways.
Mind your exercise routine. If you worked out regularly in college, it’s important to keep up this routine. If not, start an exercise regimen. Check if there is workout equipment in your office building or look for a deal on a gym membership. The benefits of exercise for physical health are obvious, and it can also reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Plan your meals. After four years of being on a college meal plan, you may be lost about what to eat and even how to cook it. Cooking at home is healthier and more budget-friendly than eating out, so look online for meal ideas that are both healthy and affordable.
Party in moderation. As delightful as it was to bond with your college friends over frat party “Thirsty Thursdays,” it’s time to give those party shoes a break. Your career will quickly suffer when you show up to work on Friday (or any day) with a hangover. Have fun during the week without going overboard.
Get Professional Counseling for Support
Moving from college to adulthood is a rewarding journey, but if you find yourself dealing with ongoing feelings of depression or anxiety during this transition, give Sound Mind Therapy a call. We specialize in individual counseling from the heart. Call us today at (314) 499-9144 or complete our online request form to schedule a counseling appointment. From our office in Creve Coeur, we serve residents of Chesterfield, Clayton and surrounding St. Louis suburbs.