As grad season approaches I’ve taken some time to reflect on the emotions I felt this time two years ago.
I could have been best described as terrified, stressed and very lost. I picked a very broad major, English, and had no inkling as to what I wanted to do career wise. I had a part-time job but I was terrified I would never find a full-time position doing something I didn’t hate. I panicked. I took almost any interview and position presented at me and I became an unorganized mess.
Once I got a temporary full-time job the panic continued. Not only was I at a company that I was unhappy with, but I also hated sitting in an office for eight hours a day with limited mental stimulation. I was bored and worried which created a whole new level of chaos in my life. I also struggled to adjust to spending 40 hours a week doing the same thing. In hindsight it doesn’t seem that difficult, but at the time I rejected everything about working the typical office job.
If panic stricken Em had known then what she knows now she would have never worried. Now I have a job that I love at a company that treats me like the magical human that I am and I know I can handle anything thrown at me.
How did I go from stressing about this giant change to cool and collected?
By getting organized. I have always been an orderly person but the chaos of college had caused me to forget about the joy I get in ticking things off my to do list. Once I got a temporary full-time job and the fear of starving to death out of my mind (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, baby) I was able to channel the girl who used to make a pro/con list for everything and pull my life together.
Here are some of the ways I started taking my life back from my post grad panic.
- To-Do Lists with attainable goals. I made a new list everyday with everything I needed to do on it. This included things like washing my hair, buying groceries, calling my Grandmother and exercise. If I didn’t accomplish everything on my list I didn’t beat myself up over it, I just moved it to the next day.
- Prioritized my mental and physical health. My panic phase took a toll on my body. I gained weight, stopped exercising and my skin broke out like crazy. I ate horrible things, remember my dominos lover from my earliest exercise posts. This is where getting organized really kicked in. It is one thing to say you are going to eat healthy and exercise, it is a whole different beast to actually accomplish these things. So I started slow. Read this post if you want the intimate details of my starting place. I wrote down monthly goals like “add one Blogilates workout to my yoga schedule” or “swap out takeout for a homemade Chipotle bowl” and allowed myself to slowly adjust to my healthier lifestyle. This took the majority of 2016. It was hard work, but it is so worth it to look in the mirror, or hit that new yoga pose or run 3 miles without stopping and be proud of what you’ve accomplished. My current workout schedule looks like this but that was not my starting point. Don’t try to start in the middle.
- Practiced leaving work at work. When I go home for the day, unless something absolutely absurd happened, I try not to think or talk much about work. I love my job and the people I work with but after spending 8 hours a day somewhere I don’t want to focus on it anymore. This takes a lot of mental strength and patience but now that I’ve got the hang of it it is so nice. (This will also help you ease those Sunday Scaries we all get).
- Prioritized finding happiness through hobbies. Stress happens. Life gets hard, but once I took a step back from my freak out frenzy I realized it was going to always be there…maybe not as heavily but anxieties will arise and I have to be able to cope. The best way for coping with stress it to create your own happiness, which is why I am so keen trying to find joy, it’s also why I started this blog.Starting a blog may seem like more work, and it is, but I love reading my finished posts and looking at the work I’ve created. You don’t have to start a blog though, but if you do send me your URL I would love to check it out, hobbies like journaling, coloring, painting, doodling or reading all relieve stress and bring joy. Find what makes you happy and make time to do it.
Those are the ways I combatted post grad panic. It look a while, but I’m so proud of how far I’ve come since then.
What are some of the ways you combat stress from big changes in your life?