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5 Ways to Combat Post-College Depression

You put away your cap and gown and sigh as you close the closet door. You spent four years of late night cram sessions, and early morning classes all for this one day, and now it’s over. Building up to this, you may have thought this would be a momentous minestrone worth celebrating, but the reality is all you feel is lost. Many college graduates suffer from what is now called Post-graduation depression, which can be described as a feeling of helplessness, or lack of control when leaving college. This can be the result of feeling a sort of finality, as a large portion of one’s life is ending, and even a natural hesitation of officially entering, what society would label, adulthood. It’s also a highly disorienting transition in life.

One day you are told you have endless potential, the next you are suddenly told that it has an expiration date and that so many choices need to be made. This ailment can become a serious block in one’s life, and leave one to stagnate and ‘feeling grey for years.’  As someone who has personally been stuck in the waiting place caused by this depression, I have found some tips that may aid in combating what can seem like an endless war:

1.Gain Allies

No war can be won alone, no matter how strong we may be; at the very least it can’t hurt to have some backup. We are all guilty at some point of refusing to gain aid from someone due to pride or ignorance. This resistance is even more prevalent in college graduates who desire nothing more than to prove themselves to the world. However, it’s important to remember humans are social creatures who only thrived as a society because we worked together. I am by no means saying it is an easy task, but it is important to find people who you can just talk to.

The relief most people feel by saying their uncertainties out loud to someone is something everyone should experience when suffering from this type of depression.  If your family isn’t an option, and therapy is too costly, never forget that we are a part of the technology era. The comfort, privacy, and ease of online support is just a google search away, and it can offer you so many different outlooks on life from all over the world. That being said, Worst comes to worse, if you are too stubborn to reach out to others, which let’s face it many of us are, at the very least be sure to write your thoughts down, it can really help you wipe away some of the fog that clouds your mind.

2.Shield Yourself From Other People’s Opinions

Everyone will have an opinion on what you should or shouldn’t do. Although it’s important to listen to others advice to gain new insight, the best thing you can do is always remember that you don’t ever have to follow anyone but yourself. You are, and always will be, judge, jury, and executioner of your own life, and after hearing everyone out it will be you that gets to decide and has to walk the path you choose.

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3.Stock Up on Health and Stamina Potions

Now, this may sound like common knowledge, but you need to take care of yourself. Do whatever it takes to make sure you motivate yourself to shower, eat well, and sleep well. Its true depression can have some horrible symptoms on the body that leave these things difficult to do, but doing them is the best way to fight back. Getting yourself dressed and cleaned can psychologically clear up your mind. Eating balanced meals, even if you have to force down easy to eat foods or lock away the ice cream, will keep the energy up and allow for your mind to be chemically more stable to help you think and shake away stagnation.

Sleep can be the more difficult of these issues when suffering from depression, but try to avoid excessive napping, and if you keep yourself just a little more active with a short walk or swim you may find it a lot easier to rest at the end of the day. If insomnia is still an issue, it’s never harmful to at least ask for a medical professionals advice on what can be done. Making a goal to get out of bed, get dressed, and eat something small are must do’s to win this war.

4.Sharpen Your Favorite Weapons

What is it that you love doing? Writing? Jogging? Being with animals? Planning a trip? Whatever it is, use it. Just as it is important to keep yourself physically and socially stable, it is important to be emotionally in control of yourself. Doing what you know you enjoy doing is an important part of keeping yourself happy. Using what you love doing is also a way to feel accomplished, which is highly significant in the healing process of depression after college. Let’s say you love watching movies, some things you can do with that are writing reviews or even making your own short films. This will allow you to not just do what you enjoy, but turn it into a hobby that lets your activity feel like you are a part of something.

5.Forge New Weapons

Simply put, always try new things. I assure you potential never expiries despite what others may say to you. There are 50-year-olds taking horse riding lessons for the first time, 60-year-olds doing triathlons, and authors who didn’t get their books publishing break until they were over 70. The point is, every day is a lesson and you don’t ever have to stop learning. If you see a free cooking class is going on at your local community college, just go and see how it feels. Like the kid who won’t eat broccoli until they eat it five or so times, it’s understandable that sometimes it can be difficult or even scary to give new things a chance. That being said, it’s a risk worth tying for something that may end up being what gives our life purpose. Not to mention you can never have too many tools in your belt. So be the blacksmith of your life and keep forging new weapons, along with your old ones, to use against depression or stagnation.

Life does not end after college, and everyone’s path is different. Talk and listen thoughtfully to others, but always remember that you decide how you live, and that it’s ok to do things in your own way at your own pace. Potential never dies, and as long as you do whatever you can to keep yourself healthy socially, physically, mentally, and emotionally, there will always be a chance to grow. This war may seem endless, but we all have the tools to win.

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Britney Hall, B.A. Psychology
Britney Hall, B.A. Psychology

With a duel degree in Psychology and English, Britney has hopes of using her unique writing voice to inspire others. Although she has a passion for all areas of psychology, she mostly shows a love of topics involving technology and education. By working childcare jobs through-out high school and college she has learned how important advancing our education system truly is the mental and emotional state of our future generations.

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