Post Graduation Depression and a Plan to Battle it

 

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Before I met
the end (of school), I was excited with all the possibilities that I could take after I
graduated. I thought of how I would be able to travel abroad, work full-time in
a job that I love, gain independence, and start the life I always dreamt of.
Now that I’m finishing up school, stress, fear, and emptiness hang over me. I
had all my hopes pinned on a job opportunity to teach in Yokkaichi, Japan, but
I didn’t get the job. Although I still have many other options that I’m
interested in, I thought of how things won’t work out the way I would like.
One, I don’t have a job, so all the careers that I’m interested in pursuing
require an investment, and I don’t necessarily have that. I also have loans
that I need to worry about to begin paying back. I began to think of all the
barriers and difficult paths that I must traverse and it dampened my spirits. I
no longer felt like doing anything I wanted, but I also have no desire to
remain stagnant. So, I decided to make a plan, one that would help me get over
this post-graduation depression through a holistic approach: socially,
intellectually, spiritually, physically, and mentally, and to also move toward
my goals that I had originally planned. Here it is:

1. Become Involved: Do things that you love and meet new
people by volunteering or joining a local club, class, or community. Keep
yourself busy. Often, we are unable to overcome depression because we bury
ourselves within our inner turmoil, but by keeping yourself busy, you give yourself
a higher chance to overcome it. Here are few activities that I want to involve
myself in:

  •  Volunteer at Soup Kitchen, Animal Shelter, Murrieta Library, tutor at Wildomar
    Elementary, or become a companion at Hospice of the Valleys
  • Join a yoga class or a tai chi class
  • Check local junior college to see if non unit classes are available

 

 

2. Get a Part-time Job: Apply and do your work! Don’t simply
choose a job that you know that there
is nothing you would enjoy about it simply because it is a part-time job.
Research and find one that you at least won’t hate going to work every day till
you are hired from your “dream” job. When you’re applying, make sure to have a
polished resume and prepare for the interview (this will also give you practice
when you’re applying to full-time job applications). And, don’t give up! If you
don’t get into the first few jobs that you want, apply, apply, apply.  Getting a job will not only give you the
structure you may need, especially after graduating from school, but you will also
get extra cash before you are hired from the desired career that you are
striving toward. Here a few part-time jobs that I’m interested:

  • Swim instructor/ lifeguard     
  • Camp counselor

 

 

3. Spice it Up: Try something new with your friends, your
significant other, or even by yourself. Here are a few examples:

  •  Go Horseback riding
  • Go on a road trip or camping: (For me: Joshua Tree, Huntington Lake, Mono
    Lake, and San Francisco)
  • Check out local festivals or events (For me: Downtown Riverside or
    Temecula
  • Visit a museum (For me: museum of man)

 

 

 

 

4. Revitalize your relationships/ begin new
ones:
If you are in
a rut in your current relationships, try something new. Like the previous
point, create new experiences. Join a class together like a pottery class or
attend gym classes together. If your significant other constantly does things
that unsettle you, first realize that it is much easier to change yourself than
another, so learn to be okay with it.

If you’re not in a relationship, put yourself out there! As weird as it
may seem, join an online dating site if you have difficulty meeting new people.
It does work if you’re willing to meet the person. But, make sure that you are
entering a relationship for the right reasons. Don’t form attachments to avoid
time from yourself. You need to learn to be comfortable and love yourself
before you can form healthy relationships with others. You are still an
individual and do not need to identify yourself as “so and so’s”
girlfriend/boyfriend. Instead, a relationship is used to share new experiences
and to learn how to express yourself in new ways.

5. Become Fit and Healthy: Instead of locking yourself in your
bedroom, like I am at this moment, go out and breathe fresh air! Take a walk,
cycle, or go to your local swimming pool and swim! You don’t have to join a gym,
although this may motivate you more, to become fit and healthy. You have plenty
of free time at this time, use it wisely! “Your body expresses how alive you
are. Use your body as an indication to how you are affirming your life. Ask
yourself: Do I take care of myself physically?” (Corey, I Never Knew I had a
Choice). Exercise also releases endorphins, so this also boosts your chances to
jump out of the blues. But, also keep in mind that what you eat also affects
how you feel, so make healthy food choices. Of course, you don’t need to cut
out “guilty” pleasures; all you have to do is eat it in moderation. Easier said
than done.  

6. Dress it up: Again, how you express yourself with
your body is an indicator to how you are living your life. So, make sure to
make it a habit that once in awhile you dress up. Do your hair, pamper
yourself, get a manicure (male or female!), a massage, and wear what makes you
look and feel good. This boosts yours confidence and makes you appreciate your
physical self.

7. Intellectual and Spiritual
Stimulation:
Although
you’ve graduated college, make sure you stimulate yourself intellectually. Go
to the library and pick up some books that you’re interested. Non-fiction and
fiction. Learn about horticulture, psychology, or pick up a historical
fictional novel. There are also many other methods to stimulate yourself
intellectually: a game of chess or even Risk, involve yourself with
intellectually inclined peoples, watch documentaries etc.

Studies show that spiritual involvement does great wonders on
health (Corey, I Never Knew I had a Choice).  So whatever spiritual practices that suit you
best, do them! Pray, meditate, dance, sit in nature, or simply read spiritual
texts.

8. Practice Mindfulness:  Practice
to be in the moment. Be aware of your bodily sensations: feel the heaviness in
your back, the thirst lingering on your tongue, or the strength in your legs.
And, be aware of all your senses: realize the breath that circulates within
your body, notice the breeze on your neck, feel the texture and taste of food, listen
to all the intricate details of sound, and pay attention to the fine aspects of
life.

9. Listen to your emotions: It’s a myth that you are living life
to the fullest by constantly busying yourself with activities that will make
you “happy.” Life is about experiencing the good times and the bad times. So,
don’t stop yourself from feeling sad or crying. Cry, if you need to. Don’t
suppress your emotions such as anger, fear, and insecurity. It’s okay to feel
this way, so let yourself feel it, and then you allow yourself to experience
new emotions.

10.  Live: If you’re
not in the mood to do any of the above, allow yourself time to even experience this
emptiness. It is a part of life. Sit in bed and marathon your favorite t.v.
show or gorge yourself in cookies and ice cream, but, don’t keep yourself there
too long. Understand that this is only temporary, like all experiences, this is
temporary. Understanding this, allows you to realize that there are plenty of new
things to come.

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