Managing Your Mental Wellbeing After Graduating
Managing Your Mental Wellbeing After Graduating
Over the last few months, thousands of young graduates across the country have embarked on the next chapter of their lives. Whilst many will no doubt adapt seamlessly to life after university, for others the transition represents a challenge they feel poorly prepared for.
Moving into the workplace can represent a significant challenge for a young person’s mental wellbeing. When uni ends, students are flung into a world without structure, without their peers and without their student loan. In return, they need to find a new place to live, a new job, and must attempt to find their feet amidst heightened confusion, uncertainty and rejection.
According to YouGov, one in four undergraduates experience mental health issues during their studies, and whilst there are no official figures on the mental health of graduates, the City Mental Health Alliance (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-49056433) found 49% of students felt low after leaving university.
Thankfully, there’s plenty of people in the same boat, and many more who have been there and done it all before. So if you’re a recent graduate stuck at a crossroads, let’s delve into some of the ways you can work on your post-university mental wellbeing.
Worried You’ll Never Find a Job?
Finding your next move is a job in itself and can often feel overwhelming. It’s time consuming and draining, not to mention there’s no pay. It can be frustrating to hear you don’t have enough experience, and the continual rejection can really knock your confidence. Try not to let this get to you. Unfortunately, this is part and parcel of finding employment, and shouldn’t be taken personally. Some of the following options may help lighten the load:
- Reach out on LinkedIn to someone with experience in the sector you’re interested Most people will be happy to offer advice over Skype or even a coffee. While this may not lead directly to employment, it should give you a better understanding of the sector and may lead to other contacts.
- Think about getting in touch with The Prince’s Trust. They can help you with experience, improve your CV and can even offer funding for further training. Services like this can make everything seem a little less daunting.
- Speak to the careers advisor at your university. Even if you’ve already graduated, your university will be happy to talk to you about your options. They’ll also offer practise interviews, CV improvement workshops and mentoring programmes.
- Ask for feedback on unsuccessful applications. It can be hard to hear where you’ve fallen short, but this information could be useful when it comes to preparing for future interviews.
Don’t Know What to do With Your Life?
There’s no quick way to figure out your calling in life. It’s a formidable task that carries pressure and uncertainty. A lack of direction can leave you feeling lost, but it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. These things take time.
- Take your time to explore your options. It’s good to have a goal but it’s also good to keep an open mind. Talk to people, research career paths and try to gain work experience in a variety of sectors.
- Avoid comparing yourself to other people. Social media very rarely offers a realistic insight.
- Speak to your peers, or someone you trust. Chances are some of your friends are navigating similar issues.
Feel like you’re going backwards?
Moving back in with your parents, or picking up an job at your local bar can feel like a step in the wrong direction, but try to see it as a means to an end, and a necessary step on the path towards where you want to be.
- Moving back home and away from your social network isn’t permanent. See it as a stepping stone.
- There’s nothing wrong in taking up an old job, especially if it brings in a bit of extra money.
- What you do in the short term does not define you in the long run, and it may offer an important outlet, as well as the space to consider your next move.
What else can I do?
- Try to maintain a routine. Even if you don’t have a job, it’s important to establish some kind of structure to your day. Wake up at a normal time, get dressed and plan your meals. Find time for your job search and get out of the house at least once a day, even if it’s just for a walk.
- Research shows that exercising and eating healthily can give you a real boost. Try joining a gym and try master a few new recipes in the kitchen.
- Research shows that spending time with friends is one of the most positive things you can do for your mental health. Get in touch with your mates, or if you’re new to an area try something like MeetUp.
- Ask your GP for help. They will be able to advise on treatments such as counselling or medication.
No matter what level of sadness you’re experiencing, it’s important to take care of yourself. Try to remain compassionate and honest with yourself, and work at the root of what causes your down-days and low moments. Don’t be afraid to tell people how you’re feeling and never dismiss your emotions. Take some time out if you need it – a change of scenery could do you good. Always try to do what’s best for you.