How To Deal With Post-Grad Depression
Adjusting to life after university can be difficult with many changes and stresses to get used to. From the pressures of securing employment to financial worries to moving back home to missing your university friends to comparing yourself to others in your position.
This transition is hard for everyone, but for some it can result in mental health issues and for those already facing mental illness, it can make matters worse.
With today being World Mental Health Day 2022, what better time to discuss how to deal with post-grad depression than this significant day?
Carry on reading to find out more about post-grad depression and how to deal with the mental impacts of life after university within our post.
What Is Post-Grad Depression?
Graduating university is a huge accomplishment and marks an important milestone in life.
There are many different paths that graduates can take once they finish university and not everyone’s experience will be the same, with a variety of different challenges and obstacles faced from person to person.
There are also other challenges that young people deal with which are not related to leaving education, and some individuals may already suffer with ill mental health especially depression.
With all this combined, it’s certainly common for graduates to experience depression and impacts upon their mental health once finishing university.
Find out more about the most common reasons for post-grad depression below.
The fear of the unknown
Many graduates may feel under pressure and fear “what happens now” upon leaving higher education.
It can be a time of uncertainty and many young people may not know what step to take next, or how to navigate through the adult world.
Trouble finding a job
A common struggle for uni graduates is to find a job in their chosen field.
Some people may be lucky to secure a job straight off the bat whilst others may be unemployed.
This can lead to feelings of frustration, depression and a lack of self-worth.
Adjusting to the working world
For graduates who do secure full-time employment, it can be tough to adjust to new changes.
From a change in schedule to experiencing a new environment and new people.
These new experiences can be hard and something that takes a lot of getting used to.
Without a salary and the impact of no longer having a maintenance loan, recent grads have to worry about paying for rent, bills and student loan debt, causing some to have to move back in with their family.
With the cost-of-living crisis currently occurring within the UK, financial worries for young adults are even more predominant.
Another cause of post-graduate depression is the impact upon your social life.
At uni young people are surrounded by other like-minded individuals, they may have a large friendship circle and a busy schedule, which can all change once graduating as people move away and friendship dynamics change.
This can result in graduates experiencing feelings of loneliness.
Lack of Independence
A further factor in depression in post-graduates is a lack of impendence especially from moving back into your family home, as at uni you could go wherever you wanted whenever you wanted.
As you move back home to your parent’s house or even move into your own place, there’s a new way of living to get used to.
Symptoms Of Post-Grad Depression
Now we’ve discussed some of the causes and factors of post graduation depression, here are some of the signs to look out for.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms for 2 weeks or more, you may have depression:
- Feeling worthless
- Constant feelings of sadness
- Not feeling enjoyment out of life
- Irritability or short temper
- Disrupted sleep schedule, sleeping too much or too little
- Lack of energy in the smallest of tasks
- Increase or decrease in appetite
- Struggling to concentrate on everyday things
- Having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harming
If you’re unsure whether you are experiencing any symptoms of depression, the NHS website has a mood-self assessment which can help you better understand how you’ve been feeling as of lately.
How To Deal With Post-Grad Depression
If you are wondering about ways to cope with depression after completing your university degree, take a read of our 7 tips below.
Whilst your feelings aren’t going to magically disappear during this stressful transition period, there are ways to make yourself feel better.
1. Remember You’re Not Alone
If you are feeling depressed as a graduate and beating yourself up about it, you should cut yourself some slack and realise it’s quite normal to feel the way that you do.
There will be many other people in your shoes feeling a similar way, so don’t feel like you’re odd for experiencing the emotions you currently have.
You should try reaching out to your friends from university who may be going through similar things, whether it’s speaking to them online or meeting up in person.
Visiting your friends can be an exciting thing to look forward to and you’ll cherish it more because it’s less often now than it was at uni!
This will make you feel less isolated having people who relate to your struggles, and it will also ensure your friends that you’re there for them too.
2. Talk To Your Support Network
You may think that your family or perhaps your friends who didn’t go to uni won’t understand your difficulties or the way you are feeling, but chances are, they will.
Those around you will try to get to grips with your emotions and can help offer you advice to adjusting to post-graduate life.
Depression is a mental illness at the end of the day, and it can take a serious toll on your emotions and day to day life, so make sure that you talk to those around you and voice the way you’re feeling.
You may feel lost, but you should never feel like you are alone!
3. Don’t Compare Yourself
It’s so important to try not to compare yourself to anyone else when you’ve graduated from university.
As we mentioned earlier, everyone’s path and chosen field is different, and you really don’t know how anyone else is feeling.
Whilst social media might portray someone’s graduate experience as being amazing, they may be suffering from mental health issues themselves.
Instead of focusing on other people (it’s easier said than done, we know) you should try to focus on yourself and what you want to achieve.
Compare your past self to your current self, look how far you’ve came from your uni years and imagine how far you want to have come from a few years from now!
4. Make Time For Yourself
Depression can make it very difficult to look after yourself and make time to focus on the things you enjoy, but try to remember that you are in control and being kind to yourself will make you feel a whole lot better mentally and physically.
Take this time to find out what you want to do, explore your passions and learn more about yourself.
Studying for your bachelor’s degree took up a lot of time and hard work, so there’s nothing wrong with spending time to just relax and take time for your mental health.
Try to eat a well-balanced diet and maintain a good sleeping pattern of 8 hours a night, if you’re able to.
Spend some time doing what makes you feel happy, such as a specific hobby or interest.
Most importantly, just go easy on yourself, it can be an overwhelming process with everything going on in your life and society in general it can take a toll on your self esteem, take things one step at a time!
5. Stay Active
Post-graduation depression can make you feel fatigued and a complete loss of energy, making it easy to feel exhausted off basic everyday tasks.
However, you should try including exercise in your daily life, even if it’s just a quick walk around or a short home workout.
Exercising is not only good for reaping physical health benefits but it’s also good for improving mental wellbeing.
You may find that sitting around makes you feel worse and gives you more time to dwell on your emotions, instead keep busy and go out for a short amount of time a day.
6. Utilise Alumni Services
Many universities provide services for recent graduates.
Such as career advice, job vacancies, mentorship programmes, resume help, career-focused webinars as well as helping young people to build connections after finishing their degree.
You explore the different free services and online tools to support graduates on your university website.
Although they do vary from institution, it’s worth checking out what’s available to you.
7. Speak To A Professional
Lastly, we hope our tips for dealing with post-grad depression have been useful, but please remember that we are not professionals.
It’s important to be proactive and find mental health services if you’re struggling with post-graduate depression.
Such as making an appointment with your GP or other mental health professionals, or even using online platforms to find help – you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out for help when you need it!
The NHS website has great resources for mental wellbeing and has information on where to get help for mental health.
Finally, you should take on board that it’s common and valid to feel depressed after graduating from university.
Many new graduates find post uni life a lot harder than they had realised.
However, there are plenty of resources and services to help you deal with these feelings.
Student Mind’s have a dedicated Graduate Wellbeing section which you should explore.
Hopefully, this post has enabled you to learn more about some of causes and ways to help with post-grad depression.
Read our blog for Breast Cancer Awareness Month on How to Spot The Signs next.
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