What the Health: Part 3

Back again for some more post-grad health tips? You’ve come to the right place. In case you skipped first two posts in the series, I’ll summarize:

  • Being active is great, but means nothing if you’re not eating well.
  • There are tons of little habits that can make big differences.
  • It all comes back to this: It’s about B A L A N C E .

We covered FOOD & FITNESS first, because those are some of the more obvious (and intense) facets of health. They’re easier to develop good habits and see physical results. But now we’re going to focus a little more on what people can’t see.

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Spencer Backman via Unsplash

Mental health, it seems to me, is usually difficult to talk about. Maybe you grew up in a family like mine where “self-care” wasn’t in our vocabulary. We didn’t open up to one another and ask how we were really doing. But then, I met some lovely friends who talked so openly about their anxiety and eating disorders and other struggles. I realized that mental health is just as important as our physical health.

 

Post-grad is a time of big changes. Whether you’re moving back home, staying near your alma mater, or going someplace entirely new- adjustments will have to happen in your life. It will be difficult, but it’s your own time to define.

For me, it was marked by profound loneliness. I lived alone for a few weeks and found myself dealing with emotions that had spent years at bay.

 

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Taylor Hernandez via Unsplash

Here are some of the best things you can do to preserve your mental health:

  • Find your stress/anxiety triggers.
    • They’re going to be new! You no doubt had stresses in college, but life will bring a whole slew of new situations upon you. Prepare to adapt a bit.
  • And then, find out how you deal with it.
    • Some people need remove themselves from the situation. For others, they need to talk it out, take a nap, scream, or go get some energy out.
    • If it’s impacting your daily life, asking a professional for help is an awesome resource. Check out this website to find someone in your area.
  • Keep in mind: Life stresses look different on everyone
    • Observe your coworkers, roommates, and friends. Stress can manifest as irritability, hypersensitivity, pacing, silence, zoning out or (for me) obsessive behavior. Try to give them space, or ask what you can do to help in those moments.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of having a clean living space.
    • I’ve often found that my bedroom reflects my state of mind. Try taking a couple minutes when you first wake up to make your bed- it can make all the difference.
  • Talk to yourself like you would talk to your best friend.
    • You are going to be with yourself for the rest of your life.
    • Think about a time when you watched a friend go through a hard time. What words of support or encouragement did you share?
    • I like to put cheesy, motivations quotes on my mirror. The current one says: “I think you should just go for it.”
  • Take care of your body!
    • This means getting enough sleep, eating good meals, getting active, and drinking water.
  • Be ruthless about editing your life.
    • Choose things, people, and activities that are what you want. Hold onto the friends who get you. Check in often. Your life is yours. Edit as you see fit.
    • This was the hardest lesson for me to learn. It took cutting off friends who made me question my self-worth, turning down invitations, and a lot of time with my phone on airplane mode.

 

I am by no means a mental health professional, and if you find yourself in a place or mindset that is interfering with your daily life, please seek out professional assistance. There is no shame in taking care of yourself.