How to Deal with Post-College Graduation Stress and Anxiety

stress and anxiety

You were in such a hurry to graduate from college. You had a great time, but you were ready for the real life and you wanted to experience it without delays.

Now what?

That’s the question most people have when they graduate from college and start looking for their first job. Remember how difficult it was for you to make a transition from high school to college? Now, you have to make the most serious transition in your life: from being a student to being a full-time grownup.

The American Psychological Association releases an yearly report from a survey called Stress in America. The results tend to be steady regarding the stress that young people face. Millennials reported higher average stress levels. 88% of them are likely to engage in stress-management techniques, and 30% of them feel like they are not doing enough to manage the stress.  

It’s the good-old post-graduation stress and anxiety that most people go through. The question is: how will you deal with it? We’ll suggest a few tips for you to follow.

Stay Healthy

Now that you’re out of school and you still don’t have a job, you don’t have the lack of time excuse. Even if you do have an internship or job straight out of college, you still have to make time for your health.

There is an indisputable connection between the food you’re eating and the mood you’re experiencing. A survey conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, NPR and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation showed that more than a third of the participants changed their eating habits during stressful times. How did they change them? More sugar and refined foods.

When you’re stressed out, you see ice-cream as a comfort, don’t you? The problem is: instead of calming you down, sugar is making you even more stressed.

Eat well. Work out. Get enough sleep! Stay healthy and you’ll start feeling better.

Understand: This Is Just a Phase

The hard transition from high school to college was just a phase. You got through it and then you started loving college. This is just a phase, too. Once you get through it, you’ll start loving your life… hopefully. It all depends on you and the choices you make.

The first step towards success is figuring out what you want after graduation. Once you get that sorted out, you’ll go through the transition in a heartbeat.

Make a Plan

Uncertainty makes you anxious. College gave you a feeling of security. You knew what you were going to do each day, each week, each term. Now, you don’t have such structure in your life. When you don’t know what will happen, you’re insecure.

Roberta Ruddick, a career expert from BestEssays, suggests a solution: “The best way to deal with the anxiety caused by the unknown is to make a plan. Create a strategy for your career and finances. You can also include your hobbies and family plans in the details. When you have a plan to push you forward, you’ll have a direction. You’ll find determination and you’ll know you’ll get on safe ground again.”

Take Long, Calming Walks

Start getting up early in the morning, so you can get a nice stroll. You’ll be surprised to find out that walking boosts your brain’s functions. This simple physical activity makes you think clearly. A walk in nature, in particular, has great power to reduce anxiety.

You won’t get tired. On the contrary; you’ll feel full of energy and enthusiasm after a long walk. You can share this experience with a person you like having long conversations with. However, it’s totally fine to enjoy your time alone during a nice morning stroll at your own pace.

Don’t Let Fear Make Decisions for You

This is the time to be bold. You’re the creator of your own future. That responsibility makes you anxious, but it’s also wonderful. Don’t settle for what other people think what you should be doing after college. You have a degree and you worked hard for it. How do you want to use it?

Be very brave with the decisions you make. Your life journey should make you happy. When you trace the path to a lifestyle you would enjoy, the anxiety will go away.


You’ve never tried meditation? Now is the right time to start practicing it!

Meditation techniques have gained on popularity lately. Whenever you complain about being stressed out, there’s someone who will recommend: why don’t you just meditate? It’s not just a new trend. It’s a very old, tried and tested technique that reduces stress. Science proves its effects.

When you meditate, you give yourself a break from the outside world that’s stressing you out. You focus on the inside. You start thinking more clearly, and start recognizing the causes of stress and anxiety. When you identify the causes, it’s easier to fight them.

Good guidance is the key to success. Find a good meditation teacher in your area and attend real classes. Online guidance is okay, but it’s not personalized.

Do Something New, Something Cool

So you always wanted to try paragliding but you weren’t ready for it? You had a goal to read War and Peace but couldn’t find the time for it? You want to commit to a volunteering activity? Or maybe you want to join a travel club?

Seize the moment. Start doing something exciting; something that makes you feel alive. You get an opportunity to enjoy yourself before you get into the circle of real grownup life. Use it well!

Can you find comfort in the thought that you’re not alone in this? Every recent college graduate is going through the same struggles. However, everyone goes through them in a different way. You will be less stressed out when you’re stronger. Hopefully, the tips above will help you go through this period of transition quickly and effectively.

This guest post was authored by Joan Selby

Joan Selby is a life coach and a blogger; a graduate of California Institute of the Arts and a fancy-shoe lover; a writer by day and reader by night, giving a creative touch to everything. Find her on Twitter and Facebook

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.

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