Managing the Stress of Graduating

by

You just graduated! Congratulations. 

Maybe you’ve been celebrating everything you’ve accomplished in the last four years. Or maybe you’ve been too overwhelmed and stressed about what life is going to be like post-graduation that you haven’t given yourself time to truly recognize just how far you’ve come.

In this article, we’re going to share some tips to help you stay grounded and positive after you’ve graduated from both high school and college.

Acknowledge the stress, but don’t dwell on it

We’re not here to tell you to “just relax” or “look on the bright side,” because your stress is valid.  Graduating is a huge accomplishment—and post-graduation life brings huge responsibilities.

It’s completely normal to experience some level of stress as this realization hits you. Some would say this shows you’re taking the transition and next chapter of your life seriously.

It can be tempting to either hyper-focus on the stress or shove it down and ignore it, but the best thing you can do is acknowledge it so you can fully process your emotions and then let them go.

Handling stress around high school graduation

Graduating high school and entering adulthood can be exciting. For perhaps the first time ever, you’ve realized there are no limits to who you can be, what you can do and where you can go.

However, when you’ve got the world at your feet and your whole life ahead of you, sometimes the potential of your future can be so vast that it’s overwhelming. For instance, maybe you’re stressed because you aren’t sure what you want to do with your life, education and career yet (even though everyone seems to expect you to have that figured out by now).

Handling stress around college graduation

Graduating college brings a myriad of emotions to process as you realize your future is full of infinite experiences, opportunities, and possibilities, because you are finally recognized to be a true adult, fully in charge of your destiny.

Whether you plan to pursue graduate studies, are beginning to search for a job in your career field, or starting to feel the real weight of your student loans, life as a recent college graduate is full of new stressors to adjust to.

Suddenly the stress you felt after graduating from high school doesn’t seem so bad in comparison.

Tips for managing post-graduation stress

Whether you’ve just graduated from high school or college, embarking on the next stage of your journey in life can be intense.

Here are some of the most effective ways to cope with stress during this transitional time:

  • Learn breathwork strategies to calm your nervous system when you’re stressed
  • Do something you dreamed about in college but didn’t have time for (traveling, starting a side hustle or trying a new hobby)
  • Prioritize your mental and physical health through nutrition, exercise, spirituality and/or self-growth
  • Build and nurture friendships with people who make your life lighter, not heavier 
  • Remember that your journey is unfolding exactly as it’s supposed to for you, especially when you’re tempted to compare yourself to others

In addition, remind yourself that no matter how it might seem, nobody has their entire life figured out as soon as they graduate (even the people whose pictures on social media would lead you to believe otherwise). We’re all just doing the best we can to balance enjoying life while planning for the future.

Reach out for additional support

Graduation and transitioning into the next phase of your life is stressful for everyone, but sometimes coping on your own isn’t enough. Seeking professional support to manage stress while navigating life changes is nothing to be ashamed of.

If you’re experiencing high levels of stress that are interfering with your daily life, reach out to us for help today. 

At The Light Program, we offer a variety of mental and physical health services and programs, every one of which is able to be customized to your unique needs and preferences.

To speak with one of our experienced admissions navigators today, give us a call at 610-644-6464.