When I graduated college, I wish someone had sat me down and told me it’s okay to not already have a nonprofit organization, six-figure income, or Silicon Valley career by 21 years old. I went to a highly competitive university, and it could bring out the best or worse in me, depending on how I managed the stress. However, I am thankful for all of the lessons I have gained since completing my degree over six years ago. If I could impart a few lessons to recent college grads, maybe it will help them prepare for what lies ahead of them.
I jokingly call myself a recovering know-it-all. I used to have such a big ego, thinking I was supposed to know everything, and if I didn’t, I would kick myself. Since then, I have learned to ask for help, or say: “I don’t know, could you show me?” Your boss will appreciate your inquisitiveness, and it will help you to learn more about your job. If your boss is unavailable, try looking up the answer yourself or ask colleagues in similar fields how they handle the situation. It really won’t help if you are dishonest at work. Instead, try to cultivate an honest and humble approach to your role. Not only does it feel better than lying and egoism, but your team will also value you more.
How do I deal with work, life, and everything in between? My current obsession is meditation. I meditated a lot in college with a group, and it was a huge stress relief. I now meditate with a guided meditation app. It helps me release tension before I fall asleep, and it centers me in the middle of a busy workday. Stopping to breathe calmly has so many positive benefits. There are probably at least a million ways to meditate, and the best ones won’t charge you a fee to learn how to quiet your mind. Embark on the journey to find patience and compassion for yourself and others. It will also help you reduce anger, irritability, and tension.
Sometimes, when you are young, fearless, or full of ambition, you might get ahead of yourself. A good example of this is making weekend plans packed to the brim, with no time to rest and relax before returning to the work week on Monday. Overplanning and double booking can wreak havoc on your stress levels. No matter how much of an extrovert you are, I believe that everyone needs some form of rest or play, in addition to a full night’s sleep. My forms of relaxation are healthy self-care, such as hot baths, naps, and maintaining a balanced diet. I watch stand-up comedy for laughs or get a cup of tea with a dear friend to catch up. Find what works for you to help you wind-down with healthy coping mechanisms.
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