Location Location Location
At the end of 2016 I left college because of mental health issues and moved back to my parent’s house in my hometown.
The following fall (October 2017) I moved Northampton, Mass. I lived there for the past 18 months. I was reselling full-time on the internet to support myself.
But, at the end of last month I moved home again- this time to finish my civil engineering degree at a small state school.
To say the least, it’s discouraging to have moved back home twice in the past 3 years.
I’m very grateful to my parent’s for letting me live at home while I finish school. But, my gratitude doesn’t change the reality that living at home after college is hard.
I’ll be living here for the next 18 months while I finish college, so I’m actively working to make sure I grow and develop as a person over this time.
Unforutantely, I’m good at isolating myself and am prone to depression. Being back in my hometown usually makes these issues worse. But, if I want to enjoy my life, I can’t let that happen.
Here are 3 things I’ve learned about living at home after college that’s made it easier.
1. Prioritize Mental Health
I don’t know about most people, but I have to actively work on my mental health.
Lately, I’ve been reconsidering my marijuana habit. For the last year I’ve smoked almost everyday. Being self-employed, I could still get stuff done while I was high, so I usually smoked several times each day.
I love smoking pot. But, that’s exactly why I need to stop. I like it too much.
If I value my mental health as much as I claim to, then I need to give my mind a rest and abstain for at least a month or two to see how much weed was really affecting my state of mind.
If you’re living at your parent’s house in your hometown, while most of the other people you went to high school with have moved away, it’s easy to compare your life to theirs. I do it everyday.
But, this mind state only leads me to jealousy, self-loathing, and berating myself for not being more successful and socially confident. This is why self-compassion is such a big part of mental health.
For me, exercise and meditation are two of the most effective habits for bettering your mental health. Which takes us to the next point…
2. Stay Busy
You can’t stay mentally healthy if you’re constantly alone at your parent’s house.
When I first moved back home after leaving college I was confused, angry, and didn’t know what to do next. I was pissed off and didn’t want to be around people. But this made my mental health sink even lower.
Just being around people is good.
Today I was feeling depressed, so I forced myself to go to the gym, scan some books at a nearby thrift store, and then come to the library.
I haven’t been that productive today, but it’s much better than lying in my bed, ruminating about how pathetic I am. Instead of doing that, I wrote this post.
I took an 8 week improv course a couple of years ago, which was great for social confidence and meeting people. so I’m probably going to do that again. Also, I have a part time job. It’s only minimum wage, but it’s very relaxed- I list stuff on ebay, or do other online hustles while I’m there.
Meetup.com and volunteering are also good options to meet people and potential partners. Now I just have to take my advice and actually go to a volunteer event or Meetup group..
If you’re dealing with crippling anxiety or depression it can feel almost impossible to get out of your house or apartment and meet people. But, it’s so important to force yourself to get up and do something.
When I’m alone and feeling depressed or anxious, I’ll just add onto my suffering. At least when I’m just around other people, even if I’m not interacting with them, I’m more tethered to reality and my mood feels more stable.
3. Make Money
If you’ve read any posts on this blog, then you know that I’m a big advocate of having your own ways to make money.
Learned helplessness is a big feature of depression and low mood.
This is when you assume that nothing you do can make a difference in your life- this is one reason why crippling procrastination and rumination are common with mental illness.
Making money online requires that you do something, which will probably help you feel better about yourself. Take 5 minutes, upload a t shirt design to Amazon Merch, or list a few things around your house on eBay. You’ll feel more productive and capable.
But, if you’re in the midst of a mental health problem, it’s best to focus on getting better than it is to obsess about making money.
Towards a Bright Future
The vision of a brighter future might be one of the most important motivators of human beings.
Why else would people put money into their 401K’s, learn new skills, or try to get in better shape?
When you’re dealing with depression and anxiety it’s easy to discount the future. For most of my adult life, my anxiety was so intense that I never reflected on how I wanted my future to look.
Too much energy was required just to make it through the day.
But, now that I’m starting to come out of the fog, it’s time to keep going, drop the bad habits, and build the life I want for myself.