Dealing with Post-Grad Depression

Friday, February 22, 2019

If I can be candid, it has taken me months to write this as a follow-up to my very first post on my Post-Graduation Waiting Period. It's not because I didn't want to share my experience; rather, it was because I was convinced that everyone would think I was silly for admitting that I was going through depression as a result of not being in school. Yes, I have been experiencing post-graduation depression for the last several months (it feels like a relief to say that).

Simply put, post-graduation depression is triggered by the lack of structure that a life in academia provides. For those that don't know, I went straight into my Master's program immediately after getting my Bachelors degree; so, I've had the structure of school for my entire life. My identity always included school; thus, despite the excitement of graduation, losing that part of my identity hit me pretty hard.

  
Sure, I was/am relieved to not be bound by deadlines and group projects and evening classes; but, I left all of that behind to step into a world overwhelmed by student loan debt, living paycheck to paycheck and adulting. Sure, I now have the job that I was praying for everyday for 3.5 months after graduation; however, that transition from working and going to school full-time to a full-time career has not been easy.

I no longer have the security that I'd found in school and that makes me uncomfortable and quite frankly, sad. I have been eating non-stop (so I've gained a lot of weight), I haven't yet gotten back into a consistent workout routine (so I've been unable to lose said weight) and, in place of a busy academic calendar, I have continuously added task on task and event on event to my schedule to keep myself busy - I started this blog at what was also the start of Fall semester (that wasn't by coincidence). Because I've been in school for so long, it feels wrong to sit still and I'm constantly questioning "what's next?"
 or "what should I be doing?"


Amongst other things, our professors and advisors neglect to prepare us for the reality that will come for our ENTIRE lives once we graduate. So, I want to share with you a few things that I have learned in the last few months and offer some practical steps you can take if you find yourself experiencing post-graduation depression.

Don't reset, adjust. Don't feel obligated to reset to social standards of time. My supervisor gave me a great suggestion to continue operating in academic increments. Meaning, rather than trying to adjust to fiscal years and such, allow yourself to continue flowing within a system that has worked for you. You might not have the same things to do; but, you can still utilize the structure of an academic calendar. Work with what you know.
Be present where you are. Don't overwhelm yourself with the pressure of "what's next?" There is no need for you to stretch yourself thin as you journey through this season of transition. Take each day as it comes and let tomorrow worry about itself. 
Set short term goals...and celebrate every. single. one. A sister of mine, Lo, told me that right now I have to intentionally take pride in what I've done, and what I am currently doing well. It may not look like the accolades and certificates we got in school; but, celebrate and appreciate where you are. Trust that when your territory expands (and it will), you will have all you need in order to continue doing well. 
Give yourself some grace. You are doing your very best. Extend the same grace to yourself that you extend to others daily. I am constantly reminding myself to do this. Healing is not linear so trust the process. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you've made. Praise yourself for getting out of the bed every morning. Speak love and positivity over yourself constantly and be patient with your journey.
Release. TALK ABOUT IT. It took me months to articulate how I was feeling and by the time I could, it felt silly to say it out loud. Don't be silenced by the pressure of all you're going through and the fear that no one will hear you. You are not alone. Find a therapist, confide in your tribe. Lean into your support system. 
Rest. You have to protect your vessel. This means that you don't have to accept every invitation on your off-days and you don't have to always be doing something. Allow your body to rest without feeling guilty about sleeping in or laying on the couch all day. Sure, I know you're amazing at a lot of things; but, you do not have to be doing those things every minute of every day. You are no good to yourself, or your talents, if you do not allow yourself to rest. Be still.


With Blessings & Imperfections,
Bre




The Day for Love: Embracing Your Single Season

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day, friends!
So, I thought that I'd be writing this post from a place of peace and joy as I spend another Valentine's Day as a single woman. Ya know, enjoying the freedom of being single; however, I am not. Instead, I am writing this post from an extreme case of "I'm over this. Where's my man??" Lol. Can you relate?

The interesting thing about this feeling is that it's the total opposite of how I felt about my single season last year. Last year, I was ecstatic to be single. On Valentine's Day, I took myself to get a massage, I got a manicure and pedicure, I took myself out to eat at Kanki (my fave) and then I went on a shopping spree at Ulta. IT. WAS. GREAT. But this Valentine's Day feels different. 
That's the thing about seasons though, right? They are subject to change - if you live in North Carolina, you feel me.

You won't always enjoy every part of the season. There will be times when the seasons don't change when you think they should. There will be times when you feel let down and disappointed when another potential relationship doesn't blossom into all you hoped it would become. There will be times when you feel bitterness while watching your friends enjoy the same happiness with their partner(s) that you feel like you deserve. 

On this Valentine's Day, I'm not going to tell you that you won't be single by this time next year because I don't know what season you are currently in, nor do I know what season God will bring you to by next February.

But, the season will eventually change. You will soon experience a love so great that you can't even put it into words. What I AM going to tell you is that the wait will be worth it. And when that day comes, I want you to be ready.
Here's how I want you to prepare:
Learn to love yourself..every single broken, ugly, imperfect part of yourself. Get rid of the shame you've been feeling from your past experiences with love. Really get to know YOU and learn to love every single bit of your amazing, beautiful, authentic and wise self.

Fill up YOUR cup..whether single or in a relationship, we often have the tendency to feel obligated to heal every attractive, broken person that walks into our lives; but, have you taken the time to heal yourself? What have you done for yourself to ensure that you are equipped with all that you need in order to be good to yourself and not just everyone around you? It's cliche; but, you truly can't pour from any empty cup. So, be kind and generous to yourself.    

Smile often..surround yourself with people and things that put that big 'ol, "I'm full of joy" type of smile on your face. Travel to places you've never been before. Tell your corniest jokes and let out your heartiest, from the belly laugh. Be happy. 
You may not be in a relationship for Valentine's Day next year; but, you WILL be a better version of yourself. You WILL be WHOLE.


With Blessings & Imperfections,

Bre


Valentine's Day Gift Guide for YOU!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019
So you're gonna be single on Valentine's Day, huh? From experience, you're likely feeling a twinge of bitterness and possibly planning a total BINGE of ALL the things on the day for love. I get it. But, I'm challenging you to do something different this year. I know, I know. We hate change and stuff. I hear you; but, I think you'll like this.

I have put together a Gift Guide just for YOU and your beautiful, intelligent, valuable and amazing self! That's right! My challenge to you for this year's Valentine's Day is to TREAT YOSELF. We ain't finna be sulking around the house this year..WE'RE GOING SHOPPING, SIS!

*This post contains affiliate links.That means that I could receive a small commission from any sales driven from flawbless.com to sites linked in this post.

Plants/Flowers

I know the world has convinced us that flowers are only meaningful when they come from someone else; but, those days are OVER. Flowers and plants have the ability to transform your space and bring [literal] life to it. You can play it safe with a couple succulents, or you can go big with something like a flowering peace lily.
flowering peace lily

  



Gel Manicure Kit
Sometimes treating yourself on a budget is the best way to go. I personally don't have enough, but if you have the patience to do your own nails, this is a great gift! This one-time investment could save you lots of coins throughout the year...splurge now, save later.






Polaroid Camera
I really enjoy making memories and I have been wanting one of these for a while! Now, I know sometimes it feels like you'll be single forever; but, that is the furthest thing from the truth. One day you will have a partner that cares for you deeply and if you desire, you may one day also have a family. Start storing memories to share with them now while you have the freedom to do, be and go wherever your heart desires. Take some pictures of your adventures with a Polaroid camera - don't forget the film!





  Becoming
  Honestly, I don't even have anything to say about this. The author   speaks for herself. I've been reading this book over the last couple of  weeks and as always, I am in awe of everything Michelle Obama. Buy   the book and thank me later!






New Workout Clothes
It's not too late to start or continue your New Year's Resolution of working out and getting your body ready for the summer...and life! You should certainly look cute while doing it. Target's JoyLab collection is going to make you a showstopper at the gym. You deserve the spotlight everywhere you go, especially while you're snatchin' that waist!












Wine
Single or not, a Valentine's Day with no wine is a waste. So, while you're watching your favorite movie or enjoying your favorite foods on Valentine's Day, you might as well do it with a nice glass of wine. I prefer White wines, Riesling to be exact. Chateau Ste. Michelle is my personal favorite! Riesling pairs well with just about any food, so you can have whatever you like!






 Journal

 During your season of singleness,   getting to know yourself is very important. Journaling is a great way to   do that. I love guided journaling because even when I have no idea what to write, the prompts give me the space to dig deep and really  think  about what I need in order to be mentally, physically and spiritually sound. There's a guided journal for just about everything.







Aromatherapy Diffuser
Once you step out of your Eucalyptus shower, why not continue the spa experience in your room? An aromatherapy diffuser can create a peaceful and serene environment for you and everyone that enters your space. Diffusers promote better sleep, support respiratory health, focus and cognitive function.

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Affirmation of the Week

“You have always been a blessed thing, and goodness has no trouble finding you because goodness is what you deserve." – Upile Chisala