Choosing your postgrad living arrangement- mindfully

After college, you face so many decisions. Not only are you making choices about relationships, finances, and your career, but you have to decide on where and how you will live! Emphasis on the word decide.

So many recent college grads end up living somewhere out of convenience, or find themselves somewhere that was just supposed to be temporary. Making a decision, whatever it is, can be empowering. Some decisions are based on finances, some are based on relationships, and others are based simple preferences. It's also important to take your mental health into consideration.

Are you someone who tends to isolate when feelings of anxiety or depression are intense? Maybe living alone wouldn't helpful. Or maybe you don't have a great relationship with your parents, but they're offering you a place to live, rent-free. Is the financial savings worth it to you? Do you feel anxiety about beginning your postgrad life, and staying at home just seems less scary? Are you choosing your home based on fear? These are all questions to ask yourself when deciding what living arrangement is best for you.

No matter what you find yourself living, allow yourself some grace. Any decision you make doesn't need to last forever. If you decide after a year of living alone that you'd actually rather have roommates, make that change! If you are overwhelmed by having roomates around all the time, maybe it's time to find your own place. Whatever you choose, make sure to enter into that situation mindfully. Take the time to consider the pros and cons of each situation.

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Moving back in with your parents

According to a study by the Pew Research Center, more young people (18-34) are living with their parents, compared to any other living arrangement. Almost a third of millennials live in their parents' home, as of 2014. Half that number live alone or with roommates. It is a common social trend to move back in with your parents after college- but that doesn't mean it's easy!

Enter this arrangement intentionally, instead of sliding into it as a default. If you and your parents are on the same page regarding expectations (will you be paying rent? will you be contributing to groceries? should they expect you for dinner?), the transition back home is more likely to be smooth. 

Understand that this is a transition for everyone. It's not unlikely that your parents still think of you as the younger version of yourself- maybe 17 or 18, when you last lived at home full time. It'll be important to show them how you've grown since then. This might mean adjusting your lifestyle a bit. If everyone is on the same page, this can be a very sweet time for all of you.

Living on your own

In an individualistic culture like ours, living alone can become some sort of holy grail. If it sounds like exactly what you're looking for, take some time to consider what it might actually be like. It could become easy to stay in most nights and get into a hermit routine. If you're more of an introvert, this probably seems like paradise! And at the same time, it's so important to maintain your relationships. As an extrovert, you might have the opposite situation. Being alone might feel uncomfortable and lonely. Be sure to attend to your social needs, even when work and life get busy. 

If you choose to live alone, be intentional about keeping up with friends by scheduling social events. Whether it's a weekend brunch, a weeknight yoga class or happy hour, make sure you're getting out on a regular basis. It's okay to guard your free time- schedule that in as well as your social events, and you'll feel internally and socially balanced.

Living with roommates

Transitioning from having college roommates to postgrad roommates can be a fairly seamless transition. And at the same time, there are some pretty significant differences. Even if you choose to live with the same people after college, your lives are different now by nature. Your typical college Saturday night may or may not look like your postgrad Saturday night. One isn't better than the other, but be clear with your roommates on how you want to live your life. And, allow space for your roommates to disagree. 

On a practical level, try upgrading a few things to make your place feel more like your postgrad life, instead of an extension of college. It's not necessary to trade in all your belongings, but by having a few new things for your postgrad life, you're signaling to yourself and your roommates that this is a transition, the beginning of something new. 

Wherever you choose to live, make sure self-care is a priority. If you're more of an extrovert and you live alone- make sure you're getting out enough to fulfill your social energy needs. If you're more on an introvert and living with others, consider scheduling alone time in order to make sure it happens. You do you ;)

How did you choose where and how to live after college? Did you consider your temperament and mental health when making your choice? Let me know in the comments!