Friends you cannot land a job sitting in your apartment contemplating what it is that you want to do with the rest of your life. Don’t get me wrong. Reflection is a very important part of figuring out what you want to do after university. But rarely will you land a job just surfing the net looking for opportunities.

More importantly, I am concerned that if all you do with your time is reflect upon your future and stare at a computer screen that you will become depressed if no employer is beating down your door. Not to mention paralyzed by fear that you will never become employed.

It can take on average, 3-9 months, for a new college grad to land a job. That’s a long time! We want you to be happy, fulfilled and excited as you navigate the transition. We do not want you to become overwhelmed by depression and anxiety. So this transitional road needs to be filled with golden nuggets in order to help you sustain your motivation, momentum and energy.

Here are 3 golden nuggets that I want you to incorporate into your life as you set sail on this journey.

1. Spend time with friends and family

Your social support network buffers you from stress. Think about the last time you were going through a difficult time. Who did you call on and how did it help? We are not meant to do this alone. We all need people. Reach out to your network. You don’t need 20 best friends. What you do need is a couple of friends who will be there to listen and support you.

2. Exercise you’re body

I know that you have heard all about this golden nugget. Exercise relieves stress. You are going through one of the most challenging times in a person’s life. You need all the stress busting techniques that you can get. Exercise, exercise, exercise. The endorphins that your brain releases during exercise will help you better manage stress and increase your happiness. Not to mention exercise actually decreases anxiety.

3. Do something for someone else

This my friend is one of my favourites. Do something for someone else. Go out and volunteer. Help a child learn to read, spend time talking with an older person who has limited mobility, assist a new mother with her childcare responsibilities. Better yet, offer to babysit and give her  a time out!

There is so much great research behind this strategy. It’s all about taking the focus off of yourself. When you help someone, – guess what? It is not only the recipient of your help that receives the benefit, but you are in fact more likely to experience a big boost in self-esteem.

You also give your brain a break from ruminating because your focus is on something else. And you get to forget about you for a while (how nice!). When you do start to contemplate your predicament you are usually in a different place. A more objective and positive place because you have stopped the downward spiral from taking you down the rabbit hole. Being generous with your time, energy, and money will contribute to your well-being.

And you will have more energy, enthusiasm and momentum to get back to work looking for a job! These 3 golden nuggets are not only  reserved for those transitioning from school to work. They are great strategies to help at any stage of life and serve to increase happiness, and resilience and decrease stress.

To your success!

Dr. Gill