If you’re stuck in a job you don’t enjoy or struggling to fill the void left by no longer being a student, you may be feeling a little unfulfilled, or as though your life is lacking in some way. But life doesn’t end just because your time at uni has, and you definitely shouldn’t let a job you’ve got to tide you over while you look for something better become the defining element of your life. Try filling your free time with fulfilling activities and ventures. Here are a few suggestions…
- Go travelling: ok, so this is quite an obvious one, but a great thing to do nonetheless. We all know people who have been travelling, and they almost invariably have an amazing time, see & do some amazing things and meet some amazing people. For some of you, travelling will be a scary prospect, but doing things out of your comfort zone can make you feel really good about yourself in the long run. Also, you can make the challenge less daunting by doing a small-scale trip to start with and building up to greater ventures, or by travelling with a friend or as part of a guided tour rather than going it alone.
- Volunteer: doing things for other people is another thing that is known to make people feel good, and volunteering can be fun and rewarding. If your paid job is not something that particularly interests you, you may be able to find volunteering opportunities that suit your interests better. A few examples are coaching a local sports team, paying visits to residents at nursing homes, helping out at children’s centres, participating in the buddying scheme for your Headway branch, or providing support for expedition groups at your local Duke of Edinburgh open access centre.
- Make the most of your hobby: if you don’t have one, get one! Hobbies are great as they often help us to develop a skill and sometimes improve physical fitness, as well as giving us some much needed escape from the humdrum of everyday life. Try to incorporate your hobby as much as possible into other aspects of your life; for instance, if you enjoy cycling, cycle to work to make the work day more enjoyable; if you enjoy writing, try to get work as a freelance writer to earn some extra money; look for volunteering opportunities that utilise your hobby, and so on.
- Take an adult learning course: this is definitely a good one if you’re missing the intellectual stimulation of being a student. For some people, the thought of going back into studying is horrifying, but for some people it’ll be just what you need to fill that little gap in your life that needs filling! As well as giving you something productive to do and allowing you to learn something new, taking a course might well give you just the boost to your CV needed to get that dream job.
- Don’t let your job be your life: Even if you’re feeling really stressed or down, make sure you continue to have a social life on top of work. Spend time with friends and family and do the things you enjoy. Make sure you switch off from work when you’re not there. Some ways of doing this could include some of the things already mentioned above, as well as attending mindfulness meditation sessions (which involves learning how to focus on the present moment), going for walks and enjoying nature, or reading books to escape from reality for a while and boost that brain health!
- Take Pilates or Yoga classes: not only will these help you to improve your fitness and flexibility, but they are also incredibly relaxing. These types of exercise also improve your posture. Bad posture is often the result of a lot of computer work, and the cause of aches and pains in the neck, back and shoulders. So, improving your posture can in turn help to get rid of those aches and pains, and generally make you feel fitter and healthier.