Trying to manage a full time job and a social life can be a real challenge. Seriously. We know that we can’t do it all, but we want to try, right?
What’s even worse, is that the new jobs we’re starting rarely pay what we expected or need them to. It seems impossible to make rent and pay off those student loans that keep piling up, not to mention doing anything outside of eating ramen alone in your room. Those young women in movies who struggle to have it all are nothing more than idealizations written in a script, but we can have our own varieties of perfection in the real world.
I started to work full time right after graduation, not even enough time to go to all of my friends graduation parties!! The transition from college to post-grad work life is rough, especially if you’re living in a new area and don’t have too much money to spare for your entertainment. If you try to have a few small (cheap or free) things to bring joy into your schedule, it can make a world of difference!
Here’s some tips for trying to get yourself back out there to be a sane socialite without going broke!
1. Look for a local pub or restaurant that has trivia nights, karaoke, happy hour specials, author readings, or local bands playing! Usually these are free, you only pay for what you drink!
2. Start keeping a small jar of cash that you just add a few dollars to every week. You never know when you’re going to need some emergency cash, but even better, when you don’t have to use it to fix your car or pay a bill, you can use it for a day trip! Go get together a nice picnic, go buy that pint of ice cream and new movie or book. You deserve it!
3. When the weather’s nice, parks and beaches often have free concerts, and you never know what festivals are going to be around. There are always fun vendors and sites to see and enjoy a day to yourself or with a group of friends!
4. Join a local community board on Facebook, and find blogs of the area’s local community events. You never know when somebody will post about a bookcase for sale, a need for a pet sitter (some extra money for that jar!), or when the local farmers markets or concerts will be.
5. Join a book group, knitting group, running or hiking club. Ask at your local library or bookstore if they have any groups or tutorial days to give you a fun new activity to try on your own at home, or visit to meet some new people.
6. Talk with coworkers about their social interests. You never know who is around that likes the same video game or author as you and lead you to new activities.
7. Take a weekend to visit home or friends. It’s better to make a short weekend trip every couple months, than wait until you’re going crazy and are desperate to see people! Try to plan it around a festival or concert, that way you can really plan what you will be doing and not miss out on something fun.
8. Walk. Just go for a walk around the main street of your town or your block, especially if you’re new. You never know when you’re going to find that cute coffee shop or fun neighbor (Plus, it’s exercise. We all need more exercise) !
9. Be adventurous! Find a new restaurant or ethnic food to visit. A lot of health food store and farmers markets will be opening for the summer and are a great time to explore the local food grown and delivered to your area! A new trend is food carts, some areas even have a park dedicated to the wonders of the food carts vendors!!
10. Most importantly, just relax. Not every day will be perfect or go just as you want it to, but the days that you do get out there and do something that isn’t stressful and work related, those days are totally worth it.