7 Ways To Maintain Your Independence When Moving Back Home
First and foremost, don’t feel as though you are obligated to be embarrassed or ashamed for living at home after college. I mean, isn’t it more embarrassing if you choose to get your own place right after school with thousands of debt, possibly no job, and overall confusion about what you really want? For me, living at home is all about getting most of your shit together before making your next move (figuratively and literally). Those friends of mine who have the means to get their shit together while living at their own place is amazing and I wish that was me, but it isn’t. Here is some advice that I begrudgingly been gifted on how to stay sane while living at home post-college.
1. Set boundaries
Make it clear you want to be treated like an adult, and hold yourself to those standards. You have to hold yourself accountable because you cannot go from asking for space in the house to asking mom, “what’s for dinner?” It doesn’t have to be an awkward sit-down talk, you can casually bring up your boundaries next time they cross one. I do this to be more independent and to remind my parents that I do not intend on getting too comfortable living at home.
2. Take walks after work
I love my parents but seeing them every day before and after work becomes suffocating and can turn you into an angsty teenager. If you’re like me, you just want space after work, you don’t want to make small talk about your day just yet. Take a walk to relax, or better yet, squeeze in a full workout after work to clear your head and get space. This will put you in a better mood for the evening.
3. Fill your calendar
A lot of times you feel stuck at home because your friends aren’t 2 doors down anymore. It’s easy to get bored and feel sorry for yourself, so instead, use that time to make plans with friends, family, or do something yourself. When you fill your calendar, make it a priority to try new things! Living at home can bottle you up in a routine, but trying new things can add diversity in your life, a chance to meet new people, and discover a new hobby.
4. Focus on your financial future
Get knowledgeable with your finances. TFD has been such a great asset! This means taking the time to create a solid budget, landing a side hustle, open up a savings account, understand your loans and how you can pay them off quicker, etc. These icky tasks can be much more overwhelming to deal with if you’re on your own after college. So get it all figured out now so you can be comfortable in the future. (Side note: since I do not pay rent at home, the money that I would most likely spend on rent in my city is the extra amount I pay towards my student loans — and then some.)
5. Buy & cook your own food
Another huge perk about living at home is that the fridge is usually stocked by your parent(s) so you eat whatever you want. But this can spiral out of control consequently losing your “adult” boundaries that you set in the first place. Start by planning at least three dinners for yourself a week and buying all the ingredients for it. And I mean a real dinner, not pizza rolls or chicken nuggets. This will get you in the habit of cooking like an adult so you’ll already be acclimated to cooking healthy meals once you move out. Not to mention, you’ll understand your grocery budget better.
6. Remember you’re not the only one
I struggled with the feeling that I was somehow behind, that I was alone in this experience of living at home. In reality, sooo many people are doing it, but of course, nobody is parading it around in conversation or, more so, social media. The friends that are showing off their hip, new apartment are not the norm. Do not feel like you have to rush to get out of your house as soon as possible, because once you’re out, you’re out. The timeline for moving out, getting engaged, landing your dream job is all on a socially constructed timeline that we are conditioned to follow. So please, do not feel like you are digressing. Keep that post-college momentum going and stay motivated and focused on your dreams!
7. Learn to become happier
If you think that moving out will magically make you happier, it won’t. In fact, you’ll just encounter different obstacles — no matter the life stage. The, “If I just had this” mentality is a recipe for disaster. Be grateful and happy with your life now. Appreciate the friends that care to keep in contact with you, the family that is supportive, and the little things like a warm cup of coffee or tea on a Sunday morning. You truly have the power to change your mind for the better!
Don’t let living at home burden you or trick you into thinking you aren’t good enough for your dreams. Stay grateful, positive, and the ambitious person you are!
Dana is an e-commerce & digital marketing specialist from the Chicagoland area. They come from a low-income family but are determined to not let that stop them from reaching their potential. Dana is fueled by passion, the love of family & friends, and the occasional cup of coffee.
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