Graduating from college and getting a job is a whole new world to navigate. After leaving your parents’ house, and being in college for several years, it’s now time to face the world on your own. It’s an exciting time, and your 20s will be among some of the best years of your life.
Still, it’s always good to have some rules to live by to keep you safe, healthy and happy. Here are 15 post-college rules to live by to help you enjoy your 20s in style.
1. Be nice to everyone
It’s much harder to be rude or mean than it is to simply be nice. Saying hello, giving a smile and being kind to people will get you much further in life than being someone who isn’t a nice person. It’s not always easy, especially when faced with a difficult colleague or a challenging friend, but you’ll sleep better at night knowing you’ve been the bigger person and tried to make someone else’s day.
2. Don’t be a slob
Between work and a busy social life, you probably won’t be home much. But that doesn’t mean that you can live like a pig! Take pride in your living space and keep it clean and tidy. There are some cleaning hacks to follow that can make light work of keeping your apartment or room clean, ideal for when friends and family turn up unexpectedly. A little time spent cleaning up before you go to bed will help you sleep better at night, and will make it easier for you to get ready in the mornings.
3. Get plenty of sleep
Your 20s are your first big chance of freedom, which often means late nights out and full-on weekends as you try to do everything and anything. There is such a thing as burning the candle at both ends, however, so you need to make sure you get plenty of sleep. Learn how to get to sleep at night to help you get your recommended eight hours a night. While it’ll be tempting to sleep through the weekend, try to get up at your usual hour to keep your body clock regular and to stop you wasting your days in bed.
4. Don’t take chances with your health
Living footloose and fancy-free is an attitude that a lot of people take in their 20s, but what they don’t tell you is that there can be consequences to those behaviors. Your health is important, and while you’re fit and healthy now, it might not always be this way. Find out what your contraception options are and always practice safe sex. Keep up your health checks such as the dentist too, they’re easy to forget but they’re your best chance of spotting potentially serious health problems.
Smoking, drinking, and drugs are some of the lifestyle behaviors that can affect your health both now and in the future. The best advice would be to avoid them altogether, but if you are going to drink, do it in moderation and be sensible with how much you drink.
5. Work hard
From the moment you start your first job, it’s important to make an impression. Working hard will help you to stand out, something that will be important when it comes to applying for promotions. Show up on time, be interested and ask questions – those first steps on the career ladder are a great learning curve and an opportunity to soak up as much knowledge as you can. Adopt a strong work ethic and give it your all each time you set foot out the door.
6. Eat healthily
If you’ve never really cooked much for yourself before, your 20s are a good place to start. You can learn to cook healthy meals that will help to balance out all of the takeout, dining out and the junk food you’ll inevitably eat. Stock up your kitchen with some staples that you can use to make different recipes. Cook regularly for yourself to work on your skills, ideal for when you have a date over or you decide to throw a dinner party!
7. Drink plenty of water
Drinking your recommended daily water intake can help to keep you healthy, as well as being the secret to stay looking youthful! You should drink around eight glasses of water a day to stay hydrated, but if it’s hot out or you’ve been working out, you’ll want to up that. When your lips start feeling dry or your head becomes foggy, those are early signs of dehydration, so make sure you keep a bottle of water by your side all day to help you drink enough.
8. Exercise regularly
Your metabolism might be high know, but it won’t always be that way! Staying active can help you maintain a healthy weight, as well as keep you fit. By getting yourself into an active routine now, you’ll develop good habits you can keep up as you get older. Find an exercise you enjoy, such as running, training in the gym or doing classes – whatever keeps you motivated and gets you moving too.
9. Avoid getting into debt
Your 20s is a time for fun, but it’s also important to learn when to say no. It’s easy to get into debt in your 20s as you try to pay for vacations, trips away, a fancy wardrobe as well as endless nights out. There are a lot of money mistakes you’ll want to avoid in your 20s, including getting into debt. Set a budget for yourself and live within your means, you’ll be much better for it in the long run.
On the topic of finances, saving is just as important. Eventually, you’ll want to think about moving to a bigger place, or buying a place of your own, getting married and even retiring early. None of this will be possible unless you learn how to save (or pray for a lottery win!). Even if you only put away small amounts at a time, it all adds up in the end. Learn some tips for saving more money to help you grow your savings even further.
11. Avoid toxic friendships
You’ll meet many people throughout your life, but away from school and college, you’ll start discovering the true meaning of friendship. You’ll encounter many toxic people who can be a negative influence in your life, who you should avoid at all costs. You need to look after yourself, and having people who hold you back or put you down can stop you from achieving your true potential. Build your friendships wisely and make time for the people in your life who are truly worth it.
12. Check in with your family
When you move away from your family, it can be easy enough to forget about back home while you’re having fun elsewhere. But family is important, and you should check in with them as much as you can. Make plans to visit, call and Facetime – your family probably misses you more than they realize, and it’ll make their day (and yours) to have you check in with them!
13. Travel as much as you can
Your 20s are the perfect time to travel, before you settle down with a mortgage to pay and kids! There are so many places to see and so little time to see them in, so travel the world as much as you can. It’s cheaper than ever to travel across the world, and if you’re clever with your cash, you can make your budget go far. Make a wish list of the places you’d like to go and make plans to tick them off!
We spend so much time on our phones and tablets these days that it can be difficult to remember what reading a book is really like. Reading can be a good stress reliever, a nice activity to do before bed to help you get to sleep and it enriches your mind. Try to read every day if you can, it’s a great habit to keep up. Need a reading list? Check out Time Magazine’s 30 books to read before you turn 30.
15. Don’t be afraid to fail
It’s human nature not to want to fail, but it’s important that it’s ok to fail sometimes. From not landing a job interview to making a huge wardrobe mistake, it’s better to take chances than to not try at all. Dusting yourself back off and trying again will be where you grow stronger, and give you some valuable lessons to learn from.
You’ll learn a lot of things in your 20s, but the most important thing is to simply just enjoy them! Adulthood can be a daunting time, but you’ll soon come into your own. Work on being happy, increasing your confidence and building good relationships – everything else will fall into place. You’ll soon find your college days are a bit of a blur, and you can now look forward to the next exciting chapter of your life.