Hooray now it’s time for fun things you can do while unemployed! Personally, it always annoyed me when people would make comments like, “If I weren’t working, I’d become really good at cooking” or “If I didn’t have to work, I’d build things.” I’m going to go ahead and say that the grass is always greener, my employed friends. When you’re unemployed, you focus a majority of your time and energy searching for employment. You don’t have tons of free time to master something new just for the hell of it. That’s what retirement is for, or sabbaticals.
However, it is possible to pick up an extra hobby here and there. And for your own sanity, I’d recommend doing a few things for your own enjoyment while unemployed. Need some suggestions for inspiration? I have a few.
Learn something new
Like I’ve said before, the Internet is a wonderful teacher. You can improve upon a life skill, such as cooking, or you could learn how to play an instrument or do basically whatever interests you. I picked up my new skill around Christmas time. Yes, YouTube taught me how to crochet. I thought it was a brilliant idea. Learn to crochet and BAM. Christmas presents taken care of. However I did not factor in how much practice it would take me to become decent at it, or how slow I’d be starting out. It took me over a week to make one hat, so my Christmas plan was foiled. But this year I’ll start early.
You know all of those crafts you’ve pinned but never got around to doing? Well give ’em a try! Most of them involve cost-effective decorating, so you can get artsy and make your apartment look lovely at the same time. Even if you’re not into all of that Pinterest DIY stuff, you can still find something to do that will keep your creativity flowing. Build something, write, sketch… do something that will keep that part of your mind active so you are able to continue pumping out those cover letters and resumes without getting boring. A friend of mine who is a pretty B.A. artist gave me a few painting pointers, so I bought some canvasses, paints and brushes and painted a few pieces of art to hang in our apartment.
Adopt a pet
Obviously, you shouldn’t get a pet just because you’re bored or sick of hanging out by yourself all day. You also shouldn’t get a pet if you can barely afford to feed yourself. But if you know you want a furry friend sometime in your near future and have the means to adopt one, why not do it while unemployed? You’ll be at home and able to give the time and attention all new pets require. Plus, you’ll have something around to cheer you up after a long day of sending resumes into the Internet void. I knew I wanted to get a cat, and my boyfriend thought adopting a kitten should be my reward for getting a job. But I pointed out that it would be smarter do get a cat while someone was home to play with it and prevent it from destroying the house. Honestly, I don’t think Miles could have handled being alone as a kitten. She can barely handle it now as a mature (HA!) 1-year-old.
You have tons of time to work out but can’t afford to join a gym. Perfect! You don’t need a gym to get in shape as long as you have some space outside or even minimal space inside. You could use your extra time to train for a race or just to get fit. Either way, exercise has all sorts of benefits, from giving you more energy to making you feel like you’ve accomplished something. Working out is the perfect way to clear your head, especially before or after interviews. You probably have all sorts of nervous energy built up from the emotional roller coaster that comes with job-hunting; exercising is a great way to de-stress. I trained for a sprint triathlon while I was unemployed. While I didn’t get as much training in as I would have liked to, it still felt great to go for a run after hearing bad news about a position or getting overwhelmed by a lack of job openings.
Enjoy the outdoors
Whatever you end up doing while unemployed, make time to get outside! Soak in some Vitamin D and boost your mood instantly. Enjoying time in the great outdoors can help you clear your head and rethink career goals. I’m lucky enough to be living in Colorado, a state that gets 300 days of sunshine each year and has plenty of beautiful areas to explore. Hiking was always a great way to get outside and put everything into perspective.
Want some ideas for using your free time to increase your chances of getting hired? Check out Things You Should do While Unemployed, Part 1.