What are the cheapest activities to do in between jobs? Given the global recession and the downfall of the economy we all witness, it’s hard enough to get another job, if you sadly count yourself among the recently unemployed, let alone think about picking up new hobbies or engage in fun activities.
Even if the data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show some improvements, or better yet, some steadiness in the unemployment rates, we are not completely out of the woods. For fresh college graduates or young professionals who are at the starting point of their career building, things can be easier, as there are plenty of summer jobs they can enroll for, internships, company programs or freelance job opportunities that can suit their needs until the job of their life comes along. But how about being in your thirties and facing a long summer of unemployment?
For the sake of the argument, let’s presume you’re not on the brink of bankruptcy, although few people can afford a “Sabbatical” Year, to spend their money on fulfilling all of their dreams and passions. Not having a job implies a lot of stress, a lot of tension and can lead to depression. A study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology showed that unemployment is a significant risk factor for developing clinical depression or psychological signs that are associated with this condition, even in a male population which never showed risks of vulnerability before.
Also, specialists recommend people who face unemployment to engage in some activities that not only keep their lives and minds busy, but also boost their self-esteem and confidence in their own strengths. So you’re unemployed and need some activities to fill in your time besides going to interviews. Today we will talk about the cheapest activities to do in between jobs.
10 Cheapest Activities To Do In Between Jobs
This may be the cheapest activity of them all. Remember that book you started on your last business trip and never quite got the chance to finish because of looming deadlines and pressing matters to deal with? Take the time to read it all, and then another, and another.
Reading is essential to keeping a healthy mind, and it will help put you in that chill mood you’ve been longing for during those hellish office hours. Having a lot of options to even buy a lot of cheap books, as online stores can get you everything you want at the lowest possible prices, you can even start reading some self-help books or some from your professional field of expertise or interest.
Two weeks of vacation per year are barely enough to cover all the cool places you wanted to visit, but now you have enough time to take that one-month hiking trip in the mountains that you’ve always dreamed of. Some people left their jobs and turned globetrotting into a lifestyle, so check your options with a travel agency or set up a plan by yourself, gather some friends willing to accompany you and go for it.
You don’t need to spend your time in luxurious hotels, have dinner in restaurants or book flights. As long as you have cars, trains, buses and an adventurous spirit, pack your backpack and take some mountain gear and outfit and start taking a journey. For instance, natural parks, waterfalls, canyons, mountain peaks, deserts and a lot of strange natural beauties await for your visit. If you check the possibility to document your travels and get paid for what you write, you can have the career of your lifetime right under your nose!
3. Remember your friends
Go out with your close friends or even with those you barely saw in the last years. Those people you estranged because you were too busy pitching a sale or writing endless lines of code really miss you! Get back in touch; let them know you’re alive and that the corporate world hasn’t killed your sense of fun.There is a close relationship between unemployment and social exclusion and you want to have control over matters until your next job.
It’ll be great to rekindle old friendships and make up for lost time. Remember that people are the best, closest and most important resource on this planet. Being unemployed doesn’t mean you have the plague. Go out with them, talk to them, listen to their own problems regarding their jobs, their perspectives and their opportunities. You may never know where the new job comes from and hearing others speaking the same language as you will make it easier for you to cross this bridge.
4. Get cultural
Get up to date with movies and TV shows you’ve missed. Set a theme and have a movie marathon, or watch an entire collection of your favorite shows. These are things you definitely won’t have time to do when you go back to work, so make the most of your free time and do them.
Above-mentioned friends also come in handy for this! Also, do some things you seldom did while employed. Visit an art gallery, even if you’re not so much into art, it’s one of the cheapest activities to do in between jobs. Go to a museum, visit a place you almost forgot you wanted to see for so long. Attend a theater play or a concert. Some of these may be expensive, but you as well can find free or low priced cultural activities that fit your taste. The point to all this is to keep you interested, challenged and motivated to do something new. You may have liked it or not, but when your future employer asks if you are updated to the events and the social life around you, you may answer an honest “yes.”
5. Engage in sports
Maybe you were a fan of physical activity while still having a job, but now it’s the time to give things a serious thought. What better way to get rid of those extra pounds you added by sitting at a computer the entire day? Any sport you like will do, and before you know it, you’ll be relaxed and in better shape.
Find a free basketball court and gather up a team with some buddies or others who happen to be around. A team sports build so many personal features, that you’d be surprised how many of them apply to working in an office and in a team. Build your confidence and your self-esteem making notes on your progress on running or cycling. The endorphins your body secretes while enduring a physical activity won’t let depression install its dark reign over you. Playing ball is not only among the cheapest activities you can do in between jobs, but one of the healthiest. This article on exercise, physical activity, and exertion over the business cycle will give you a clearer perspective on things.
6. Remember your hobbies
Go back to doing things you’ve abandoned for lack of time. That old guitar collecting dust in a corner, the drum kit in your garage, the beat-up Charger you always wanted to take apart and restore – now is the time to follow your passions and rediscover hobbies you haven’t touched in ages. You are aware of the fact that almost any CV ends with a “Hobbies” section. Why do you think employing companies, recruiting officers and professional HR services, they are all interested in your after-work hobbies?
Because they say something about you, they show a fragment of your interests and ambitions and, at some point, they can be monetized. If you write let’s say “blogging” in your Hobbies section, and you are really into high quality blogging, how long before your future employer comes with a new project of handling you a new social media or SEO project? Nobody says you should create your own rock band, not that you are unemployed, but look at your hobbies, embrace them and think about conversion rates. Here is an article from the Wall Street Journal that will give you some deeper hints on the issue.
7. Do stuff around the house
Build that tool shed, give your living room a cheap make-over, clean up the attic; doing work around the house can be very relaxing, plus at the end of the day there’s the satisfaction of seeing something you made with your own hands – not something that happens very often in an office environment. Interested in some DIY projects? You can find thousands online.
Maybe you’ll come up with some very original hand-made products, as in jewelry, home decorations, hand-made furniture or home accessories that one day can turn into a real business, an online store, who knows, maybe your own small company. If you’re good with your hands and you have some imagination, don’t waste too much time. There are success stories out there you can get inspired from and as interior design trends go this year, apparently wall stickers are in fashion.
8. Rest responsibly
If you ever saw some movies with unemployed people lurking around the house in their underwear, sipping loads of beer, zapping the TV and basically living among huge piles of food wrappings and thought about them “what a loser!”, this means resting is cheap and sleep is necessary, but don’t overdue them, even if you’re drawn to these cheapest activities to do between jobs. They’re dangerous without control.
Get acquainted with the concept of “active rest” and try practicing its principles. They usually refer to practicing some types of exercises between the major groups (if you’re into bodybuilding or you follow a fitness program), but applied to your particular situation, they may also mean to rest while not getting completely numb by PC gaming. Moan your loan or catch up with your gardening, if you happen to own a house and some land. If you’re the master of your apartment, make yourself a plan of cheap and fun redecorating the house (the DIY ideas mentioned above might come in handy). Between two fun articles on social media platforms, read some business related ones. Between two naps, do your laundry.
9. Become your own personal project
You always wanted to research an interesting subject, but didn’t have the time. Now you have it. Use your unemployed situation to your own benefit. Search the market for its trends in economy and build yourself a professional portfolio, according to employers’ requirements. Update and polish your resume. You’re free now, but the time will come when you need to apply for jobs again. Hey, you will need a lot of documents even if you file for unemployment, so start working. Consider this a form of active rest if you like.
Make sure your CV contains all the relevant information and that it looks visually appealing. Find out about the functional CV as compared to the traditional one and even build your own website, if you have some professional achievements you want to show off.
Blog about subjects of interest and of expertise to you, exchange information with other bloggers, connect to social media and present yourself as a promising professional that is not just “in between jobs” but a professional looking for something challenging. Follow a certified training course to add up new skills and knowledge and even change your working field altogether. You don’t even have to buy a web site or a blogging template and you don’t have to pay extensive sums of money to get a new qualification. Free resources are just a click away.
Photo Credit Jobmob
Pick a cause you believe in and give it a try. You might find real pleasure and satisfaction in giving old people a hand and some fun moments in a nursing home, help some hospitalized children to overcome fears and anxiety, save some animals and get involved in animal rescue causes, apply for volunteering programs of teaching other people who are so unfortunate they can’t even pay for an education, collect garbage or plant trees. Volunteer programs are the cheapest activities to do between jobs besides making a contribution to the greater good.
Volunteering is not just a way to pass time, nor a redemption program. It is an activity that will do you a lot of good, make you feel awesome about yourself, more tolerant and aware of other people’s problems, more open to getting involved. You will learn team work, compromise, hard work, satisfaction, success and failure and, most importantly, you will meet new people.
In many NGO’s all over the world, the best and most respected of their employees were recruited among volunteers. What if you don’t know how to talk to a child or you are afraid of dogs? Volunteer for your accountant skills, IT skills, mechanical, driving, engineering, medical or even cooking skills. Who knows if you won’t be that organization’s next logistical officer?
What other cheapest activities to do in between jobs do you know? Do you have other ideas? What’s your favorite among all?