The unemployed are suffering from more than a lack of income. Other ugly side effects of not having a job when you want one, and make the effort to get one but can’t fine one, are stress, anxiety, and depression. A recent Gallup poll on the wellbeing of the employed versus the underemployed (Gallup defines underemployed as “the unemployed or employed part-time but wanting full-time work) shows that the unemployed experience the emotions of worry, sadness, stress and anger on a daily basis at a higher rate than the employed.
It’s easy to find yourself feeling lost. Regional labor economist Scott Bailey sums it up nicely in this article from The Columbian when he says “it sort of sets people adrift when they lose that hope of having what they view as a respectable life.”
How does one avoid feeling adrift? This is also where the lack of income comes into play. What can you do when you’re unemployed to keep your spirits high even when you can’t afford to do much?
Here is a list of fun things even the unemployed can afford to do:
- Workout! It’s is popular wisdom that working out relieves stress. Yes, gyms can be pricey, but walking and running are still free. This yoga studio in Harlem has a few “donation” classes a week and all proceeds go to charity. Popular fitness apparel retailers Lululemon Athletica lead free yoga classes in some NYC parks and their own retail locations.
- Visit a local museum: This is a great way to give your brain some stimulation. Many museums in New York City are free or only require a “suggested donation,” meaning they can ask you for $20 to get in, but you can give them $1 or even a quarter and be admitted. Two popular examples are the American Museum of Natural History and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
- Find a hobby: Did you love to draw but stop doing it after high school? Maybe you used to read a lot of a particular genre and haven’t done it in a while. Now is a good time to pick it up again. Can’t make up your mind of what to do? This list might prove helpful in coming up with an idea.
- Make use of your local library: Not only can you borrow free books, most libraries also have movies you can borrow. And if that isn’t enough some have classes or groups you can join to learn new skills or meet new people.
- Volunteer: Volunteering can sometimes lead to work. Helping charities could also make you feel needed. But there are other kinds of volunteering available too. Non-profit arts groups, like this indie film festival Rooftop Films, rely heavily on volunteers who are then invited to enjoy the movies and drink the sponsored beverages.
- Have a night out: You might be asking yourself, “how?” There are loads of fun resources online that can help you find things to do that don’t cost much, but one of my favorites is myopenbar.com which helps you find free drinks so you can socialize like someone with some money in their wallet.
You might be able to make the most of this time. But above all, remember this.