Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is challenging and it is often even more difficult when you are unemployed. A gym membership may be off the table, and making the McDonald's dollar menu part of your daily routine can be very tempting. So how do you keep working out, eating well, and attending to your mental health with a waning bank account balance and no job?
1. Make Your Home Your Gym
There are many free or cheap apps, such as Nike Training Club and Pocket Yoga, that provide home-friendly workouts that you can do in your living room, including yoga, cardio, strength training and more. If you have a Netflix or Amazon Prime account, check out the many workout videos they offer. Use an app like MyFitnessPal (which has a great free version) to keep yourself on track.
Interested in customizing your own personal wellness program? Click here for resources and tips!
2. Enjoy the Great Outdoors
Join a neighborhood jogging group or start your own bootcamp-style workout regimen in the park down the street. If you're near the mountains, take to the hiking trails. Getting outside is not only good for your physical health, but for your mental health, too.
3. Don't Assume Unhealthy Food is Cheaper
Often fast food and pre-made or frozen meals seem cheap, but when you do the math, they can be much more expensive. This is without considering the cost to your health! You can still eat healthily on a budget.
4. Find the Good Deals
Some grocery and nutrition stores have better deals on certain days of the week, or will intermittently have big sales on items like vitamins. Find out when your local store has sales and then stock up. Nonperishables and items you can freeze will keep for a while, and you won't end up having to buy them at full cost.
5. Join a Community Garden Co-p
Often, you can exchange some enjoyable hours spent toiling in the green house or garden for your share of organic, nutrient-rich vegetables throughout the summer.
6. Start Couponing
Get out those scissors and start cutting away. Couponing takes some time and effort, but you can save a lot of money each time you check out at the grocery store. If you don't like the thought of keeping a coupon folder, use a coupon app like Ibotta.
7. Use Reusable Shopping Bags
Every cent matters and a lot of grocery stores have started providing bag credits to people who bring their own. Plus, you'll be doing your part for the environment!
8. Make New Friends
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Make sure to continue interacting with people (and building your network!) by joining a book club or going to local networking events. You might even meet the person who will help you find your next job.
9. Tap Into Your Spiritual Self
Unemployment can be draining and it sends many people into a spiral of depression. Some yoga studios offer free community yoga and meditation classes once a week, which can help you reset and remember what is truly important to you. If meditation isn't for you, then try volunteering. Nothing is better at making you feel good than helping someone else.
And be sure to check out these 6 tips for boosting personal wellness - without breaking a sweat!
10. Stay in the Game
You don't have a full-time job, but you do have valuable skills. Find some freelance or contract work while you search for steady employment. This will give your resume a boost and keep you feeling productive.
Are you a recent graduate? Check out these tips to coping with unemployment after college!
11. Stay Insured
Insurance can be expensive, but it is nothing compared to the cost of medical care for many common ailments when you don't have coverage. While unemployed, you have a couple options.
First, if you had employer-sponsored insurance before you became unemployed, you may be eligible for COBRA.
If you aren't eligible, or if COBRA doesn't meet your needs, short-term health insurance is another great option while you look for your next job.
Keep in mind that short-term plans are not compliant with the Affordable Care Act, which means you will still owe a fee (to be paid when you file your annual taxes) if you go without ACA-compliant coverage for more than two consecutive months out of the year.