one girl’s guide to surviving unemployment

put down the donut and get off the couch

For the first three weeks of my unemployment, I was a complete and total couch potato.  It was when I put on my interview suit — and pooked out of the top of my pants — that I knew that my lethargy and comfort eating was starting to catch up with me.  So I got off the couch, got on the bike and didn’t look back.

Look, this isn’t an exercise blog.  And I’m the *last* person to preach about health and fitness.  My point is that unemployment isn’t an excuse to let yourself go.  From a purely economic perspective, now is not the time to invest in a new wardrobe for those important interviews.  

The good news here is that you also don’t need to invest in a fancy gym to stay fit.  Here are some cheap — or free! — strategies that are working to keep my energy up and my size stable.

  1. Go for a walk.  Set aside 30 minutes a day and get outside.  Go around the block a dozen times if that’s what works for you.  If you’re feeling more adventurous, check out some great walking resources online.  Many cities and regions offer local walking maps online.  Better yet?  Find an unemployed friend, family member or neighbor to go with you.  Start a walking group at your church, temple or school.  Post a flyer at your library.  Keeping a date with someone else will help you to stay on track.
  2. The same goes for riding a bike, if you have one.  If not, ask friends and family if you can borrow theirs.  Keep your eyes out for one at a garage sale.  Similar to walking maps, there are awesome trail maps and local routes online that show bike-friendly paths.
  3. Too cold, hot, polleny, unsafe, whatever to go outside?  Pick up a fitness DVD at your local library or garage sale and borrow some from friends.  If you’ve always wanted to try yoga, kickboxing, salsa aerobics?  This is a low investment way to keep you entertained and challenged.
  4. Free gym in your apartment or condo building?  Use it.  Do your friends have a free gym in their building (either at home or work)?  Ask to tag along.  Two benefits here – you’re getting some exercise AND hanging out with your friends for free.
  5. Check your local TV listings.  There are still some darn good fitness programs on television.  If you have cable, there are a ton of options.  If not,  your public TV station usually runs one or two exercise shows a day.
  6. Blast some loud, fun music of your choice and boogie around your house.  No one is watching, so don’t worry about the moves. Just have fun!
  7. Do you or your kids have a jump rope?  Jumping rope is a great, cheap, heart-pounding workout.  Combine it with some crunches and arm work (lift cans, dead weigh lifts with a chair, push ups, tricep dips on your couch . . . you get it).
  8. Grab an exercise book at the library.  Some good ones?  Bottom’s Up by  Joyce Vedral,  Making the Cut by Jillian Michaels   or  The Real Age Workout by Dr. Roizen.  There are many, many more out there.      
  9. If you’re in good enough financial circumstances to get a gym membership, make sure you’re getting your money’s worth and go.  Check out your local Y or JCC; they’re often cheaper alternatives to traditional gyms.  In addition, many Ys, JCCs and gym chains run off-peak memberships at a discount.  Sure, you can’t go at 6:00 in the evening.  But as you likely have some time on your hands, this shouldn’t be an issue.
  10. Into tennis, soccer or outdoor sports?  Go to your local park and play.  Whether it’s a pick-up game, playing with a friend or simply doing drills by yourself, it’s a good — and free — chance to get moving.

Also, it goes without saying, but eat good food and drink plenty of water.  

Your interview suits will thank you!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks


  1. * kasey says:

    Regarding free exercise resources, I just found out about, which offers free 20 minute yoga practices. For those into yoga, Yoga Journal’s web site has a number of free practice guides as well. Finally, I have heard, though not verified, that YouTube has a number of free videos as well. It might involve some sorting the wheat from the chaff, but it could be worth it.

    As a side note, has a great free program that allows you to write down and track your exercise and dietary goals. Calorie counting can help clue you in to harmful stress eating. As always, thanks for a great post!

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 2 months ago
    • * unemployedhipster says:

      I forgot about Livestrong! Great, free resource for tracking calories in and calories out. Thanks, Kasey!

      | Reply Posted 9 years, 2 months ago

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: