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Unemployment Tips: Fun Productive Ways to Spend Your Time

Unemployment Tips: Fun Productive Ways to Spend Your Time

Make the most of this time

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Unexpected unemployment and surprise furloughs have affected millions of Americans across the U.S. And although the unemployment rate decreased in September, there are still 12.6 million Americans searching for work. 

If you’re unemployed and spending day in and day out job hunting, it’s important to remember that taking time for yourself doesn’t mean you’re slacking. In fact, there are certain hobbies you can enjoy that are entertaining and that also boost useful skills. Here are some fun, productive ways to spend your time while searching for the work you want.

Learn a new language

Learn a new language

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Learning a new language has been shown to improve memory and increase the ability to multitask — two resume-building skills employers are looking for. So while you’re having fun and learning something new, you’ll also be making yourself a marketable candidate any employer would be lucky to have. So download an app, sign up for an online course or pull out your old school notes.

Take an online course

Take an online course

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The smartest and most effective leaders are also lifelong learners, according to Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership. There are numerous cool online classes you can take right now to continue learning and growing.

Learn to play a new instrument

Learn to play a new instrument

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Online classes and apps have made it easier than ever to learn how to play your favorite songs from the comfort of your home. Dust off that instrument in your garage or invest in a used one and start playing.

Learn to code

Learn to code

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Computer programming is one of the highest-paying jobs that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree, and application software developers are one of the fastest-growing jobs in America.  You can still get a leg up with these skills in the job world even if you aren't pursuing these exact positions. Choose a computer language you’d like to learn, like HTML or CSS, enroll in online courses and order a few books to get started.

Learn to sew

Learn to sew

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You might consider sewing to be a trick your grandmother knew, but it’s a practical skill that comes in handy whether you need to mend a hole in your socks or you want to make a custom outfit. And with winter around the corner, now is the perfect time to learn how to create gloves, hats or scarves that will protect your skin during harsh weather.

Figure out your finances

Figure out your finances

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Unless you have a passion for finance, managing your budget and spending habits can be tedious. But figuring out your finances is a great way to establish healthy spending habits and save for rainy days. Create a budget and set aside money to reach your future financial goals.

Deep clean

Deep clean

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Cleaning is a tedious chore, but the longer you wait, the dirtier things get. If you’ve been meaning to scrub your oven or declutter your closet, consider deep-cleaning your home. Work like a pro and clean from top to bottom, and don’t forget the small things like your pillows and the bathroom rug.

Go for daily walks

Go for daily walks

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Even if you have a busy schedule, it’s essential to stay active. Taking a walk is the perfect way to improve both your mental and physical health. Daily walks have been shown to reduce stress, boost creativity and more.

Go hiking

Go hiking

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If walking sounds like, well, a walk in the park, up your game and go hiking instead. If you don’t know where to start, there are plenty of scenic hiking trails in America’s national parks for beginners. Who knows what new natural wonder you might encounter?

Bake

Bake

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Whether you’re a home cook in need of a few new baking tips or a seasoned baker, baking is a fun, useful skill that also makes for a delicious break from job applications. Bake gooey homemade cookies, or leave everyone’s mouth watering with these impressive dessert recipes.

Brush up on your cooking skills

Brush up on your cooking skills

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More time on your hands means more time to master your cooking skills. Get your chili recipes ready for cold winter nights, make burgers better than the restaurants’ or perfect a classic meatloaf recipe.

Volunteer

Volunteer

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Whether it’s tutoring students adjusting to new school models or picking up groceries for the elderly, volunteer for a cause you’re passionate about. Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community, and it can help you discover new career paths and opportunities as well.

Foster a pet

Foster a pet

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During the coronavirus pandemic, animal shelters saw an uptick in fostering. Join the pack and foster a furry friend to keep you company. Unlike adopting, fostering a dog or cat means bringing a temporary pet into your life, so it’s less of a long-term commitment but with just as much love. 

Reconnect with friends and family

Reconnect with friends and family

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Whether it be through video calls or virtual game nights, the coronavirus pandemic forced us all to invent creative ways to stay in touch with friends and family. Keep the momentum going by reconnecting with friends and family during your free time. Instead of sending text messages, give them a call. Plan virtual movie nights or a small dinner with those closest to you.

Become a penpal with a senior citizen

Become a penpal with a senior citizen

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Many retirement and assisted living communities are still refusing to allow regular visitors for the safety of their community. Grabbing a pen and paper and writing someone at the facility is an act of kindness that will brighten someone’s day.

Start a garden

Start a garden

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No matter what season you’re unemployed in, it’s a great time to get your hands dirty and start the plant, flower or vegetable garden of your dreams. Start an indoor garden with some basic herbs and plants, or follow these gardening tips for beginners if you have no idea where to begin.

Paint

Paint

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You don’t have to be Bob Ross to experience the joys of painting. Pick up a paintbrush — or your fingers if you plan to finger paint — and let your imagination run wild. If you’re spending time indoors with your loved ones, get everyone involved — painting is also an excellent activity for the entire family.

Catch up on your favorite TV shows and movies

Catch up on your favorite TV shows and movies

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Learning new skills and staying active are great ways to spend your time, but don’t beat yourself up for needing a day to unplug, relax and catch up on the TV shows and movies you’ve been missing. If you’re a fan of horror, watch the most popular Halloween movies. If you need something cheerful, consider these popular feel-good TV shows. Whatever it may be, pop some popcorn and treat yourself.

Watch documentaries

Watch documentaries

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Among their collections of TV shows and films, Netflix, Hulu and other platforms have a large collection of documentaries. Stay informed about the world around you by learning about science, tech and the world of business, or satisfy your true crime craving with a crime documentary.

Read a book

Read a book

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If you have a stack of books gathering dust in the corner of your room, spend your free time getting lost in a book and discovering new — or old — worlds. If finding fun, new productive ways to spend your time isn’t enough to energize your job search, here are tips for reigniting your passion while unemployed.

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