I know it can be tough to live without a job. I recently moved to a new city and went through the dreaded “job search slash figuring out what to do with my free time slash not driving myself crazy not working or not attending school.”

While it may be tempting to wallow in self-pity and frustration (let’s face it, job hunting is not easy for anyone), there are some constructive things you can do with your time in between jobs. Getting busy will make the time pass more quickly, plus you might learn a few things about yourself in the process. Here’s our list of 20 ways to use your time if you’re waiting for your next job:

1. Volunteer.

Not only will you feel more productive and all around good for giving something to others, you never know what kinds of opportunities could come out of a volunteer experience. The organization you are working for might have a position open up, or the contacts you meet might be able to point you in the right direction.

2. Start a blog.

Chances are you have something to say, so why not share your thoughts with the world via the internet? I started a blog over three years ago and it was immensely helpful for getting my feelings out while I was unemployed. I was also comforted by the readers’ kind words on days when I was feeling lonely in a new city.

3. Make a bucket list.

Are you approaching any major birthdays? If so, you can always make a list of things you want to do before you are ‘X’ age. Planning on moving soon? List out things you want to do before you move to your new city or state! I am only planning on being in my new city a couple of years, so I am working on a list of things to do while I live here. Once you have your list, share it with family and friends and start checking items off!

4. Begin a new exercise program.

Get some endorphins going to fight depression and boost energy in your time of unemployment.

5. Sign up for a race.

Nothing gets me motivated (or fills up more time in my life) than training for a race. This will help give you purpose and boost your confidence once you cross that finish line.

6. Spend time with family and friends.

It is easy to get too busy and forget to spend time with the ones you love. Take this opportunity to reconnect with people and build up relationships.

7. Start couponing.

This is something I have always wanted to try but could not imagine taking the time sitting out with papers and scissors … but when you are low on money and high on time, this is something you might want to consider.

8. Cook from scratch.

Something that will save you money, but takes a bit more time, is cooking from scratch. Google some fun recipes and learn something new in the kitchen!

9. Get outdoors.

Exercise, fresh air and vitamin D all help fight the depression that may be looming over your head in your state of unemployment.

10. Read a book.

Perhaps you have a book or two that you have been meaning to read but never had the time. Now you do!

11. Take a class.

Most classes are held during the day, a time when most people are typically at work. Since you do not have to worry about that, find a class that will inspire you.

12. Travel.

If you have some savings, consider traveling during your time of unemployment. Seeing new things, meeting new people and overall widening your horizons will benefit you no matter what stage of life you are in.

13. Make a list of your strengths and passions.

Maybe you are not quite sure what your next employment venture should be. Making a list can help you focus on what you are good at and what you enjoy doing. Somewhere in those lists you should be able to find an occupation that would suit you.

14. Set up practice interviews.

This can help you gain confidence in the interviews for jobs you actually want.

15. Learn to play an instrument.

There are many music stores that offer lessons and even used instruments that you can buy for a good price.

16. Play a video game.

They are actually a whole lot more beneficial than you think!

17. Build something.

My boyfriend said this is the first thing he would do if he were unemployed and I believe him. It does not have to be a large structure — maybe a bookcase you have been meaning to buy can instead be built in your free time.

18. Pick up a hobby.

Whether it be learning to shoot pool or how to crochet, make sure to keep your mind engaged during this period of unemployment.

19. Relax.

Think of this time off in a positive light. You now have time to kick back and relax!

20. Lastly, do not give up your job search.

Set a goal of the number of jobs and/or interviews you want to do each week and try to stick to it. It is great and refreshing to take some time off from the working world; however, you should also remember the likely need of a job in your near future!

Try to be positive and productive in your time of unemployment. Use this period in your life to learn new things, think about your life and to build relationships. Something good will come of this time in between jobs!

Most people believe that the job interview is the last bastion before either getting a job or not getting a job, but that may not be necessarily true. What are the Best Interview Follow-up Emails?

Featured photo credit: Job seeking concept, newspaper page on the treevia Shutterstock

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