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10 Cheap Or Free Self-Care Things To Do When You're Unemployed

Unemployment can be stressful, but there are things you can do to lighten the load.

Just about every adult will experience unemployment at some point in their life. But even though it's super common, it's still incredibly stressful. Here are a few simple and affordable things to do for self-care.

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1. Learn some and laugh some by subscribing to informative and entertaining podcasts.

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The world of podcasts is so incredibly vast! Subscribe to a few that offer advice or encouragement on job hunting, or things you should know about your desired career industry. And subscribe to some that are simply for your own enjoyment. It's really important that you do things that bring you joy!

2. Set a schedule, and stick to it.

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Part of taking care of your self is making your life easier, and setting a schedule will definitely make your day-to-day run smoother. In a planner or digital calendar, map out things you need to do, like updating your resume, applying for jobs, grocery shopping, etc. Even factor in those important things like eating breakfast so that you don't forget. And most importantly, don't forget to give yourself time off. Figure out when you're going to wrap each day so that you're able to recharge and give it your all again the next day.

3. Get that heart rate up and those stress levels down with a good workout.

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Nothing relieves stress like a good ol' fashioned sweat. Go for a walk or follow along with a fitness trainer from the comfort of your living room. There are also tons of fitness apps you can download to your device so that you have a curated exercise routine for every day.

4. Stock up on inexpensive foods that stretch, like pasta and beans, and have some fun in the kitchen.

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Get the most out of your dollars and your meals by shopping for groceries that go a long way. Think pasta, rice, beans, and so on. It's a great opportunity to experiment and have a lot of fun in the kitchen coming up with new recipes out of staple ingredients. Take advantage of all the free recipes food bloggers and chefs share on social media, and have fun, save money, and eat good all at the same time!

5. Keep your space tidy and create the zen you deserve.

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A clean and organized home is a refuge. It's instant peace as you hover over your computer looking for work, and it just helps keep your head as clear as possible. Getting rid of things you don't need is also quite cathartic. You can even do some aromatherapy for little to nothing by burning a relaxing scented candle, or making your own air freshener.

6. Celebrate the "small" wins!

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It's so easy to be hard on yourself, but treat yourself with the same gentleness and understanding that you'd demonstrate to someone else in your position. Did you update your résumé? Did you apply for a job? Did you make a really good meal? Celebrate all of that! Make a checklist for the day or week, and as you scratch things off, take a moment to sit in that victory and pat yourself on the back.

7. Create a budget and stick to it.

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If you're unemployed, it's probably a good idea to revisit your budget and make adjustments. Figure out what you can afford to cut out; maybe it's fewer deliveries or canceling some of your streaming platforms. And redirect that extra cash to savings for a rainy day or to go toward essential costs. Budgeting is one of those responsible self-care practices that make our lives so much easier and efficient in the long-run.

8. Regularly practice calming techniques, like meditation or breathing exercises.

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Download a few wellness apps or subscribe to some wellness experts' channels, and learn how to do simple but effective things, like breathing exercises or meditating, in order to manage stress. Scouring the internet for jobs and customizing cover letters are tedious tasks that will most likely take a large chunk of your day, but make time in between to unwind and relieve some tension.

9. Bring life to your home by getting a small, low-maintenance plant.

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Yes, animals are great and are known to bring us a lot of joy and peace. But plants are too, and they don't require nearly as much work to maintain. Add some new life and fresh greenery to your living space by getting a small plant that you can take pride in watering and growing. There are so many that are really easy to take care of, like Chinese evergreens, yuccas, and African violets.


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Proper sleep is a gift you can give yourself that costs absolutely nothing but pays off in abundant ways. Good for your physical, mental, and emotional welfare, rest will recharge your energy and help keep stress at bay. It also keeps your mind sharp so that you can put your best foot forward when you're on your fifth interview and want nothing more for this whole job search process to end. It's also worth mentioning that when you DO land that new position, you'll look refreshed and radiant because you will have gotten in those hours of beauty sleep.

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