How to Stay Healthy When Unemployed

by Bill on February 13, 2012

Having some healthy guidelines while unemployed not only helps to take your mind off of the employment issue; keeping healthy while unemployed also helps maintain your energy levels. It also reduces the potential for health problems such as depression, diabetes, high cholesterol, excess weight gain and a great number of others. With a few simple guidelines for eating, stress reduction, relaxation and a positive healthy attitude, staying healthy while unemployed is an achievable goal. Many of these guides are simple to implement with minor changes in your daily routine. Most can be done with little or no cost and can lead to better habits and lifestyles after you find work.

Your Diet and Unemployment
One of the biggest factors to an unhealthy diet and an unbalanced life is the amount of quick energy we take in. Quick energy is what most people use to get going fast. Foods such as coffee contain sugar and caffeine (both quick to spike and quick to crash energy items); refined carbohydrates also add to this problem (believe it or not, those cereal bars and instant oatmeal are loaded with this); soda and energy drinks are in there too. Another problem, related to these quick energy diets is the number of health problems that come with them – wide mood swings, spikes in blood pressure, headaches, irritability and nervousness.

So, now that we know what to avoid, what can we replace it with and add to our diet? Well how about dealing with stress reduction since there is already enough of that in life. Hell I’ve got that every day I get out of bed. Add bananas, basil, celery, cinnamon, grapes, kiwi and lettuce to the diet or increase them if you already have them (no, this does not mean ask for extra lettuce on a cheeseburger). Heck if you’re unemployed you can’t afford the cheeseburger trust me you realize that quick. Try adding barley, oats and ginseng into the diet to reduce stress. The real grains not the instant kind of barley and oats. Ginseng is good in tea and as seasoning. Speaking of seasoning, throw out the salt and you cut back the risk of blood pressure spikes, heart issues and the need for fluids all the time.

Now, you’re gonna want energy to keep yourself going. Especially if you’re still looking for work. A high protean diet helps here. Low salted peanuts or cashews please. Oh, you can also use pumpkin or sunflower seeds as an instant energy snack. For long term use, add avocados, lentils, raspberries and spinach (yes, Popeye actually had a point).

For missing or additional vitamins and minerals go with an increase in bread and pasta; go with anything but white bread and rice or enriched pasta (all the vitamins and minerals are processed out of the damn food already by the time you see it). Check into chicken, pork and fish (yes that too). Oh and before I forget, although the money went tight this is not the time to scrimp on fruits and veggies! No I actually found that out myself. They balance out a lot of other things. If you must cut back, don’t eat the cheese or drink the milk as much.

One last thing before we leave the diet aisle. Do not, and I repeat, DO NOT limit the amount of times you eat each day. Eating many small meals (like five) avoids weight gain and muscle loss. Why? The body begins to feed upon healthy fat and muscle within itself if not properly maintained. Small quick meals maintain a healthier metabolism.


Rest and Recreation
while you’re unemployed this is a good time to catch up on yourself. Yes, yourself. Creative solutions to your employment problem show up at the damnedest time when the mind is silent. Been there, done that, had a maintenance gig that got me through six months from it. Enjoy the quiet while you have it.

Oh, and while we’re there – get enough sleep for YOU, not the recommended amount for everyone – the amount you need to feel rested. Stress from being unemployed causes a run-down effect and loss of sleep doesn’t help.

Last part here – catch up on what you never got to do before. Try reading. Get your mind off of working. Pick up a hobby. Most people who read this blog will come across my opinion about part-time work coming from hobbies someplace along the way. That’s how I got into writing.

A Positive Healthy Mind
yeah I know after like six or eight months you start panicking about finding a job. And those of you who don’t have work after a year or so, it’s worse. But, you must maintain a positive outlook or you will slide into a depression and your body will begin showing signs of trouble. Here’s a few pointers on this end of staying healthy when you’re unemployed.

Create a positive atmosphere around you. Do this with people, nature and lighting found around you. Make sure you have access to enough natural light and people. I know it sounds stupid, but there’s one thing I found that does work – get yourself up just before dawn (like around 5 or) and find an eastern facing window or door; then watch the sun come up while you munch on a bagel with cream cheese or homemade oatmeal and ginseng tea. Seriously, you don’t know how healing that can be and how you realize you can take on one more day until you have done this.

And if that doesn’t work alone, find help. Seek out counseling or a support network. Do not fall inward. This is the time to extend beyond everyone and everything you know. Which reminds me of volunteering. Not only does that get you out and about, it also creates an ad hoc network that just might lead to another job. I met a founder of a nonprofit volunteering – the meeting eventually led me to be the Board Secretary for the American Disability Coalition and taught me how to write for nonprofits.

Anyhow, the point is employers are seeking resources that are fully operating and ready to meet their needs. You, as an employee, are considered a resource to the employer. If you want to be considered a valued resource you must maintain yourself. To do that, you must stay healthy when unemployed so you can find better employment.

So what do you think? Let me know if any of this helped.

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