Fun is not a word usually associated with an economic slump. But if you’ve lost your job or your savings or your business is slow, you have a choice to make. You can stay in bed and mope or you can stay positive, get creative and make the best of your time. Below are some ideas I’m currently living by and imparting to my life coaching clients. In between job searching, resume sending and marketing schemes you could:

– Get affordable vocational training, or certifications to beef up your resume.

– Learn to cook, sew, knit, paint, draw, and take digital photos. Anything you’ve been meaning to try that’s affordable to learn and practice.

– Use your gym membership! Make your health and fitness a priority if you already pay for it. Go every other day or more if you have new time on your hands.

– Hike trails, jog your neighborhood and talk to your neighbors, climb the tallest stairs you can find. Use your bike or kayak. Join a sports team. This is your free (or very low cost) gym!

– Use your health insurance. If you have it, get up to date on check-ups, dental cleanings, mammograms, pap smears.

– Research affordable private insurance or catastrophic insurance if you don’t have any. Or call providers to see if they give cash discounts if you don’t have insurance.

– Learn to jar, preserve and freeze local fruit and veggies in the summer. This will save you money next fall and winter when prices for produce are unreasonable.

– Get re-acquainted with your library. Learn for free instead of buying books. Check out movies, documentaries, educational films and music on CD!

Organize your home. It’s an easy way to gain a sense of accomplishment and peace and to see where you may have spent in excess.

– Finally succumb to updating your house with money and energy and water-saving tips like Compact Fluorescent bulbs, power strips, and low-flow shower heads.

– If you’re out of work, stop using the car and become a bus-rider and power-walker. Appreciate how cool it is that being out of work for a while helps you save the earth.

– Carpool or take the bus if you still have a job. Save money on gas, maintenance and wear and tear on your vehicle.

– Network. You now have the time to have coffee with people you’ve been meaning to follow up with. They may help you find work or be excellent contacts when things pick up again.

– Meet new friends. Try out groups of people who share your interest and hobbies. Join a book club, writing group, bowling league, basketball team.

– Volunteer. You now finally have the time to give to others. Every psychological study, religion and 12-step program promises that helping others is the ticket to staying happy and sane when life feels rough. Let it be somewhere local you can walk or drive to.

People who are desperate don’t do well in job interviews. People who are healthy, boredom-free, happy and positive bring that energy into their new workplace. If you faithfully do even a few of the items listed above, you will be prepared to ride the economic waves and come out the other end physically and emotionally fit and full of life. Surf’s Up, Dude! (sliding-scale life coaching for creatives, queers, parents and everyone else!)

Photo credit: stock.xchng.