One of the best ways to handle your mental health is to exercise, like I mentioned in my previous post. Of course, exercising is also crucial to stay physically fit and healthy. However, exercising and expensive hobbies can be a challenge when you’re single and unemployed, so what should you do? Eat less? Starve yourself so you don’t gain weight because you can’t afford a gym membership?!🤣
No need to go to unhealthy lengths. You can for example for starters find a cheap (or even free) second-hand bike online or through relatives, friends, university bulletin boards etc. Exercising outdoors is cost-efficient, healthy and you get your privacy. The amount of exercise you need is individual, but the minimum should be three times per week. Even if you exercise five times per week, it’s not guaranteed for a perfect body though. It’s especially challenging when you’re under constant financial stress, finding a full-time job and loneliness, because comfort food is just so good. In imperfect times, people tend to develop imperfect habits. Drinking, junk food, too much sugar, smoking, and too much TV. When you don’t have a regular job and someone to support you mentally (and financially), it is especially easy to fall for unhealthy habits. Stress can also make you gain weight. So if you like food as much as I do, try to balance it with regular exercise, especially when you have the time for it. 😊
Things I have done to maintain a regular exercise routine and a semi-healthy diet with my limited budget in an unsupportive country.
- I swear by SWEAT fitness app. Try the free trial first or do the exercises on Youtube before you purchase the app.
- MyFitnessPal app is free and I actually lost 7kg when I tracked everything I ate for eight months.
- Got a bike from a relative (old school bike without gears, so extra hard to cycle hills and stuff.😄)
- Walked alone in a forest.
- Walked alone in a grave yard. (yeah I know my life is sad, but grave yards are good for walking because they are kind of like parks, but with zero people around. Well, alive people.😆)
- Attended free yoga events. Outdoors summer yoga is amazing.
- Utilized free gym trials.
- Hunted down a gym from literally EVERYWHERE, countryside, little villages, hotels, spas, weird NYC neighbourhoods, Bulgaria, and if I didn’t find one, worked out from my hotel/ Airbnb room. Found some real random stuff too with my mini budget. The crappiest gym was probably in Malta (attended mostly by Eastern European bodybuilders). 😆💪🏼
- Walked my landlord’s dog in Malta and NYC.
- Rented a cool city bike in different vacation destinations.
- Took a bike tour when I was travelling alone.
- Cycled to work instead of taking the bus.
- Drank sugar free drinks. Even if you eat cake, cutting down sugar from other things is still helpful.
- Took a dance class. (they are expensive so start by paying for one class first and if you like the class buy 10 time card etc.)
- Utilized a personal trainer offer at a gym.
- Utilized a free InBody body composition analysis at a local gym.
- Paid a personal trainer to make me a meal plan.
- Drank protein shakes/ ate protein bars/ protein rich food.
- Went to a zumba class instead of boring cardio like running. Some people are demotivated to exercise because it’s “boring” or too intense. So find something that makes it fun, easy to begin with and inspiring like dancing or yoga.
- Did pilates (when I had a gym membership). You can continue pilates at home if you can’t afford your gym membership anymore. You can check videos from YouTube.
I exercise a lot, but my body is not perfect because my diet isn’t that great. That’s the dilemma of unemployment/ single life, you have to stay fit/ healthy to find a job and a partner but then you are also under constant stress and pressure in trying to maintain your finances and sanity ALONE. Even though many long term singles are mentally much stronger than needy relationship people (who cheat/ bully singles), we are not SUPER humans either. Finding a supportive network of people is crucial for success, so try to find friends who have the same goals than you. Keeping fit is easier with people who share your goals. If you can’t find people (like in my case) then do it alone with an app. Then when the time is right, move to another country (warm weather helps you keep fit, you have limitless opportunities for outdoor exercising) and find your support network there. 🌞