Have you ever had one of those weeks where you feel like you’re living in The Twilight Zone? I am having one of those weeks. Ever since my schedule opened up (a nice way of saying I left a job), I have been launched back into the world of penny pinching, job hunting, and too much spare time. Job hunting, especially when you are looking for something part-time to make ends meet, lands you in some odd interviewing and life situations.
5 Signs you have too much time on your hands and need a job to make you feel more productive (I promise I do not mean these to sound depressing, just oddly comical):
1. You are bummed it’s a Monday holiday because the mail isn’t coming and the possible W-2 or paycheck is the excitement of your morning.
2. You have high hopes when reading a Craigslist job posting, just to get to the end and realize it’s an escort service.
3. You are reminded that the week has started for the rest of the world because everyone on the train is in business clothing.
4. You plan your day around shower time! lunch time! journaling time! And Ben is playing Zelda and I like watching him play time!
5. You are on a constant clicking rotation between Playbill, Craigslist, Backstage, NYFA, Casting Networks, and Tastespotting.
What I have learned from these moments of lumpiness (because that is the only way I can explain this feeling right now: lumpy), is that though it can take some effort and strategy, spending free time in a healthy manner is an art. It’s so easy to the let the day slip by with job submissions, naps, and tea times and then suddenly the sun has set and you’re tired by 10:30 because you haven’t moved all day. I know, these are all first world problems. But I do feel that getting in a mental and creative rut is something serious enough to address and try to get out of.
So my joint effort to both write more and keep myself full of creative ideas is to post every few days this week (maybe every day?!) about one new good way to fill extra time when you have to fill it. Either you’re sick, unemployed, or just have too much time to kill, hopefully these boost your spirits, and mine.
Also, and perhaps most importantly, busying yourself with creative activities can really keep your mind off of hearing back from job submissions. Concentrate on something else, send out your good thoughts, and let things be. Sometimes that’s all you can do.
Today’s suggestion is a great and obvious place to start:
Cooking on a budget!
I have come across some great food ideas either on my own, on blogs, or from Trader Joes. So I present to you:
Fun, Cheap, and Yummy Meals for a Boring Rainy Day!
Brunch (Because, let’s face it, you got up at 11.)
My own creation: Fried Egg, Italian Bread, and Masala Veggie Burger
This combination is surprisingly delicious, full of protein, and a refreshing change from normal brunch options in the fridge. If you aren’t a fan of runny eggs (*cough* claire), I’m sure scrambled eggs would just just as nice on top.
The veggie burger is from Trader Joes. They are the Vegetable Masala burgers, only $2.50 for four and they’re nicely spicy so this recipe will wake you up as well. The bread is from a bakery down the street, somewhere Ben and I have been trying to shop since we discovered it. The bread is cheaper and newly baked. If I can live next to an authentic Italian bakery, I might as well buy my bread there.
Lunch! (Or something to hold you over to dinner)
Chilli over a Sweet Potato
I didn’t take a picture of this one but I plan on making it again soon so will definitely take a picture then. Not only is it cheap (bag of sweet potatoes is about $2 and can of chilli is also $2), but you can make it vegetarian if you like. And rediscovering sweet potatoes has made my week. This is also a warm meal for before that “I can’t job search any more/it’s too rainy” nap.
This is a simple one, sure, but this is where the fun aspect comes in. Especially at the end of the day, if you’re feeling physically or mentally frustrated from being in the house too much, rolling out the dough and putting the pie together can really make you feel accomplished.
Pizza dough from TJ’s is 99 cents! The cheese was like 2 bucks and the sauce was a dollar. I also through every green herb we had in the spice cabinet on top and then just popped it in the oven.
Rolling the dough can actually being very therapeutic. I watched this fantastic documentary recently about Buddhist cooking retreats and really concentrating on making your own food. Kneading and rolling out dough and can bring you happiness!
I added a salad on the side of this meal since there aren’t a lot of veggies in these dishes. But you can also play “what’s in my refrigerator” and really throw anything you like on top.
I know, I don’t have dessert. This blog’s name involves cupcakes and I didn’t include a dessert. So until I make a successful treat: here is my suggestion. Splurge a little! You’ve been inside all day, so why not go get some hot chocolate. Also, none of these meals were particularly diet-friendly, so maybe walk somewhere farther away for hot chocolate.
Ben and I choose Martha’s Country Bakery on Ditmars in Astoria and without fail, it warms our spirits. It is worth the chilly walk and the iffy prices. Conversations over hot chocolate are also good places to come up with good ideas of how to get off the couch tomorrow:)