4 Ways to Embrace “Funemployment”

Photo by Heidi Stobert.

This post is going to give you a little insight into my life. I, like many other Calgarians, fell victim to those pesky plummeting oil prices and lost my marketing and communications job this spring. I’m not going to lie, it sucks living on a reduced budget and combing through job postings every day. However, positivity is important, so I wanted to share with you some of the great things I have been doing with my spare time and how you can do the same. It’s not unemployment; it’s funemployment!

You don’t even need to be unemployed to read this. You might just be on a week-long staycation, or working part-time or just looking for ways to optimize that little bit free time you have. Added bonus, all these suggestions are budget-friendly as well.


  1. Volunteering

I start here because this is what brought me to pick up writing again. I realized early on in my unemployment that I wanted to use my free time to contribute to my community, and when I was approached me to be a contributor, I jumped on the opportunity. Not only is this fun for me, but it is something that will help keep my career skills in shape. Not to mention the chance to meet some great people along the way.

There are countless short and long-term volunteer opportunities available to fit into your interests, lifestyle and skills. I suggest following Volunteer In Calgary on Twitter for up-to-date listings or the websites and social media platforms of your favourite organizations.


  1. Exploring the community
Working on some writing at Care Francesco. Photo by Heidi Stobert.
Working on some writing at Care Francesco. Photo by Heidi Stobert.

Use some of your free time to check out so those little independent shops and restaurants in your or surrounding neighbourhoods. Sometimes these places aren’t open during evenings and weekends, so take advantage of the fact you are bored at 11am on a Wednesday and go check these places out. Even if you have been to these places before, take advantage of the time that you have to enjoy them. One of my favorite places to get coffee and hangout is Café Francesco in Killarney, and there are many of these hidden gems all over the city.

Another suggestion is to just go for a walk around the residential parts of your neighbourhood. This is one of my favourite things to do, as I always seem to come across something neat. Within just a few blocks of my house, one place has an antique wooden boat in their front yard, while another has a cannon. Go see what you can find!


  1. Revisiting hobbies

I was at a point when I was working full-time that my hobbies were basically social media and Netflix. Of course I have interests outside of this, but I had brushed them aside in favour of things I can easily do with a smart phone and a TV. With more time on my hands, I have made a point to get back to some of the things I love to do. No matter what your hobbies are, one of their biggest elements is time, and now you have some so take advantage of it and have some fun. As an example, here is some of the things I have been up to:

  • Photography: Taking my camera downtown and on hikes, and teaching myself how to edit these photos in Lightroom.
  • Video Games: I have decided it’s time to use my Playstation 3 for more than a Netflix device. I have a bunch of games on my shelf that I have either never completed or never even started.
  • Reading: I had basically stopped reading for fun while I was in university. I often started books and forgot about them, or finished them in an unnecessarily snail’s pace. I am still going through books pretty slowly, but my reading frequency has increased significantly from where it was.


  1. Filling up my pool
    Filling up my backyard pool became a fun activity for me this summer. Photo by Heidi Stobert

    Getting some fresh air

I make a point of going outside every day, even if it is to walk to the grocery store. Calgary has had some great weather these past few months, so there has really been no excuse to not take it in. Running errands or just going for walks can get boring, so I figured out how to enjoy the outdoors without having to leave my yard. I dug out some really nice patio furniture that my landlord had never bothered to set up and have created this great space outside to hangout. As an added bonus, the wifi signal is excellent so it has even turned into an awesome outdoor office. When it is really hot but I really want to relax outside and read a book or listen to some podcasts, I fill up my kiddie pool and enjoy the summer sun. I am proud to say I have not got a sunburn yet!

Of course, there is plenty to do outdoors around the city as well. Take the opportunity to check one of the many festivals or outdoor markets this summer. Many are free or low-cost. There are also some great parks and hiking trails around the city, so it is a great time to do some urban nature exploring as well.


What have you done to pass time and keep up your spirits while being out of work? Tweet me to let me know!