As if unemployment and job instability wasn't soul-crushing enough already. More and more newly unemployed Americans are finding themselves gaining unwanted weight as they cope with their new jobless lifestyle.
There are a number of reasons why this happens. Depression and anxiety are a common side effect of unemployment, which may cause many individuals to feel unmotivated to get out of the house and exercise, or turn to unhealthy comfort food as a coping mechanism. A lowered sense of self-esteem also makes it more difficult for people to take better care of themselves.
The sudden increase in unstructured free time is also a major contributing factor to unwanted weight gain. Without a daily structure of work and commute, many people resort to a lot of internet-surfing or watching TV, thus lowering their physical activity even more. When people no longer have the social pressure of looking presentable in front of their co-workers in a professional work environment, they may also lose the self-motivation to keep up their appearances and let it all slide.
Finally, junk food and microwavable meals are cheap, whereas organic fruits and vegetables tend to be more expensive. All of these factors contribute to a perfect storm of rising obesity in a time of economic crisis.
Fortunately, there are many useful lifestyle improvements that you can incorporate into your everyday life to avoid the unhealthy weight gain of unemployment. Here are tips to avoid the jobless muffin top:
1. Make exercise a part of your daily schedule. Got a lot of fre time on your hands? You no longer have the excuse of having no time for physical activity.
2. Use your free time to cook healthier meals and to eat at home as much as possible. Since you don't have to worry about rushing through a packed schedule to eat a lot of fast food and pre-packaged meals, you can use this opportunity to do more healthy cooking that will save you a lot of money.
3. Create a support group with other unemployment buddies to stay on track with your physical and mental health. Social isolation tends to breed a lot of unhealthy habits, both physical and mental. Staying connected with a support group, on the other hand, will keep you optimistic and give you the motivation to stay on top of your game.
More From Intent.com: