Since my last post I have been thinking about and researching everywhere on the web for activities I can do to keep busy during the day. Hopefully I have got some ideas I can share not only with H4s but also with people who are unemployed or just looking for ideas of things to do in their free time. Nothing of this is new, and I would say that the secret is in being proactive and keeping a more or less defined plan of what you want to do everyday. Plan ahead, otherwise you’ll probably just sit all day looking for stuff to do until you find something that you’ll be interested in, and by the time you do that the day is gone! Also, keep a list of stuff you can do according to the weather. Maybe you prefer to go for a walk in the park when it’s sunny and watch a movie when it’s raining. Keep it flexible and simple. You can also plan a routine schedule (like going everyday to the gym at a particular time), and add some unplanned things to keep it more interesting.
First of all I have decided not to limit myself to the city I live in. Staying close to home when you have *all day* doesn’t really make much sense does it? So I am now looking for activities within reach of the bus and/or train, since we don’t have a car. I have found some things both far and close to where we live and have been planing my day in a way that I always have something to do outdoors. Keeping myself busy and active hopefully will help me get through this phase more easily.
Of course there are tons of other things to do at home, and I have been keeping busy with that too. Like learning how to cook new things. I love cooking, and even when I had a job, baking and cooking relaxed me. So, I ask my family for recipes or look for them in both books and websites and it has been working pretty well 🙂
I also have been learning cross stitching, which I soon found out requires a lot of patience. Now that is something I need to practice, and I can use the quiet, focused moments it gives me (although I sometimes do it when I am watching a movie or some show) 🙂
Watching movies or shows/documentaries is also a good activity even if you don’t have a tv. We don’t, so we just use the computers and Netflix or Hulu or whatever. If you don’t have money to subscribe these services, you can use the local library. They usually have loads of films you can loan for free.
I am also trying out new sports and am trying to go back to my favorite ones. This may be a problem if you don’t have money, but you can also go for walks or for a run. There are also some free videos online that give exercise tips. Again, your local library may have exercise DVD’s you can loan.
Volunteering is also a great idea. I do volunteer work from home, but I want something that makes me get out of the house. I have applied for a few places when I arrived in the USA but didn’t get answers so I need to call and insist. I am also checking out more places and organizations even as far as San Francisco. If you have free time search for whatever causes you want to support and see what volunteer opportunities they have and give them a call. There are plenty of organizations in need of a spare hand.
Reading is mandatory! And I keep my books very close to me. Reading is an everyday activity in this house 🙂
Writing is of course a very good way to spend your time. It is also a way to make you reflect a bit and helps you put things in perspective. It’s kind of a therapy session for free =)
If learning new languages is a thing for you, you can look for language schools or other places where they teach them. I have looked in the local Community centre and Adults and community education. There may be even people interested in doing tandem (which means you would not pay each other, just learn by talking mostly).
Well, that seems like a lot already! I just have to stick to the plan and I think I’ll be fine.
On my to do list/read is also a book from another woman, Sonia Saraf, which is/was in the US with a H4 visa. She wrote “H4 fortune cookies. 50 inspirational thoughts that change your perceptions about leading a life on a dependent visa”. Maybe I can get new ideas from it too.
To finish I’ll just quote Marie Curie and one of my favorite thoughts “You must rejoice in life every single day, do not wait until it is past until discovering that it was good! Do not place your happiness in the days to come. The older we get, the more we feel that the enjoyment of the moment is a state of grace, a golden gift.” =)