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If you don't/can't work, how do you fill up your time?

76 replies

Jellylegsni · 18/06/2019 15:23

I can't work due to health reasons (mental and physical). I haven't worked since having my child. She's been at nursery but part time and is due to start full time in school next September which will obviously leave me with a lot more time on my hands.

I don't know how to spend my days. I've got no real structure or routine as it is. I'm also limited on what I can do. I am unable to drive and I am not always fully mobile so sometimes I am stuck to sitting or lying down and not able to do simple things like basic housework. I've lost touch with friends and don't have much family, so rarely see anyone besides my DH and our daughter. I don't actually mind that. I don't feel lonely but I do feel I need something to occupy my mind and also to give me a sense of accomplishment or achievement.

Any ideas or advice or even just stories from people in the same boat? I think some of my issue is that I've been in this position for a few years now and my motivation and confidence is at a low.

OP posts:
Ellabella989 · 18/06/2019 15:28

I couldn’t work for a few years because of ill health and I did lots of the following:

Listened to podcasts on topics I’m interested in

Read lots of books

Learnt a language

Did sudoku and other puzzles


Learnt to knit

Played guitar

Watched loads of films

IrisJoy · 18/06/2019 15:31

I used to not work for health reasons. I did am open university degree and Lots of sewing (made a quilt and lots of tapestries) I also did a lot of buying and seeking the dc's clothes in ebay as they were growing.
Oh and my house was always clean and tidy with food that was homemade (with cheap ingredients because it didn't matter if it had to cook for hours etc) life is definitely not like that now!

WhiteLightTrainWreck · 18/06/2019 15:35

I'm currently on mat leave, waiting for DC to arrive, so not doing a lot at all.

Baby clothes are washed and hospital bag is packed.

Yesterday I had a lack of movement scare so spoke to the mat unit and followed their advise. I also slept... A lot.

Today I have done very very little:
Got up
Showered and brushed my teeth
Put a couple of loads of washing on
Loaded the dishwasher
Cleaned the kitchen
Walked the dog
Watched tv
Browsed mumsnet

Totally lazy day 😳

Tomorrow I'm meeting my dad for lunch and booking a weekend away for later in the year.

Thursday and Friday I'll be doing all the housework so my dp and I can spend the weekend together as I was away this past weekend and he was last.

Jellylegsni · 18/06/2019 15:58

Quite a few ideas here. I don't know if I could do something like knitting or sewing as I have issues with my fingers and wrists...I don't know though as I've never tried either so that's something I could have a go at I think. Any tips on how to get started? For a completely clueless beginner. Learning a language is definitely doable as it's free and I could do it from my bed if I need to. Podcasts too. I have never listened to a podcast. Open university is something I could look into but I suspect the cost might be a problem. Also what to study... a lot to think about there. Thanks for these replies. I was a very active person prior to this so the change in lifestyle is definitely taking some getting used to.

OP posts:
Caspianberg · 18/06/2019 16:36

I would go through a list of all the things you like, and see if theres either somewhere local and easily accessabile you can do them ad hoc depending on health, and otherwsie what things can be done from home like you mention

Decorate daughters bedroom - doesn't mean painting nessecarily but maybe you could spend time researching ideas, learn to paint or draw simply canvas or painting for her wall online, learn to sew with a machine ie cushions

Excercise - either local walk or swim, or from home 30 min online pilates or yoga. you can look up ones designed for limited mobility

New recipes - can you look up and either make, or do with your daughter

Volunteering locally

Garden - do you have one? if so maybe make a nice small area you can grow herbs in, read book in comfy chair, have lunch outside. Would be a nice place to sit also when daughter is playing if your not feeling great that day

Jellylegsni · 18/06/2019 16:50

Thank you Caspian, I really like the idea of doing something in the garden with her. We spend a lot of time out there but I've never tried to grow anything. And her bedroom really does need decorating actually so that's something I could spend a bit of time on. Even if I don't do it myself (I couldn't paint a room at the moment, and I'm not so sure of my artistic abilities to do something like a canvas...I definitely could try though), even just researching for ideas and finding a decorator will fill up some of time. I'd also never thought about looking into exercise groups designed for limited mobility. Thank you that's a really good idea. I had just written off exercise as a no, it never occurred to me to look for something like that.

I have had a little search for voluntary positions and have not found anything besides working in a charity shop. I know that I would enjoy that because despite not feeling lonely, I think seeing different people and feeling useful in some way would do me the world of good, but I'm worried about my inability to commit to regular hours. I will keep looking though and see if I can find anything more suitable.

Thank you, I am finding these replies really useful and am feeling quite positive now.

OP posts:
ErrolTheDragon · 18/06/2019 17:25

There are many distance learning options available nowadays, other than the OU. Cost and quality may vary, of course...

There may be some useful stuff for starters here

Gentlemanwiththistledownhair · 18/06/2019 17:31

Hi OP, if you're interested in something open university-esque then have a look at Future Learn. It's free university courses on loads of different topics and you join in with a cohort as you work through. If you want the accreditation at the end there's a small fee, but if you're just interested then it's free. There's no bundling together of courses to get a degree at the end, bit again, that means it can be free.

I've done a few and found them to be well run.

The OU does run some free online courses too I think.

WaxOnFeckOff · 18/06/2019 17:41

Crochet is possibly an easier start and less impactive on your wrists and hands - not that i'm an expert! Youtube would no doubt have lots of instructions.

Have you ever worked OP? If so, you might have experience in something that you could do from home even if it was just voluntary stuff.

I think nowadays there is so much you could teach yourself from on-line resources, it's just finding something you'd be interested enough in to keep it up.

MyVisionsComeFromSoup · 18/06/2019 18:02

agree crochet is easier on hands/fingers/wrists - I have fibro and arthritis in lots of bits, and after getting rid of all my sewing and knitting stuff a few years back, have started back with crochet - damn the arts and crafts board with their crochet quilt recommendations--

redexpat · 18/06/2019 18:09 for volunteering.

When I was unemployed I got a bullet journal which really helped to structure my week. Theres a clip on youtube called how to bullet journal.

Also when unemployed I booked one social thing every week.

I also got a lot out of the book how to do everything and be happy by peter jones. That might help you figure out what your interests are.

WaxOnFeckOff · 18/06/2019 18:10

Crochet squares are easy enough and you could make a nice blanket for DDs room (or for her dolls/stuffed toys if you get fed up with it sooner!).

DreamingofSunshine · 18/06/2019 18:13

I'm another who is too ill to work ans DS is in preschool. I crochet as its easier on the joints, particularly something with a thicker hook. Bella Coco on YouTube is a great place to start.

I try to cook from scratch, declutter, sell things online and generally do all the life admin so that I feel like I'm contributing to the running of the house but leave DH to change light bulbs, empty bins etc which I can't do.

theworldistoosmall · 18/06/2019 18:18

Crochet - loads of beginner stuff on youtube. It's how I learnt.
Walking in water is also very, very good. The water adds support so it's not like walking in the street.
I binge watch stuff on netflix.
There are loads of free courses online - just google free courses online.
OU if you haven't got a degree, you can get a student loan.

What interests do you have?

Stravapalava · 18/06/2019 18:34

Open University do lots of free short courses - I think they're called Open Learn? There's no limit either, so you could do what takes your fancy.

Or set yourself a project - find out about stuff and write a report / essay. Or maybe family history?

Tana433 · 18/06/2019 18:44

I am in the very lucky position of not having to work. When I "retired" at 46 last September everyone told me I would be bored within a month.
10 months on and I can honestly say I haven't had a minutes boredom. I read, catch up on box-sets ive been meaning to watch. Meeting friends I never had time to see and spending quality time with my parents and in laws who are all not in the best of health.
I realise im lucky but I honestly enjoy every day of my life.

midgeland · 18/06/2019 19:08

I'm worried about my inability to commit to regular hours.

DH helps to manage a charity shop and is very happy to take on volunteers who can't commit to regular hours. They have people who are able to, and base their planning around the bare minimum of those people so that the shop can open, and then more casual volunteers are a nice bonus who can help to get a bit more done.

Happymum4ever · 18/06/2019 19:28

I don't work and DP only works 20 hours per week (hoping to drop to 16 as tax credits will be about the same!) So we have plenty of spare time (dc all in school).

I ride my horse and Dd's pony every day. I am hunting for another pony, which is very time consuming ( up and down the country to find the right one!)

I do all the house admin (passports/bills/school stuff / etc)

I plan our holidays down to the last second ( too many hours on Disney forums Blush

I take care of myself (gym bunny!)- I'm a size 8, most if the working mum's I see are heavy/obese as they only have time to shovel in junk food and are trapped at a desk for 9 hours a day.

I see a lot of my friends in the day for lunch / gym.

I even do a bit of housework (lol)

sashh · 18/06/2019 19:41

You can get funding for an OU degree if you don't already have a degree. If you do have a degree you can do a STEM subject part time and get tuition fee funding.

If you don't have a degree then their 'open' degree allows you to study lots of things.

Jellylegsni · 19/06/2019 08:59

I do have a degree and I used to work in tech, prior to that I worked in sales.

"DH helps to manage a charity shop and is very happy to take on volunteers who can't commit to regular hours"

That's good to know. I won't dismiss charity shops then. I will go in and speak to a few. I will also look up those online courses.

Thanks again all.

OP posts:
WaxOnFeckOff · 19/06/2019 09:40

There will be loads you could do from home as someone with tech type experience, paid or unpaid. I appreciate that you might feel anything too pressured was unsuitable but maybe a different kind of industry or society would be good. How about joining the PTA when DD starts at school? You could help organise fundraising events or research funding opportunities. Similar for things such as Scouts or Guiding if your DD gets involved but they are always looking for volunteers that wouldn't necessarily commit you to attending weekly or going camping etc.

Our school DofE group is always looking for people to support paperwork (mostly on-line) or be their Data Protection person.

If you are looking to get back into the work environment at some, something like DP or compliance might be a good area to study up on as it's a growing area of quite specialist work that is mainly office based but can really be done at home/remotely quite easily.

Omzlas · 19/06/2019 09:43

Pinterest, read: the stealer of time
Amazing ideas, I had tonnes of inspiration and found lots of new ideas when I spent days looking around when I was on sick a few years ago. It actually gave me the confidence to expand a hobby I have and I'm much better now!

As PP have said, learn an instrument etc, learn a language, brush up on your history (or any other topic), crochet (I find it easier than knitting and has actually helped to ease hand and wrist pain), adult colouring books, reading?

Lovelycabinet · 19/06/2019 10:06

Wow Happymum4ever good for you Hmm

WaxOnFeckOff · 19/06/2019 10:18

@Happymum4ever Do you have an independent income or are you on the wind up?

KnittingSister · 19/06/2019 10:21

Letter writing to prisoners, UK or overseas

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