Looking for a low-maintenance, but social, 'after work' place/thing/something to do while I try to get my health in order.
September 24, 2009 11:29 PM   Subscribe

I need a temporary low-maintenance, but social, 'after work' place/thing/something to do while I try to get my health in order.

Ok. First off: I know all the things you excellent MeFites suggest to stave off and/or work with/fix depression/health issues, like exercise and general activities to join, and classes and outdoorsiness and volunteering. I have read many of your threads and salute you for your suggestions. Here, then, is another one that perhaps you have the answer for.

I'm about to start being treated for depression/anxiety stuff again; whether the solution will be from adjusting my thryoid meds, or taking new anti-depressants, or both, remains to be seen.

Historically I have been a person who makes every effort to do all the things you guys suggest in that position, if you can; some kind of regular exercise, get outside, see people, do activities, try meditation. But due to the incredible fatigue that's been plaguing me more and more (anemia isn't helping, which is also getting treated), focusing on some of these things is getting hard if not impossible. I've had to drop some of the activities I used to do due to a problem with my stomach that nobody can figure out, as well. I've been going to beginner yoga classes when I feel up to it.

I can't get a dog right now, my closest friends are not in reasonable proximity to me, and I live by myself. I wish I had any friends in my apartment complex, but everyone mostly keeps to themselves, and it's not that easy to say to somebody I don't know "hey what's up, can I come hang at your place for a couple hours, I feel incredibly lonely from this health junk, not to mention [possibly some other weird feeling due to meds]."

So I've been hunting for something that I can do most weekdays after work that might not be something super physical, that would involve people socially and be low pressure, but not necessarily a class. Ideally I wish I had a roommate or significant other, because I think that would do the trick just fine, but I don't think I can instantly conjure one that's worth a darn. I've been considering trying to move out of my place in order to have someone around, but doing all this health fixing and moving simultaneously sounds like a bad idea.

I don't really want a 2nd job to go with my 40 hour a week one (which so far I've been able to handle, but I see some sick days coming). And calling people on the phone every day is not really doing it, although I've been less and less motivated to call people because I have nothing to report besides "yeah, I still feel like crap."

I've been looking at volunteer-type stuff, but nothing seems to jump out at me as the 'thing i can do that seems to fulfill all those requirements'.

Suggestions? Rent-a-buddy? My perspective might also be kinda screwed up here. Thanks again, hive mind.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (26 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Have you thought about a church group? A book club? A discussion group? Sometimes it's enough for me to go to a coffee shop by myself, just being around other people like that helps to give me a sense of community. Get familiar with the baristas, find a favorite drink and seat, and chill out with a book. Yoga classes, art classes and knitting circles are also nice, low-pressure activities that encourage interactions between yourself and others.

I also must say, I know how you feel. It is so hard to try to feel happy and optimistic when you can't seem to find a comfortable way to be near other people.

What about a hobby? Photography has worked wonders for me, and being seen out and about with my camera has made me some friends as well. It's terribly relaxing.

Good luck to you, my friend! Don't wallow, strike out. You get to design your life, so figure out what you want out of it and start being more demanding.
posted by wild like kudzu at 12:05 AM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Team social sport.

Touch football, basketball, soccer in the park, frisbee, and all the moderately-competitive etcetera are all brilliant for getting a bit of easy exercise in while you're enjoying yourself outdoors.

If you can find one you enjoy, you might be able to play on the weekend and train two or three weekday evenings.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 12:07 AM on September 25, 2009

OOH also, do you like to sing or act? In highschool I very much enjoyed being part of the theater department. You get to be a star, you make new friends, you step outside of yourself, and you're forced to go be with people, working with people, at least once a week! If the on-stage bit isn't quite your shtick, look into being behind the scenes. Plays always need grips and stagehands, not to mention set designers. Start looking around for local theater groups. For serious, it's really really fun.
posted by wild like kudzu at 12:10 AM on September 25, 2009

Seconding the book club. It's friendly, low physical impact, and gets you out the house. (If your meds might hurt the extended concentration you need for reading, then see if there are similar discussion groups nearby for plays or movies.)

Also, knitting circle. Which will give you something else to talk about when you call your friends. "Yeah, I still feel like crap. The knitting's going well, though. I can turn a heel now! You want me to make you some socks as a gift?"
posted by the latin mouse at 12:28 AM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Do you play bridge? Chess? D&D? I'm sure there are gaming groups out there that could provide a friendly, social evening or two.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:30 AM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

It seems to me that you are looking for groups that don't require a lot of individual commitment, that way if you can't make it one day it isn't a big deal. So I would tend to look at discussion groups, game groups, common interest groups (touring museums? cooking? knitting? volunteering together?) and what not. Good luck in finding a fun way to fill your time as well as with your health issues!
posted by lucy.jakobs at 12:40 AM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Bowling! Bowling is social, friendly, and low pressure. I'm not sure what the options are for joining a league without knowing anyone already, but you might have options.
posted by Betty_effn_White at 1:05 AM on September 25, 2009

I was also going to say bowling but was beaten to it. Also, hanging out at a billiard place is nice - you can practice on your own and enjoy the atmosphere, or join other people's games.

Also, if you feel like talking to someone, about your situation or about other stuff to take your mind off matters, having an email buddy is fun. So feel free to email me! My address is in my profile. Why not? Could be fun. (you can use a throwaway email for correspondence if you want to protect your anonymity)
posted by alon at 1:57 AM on September 25, 2009

Take lessons for something? A language, horseback riding, golf, something else?
posted by tss at 2:20 AM on September 25, 2009

I went along to my housemate's knitting group and loved it. I can't knit, but there were friendly people there and I was taught how, so I learned a new skill too. Maybe knitting isn't your thing but there are lots of groups that meet in pubs or cafes and get to work on something.
posted by mippy at 4:17 AM on September 25, 2009

Trivia nights at bars. If you want people you may be more comfortable with, you could suggest it as a Mefi meetup, or you could even solicit team members from craigslist.
posted by backseatpilot at 4:56 AM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Do you have any political convictions? Political intrest groups and candidates are always looking for people to come in to stuff envelopes and such. It requires no serious commitment (unless you want to give them one, which I'm sure would thrill them) and you can come and go as you see fit.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:00 AM on September 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

2nding classes of some kind. The local park & rec departments or small colleges almost always have things in the evenings and weekends.
posted by jquinby at 6:05 AM on September 25, 2009

Find a group of folks with similar interests on meetup.com, perhaps? I've just signed up, as I've moved to a new city -- some friends of mine have had good luck with that site in particular.
posted by NikitaNikita at 6:16 AM on September 25, 2009

Movie club? People meet up to watch a movie together, then go out for drinks/coffee afterwards to discuss. Other suggestions are good too, like joining a book club, taking a course (like cooking or conversation in a foreign language..definitely something interactive), sports, or bowling.
posted by emd3737 at 6:39 AM on September 25, 2009

seconding meetup.com ; there are tons of groups around, and the people are generally friendly and laid-back.
posted by xbonesgt at 6:43 AM on September 25, 2009

Xbox Live and IRC.
posted by cyniczny at 7:35 AM on September 25, 2009

If you live near a college or university there are often various kinds of talks and lectures going on in the evenings. They may not be easy to find out about, since it's often a school or departmental thing, but if you search you should be able to find something. Not exactly the most social thing, although there may be some sort of Q&A or discussion after, but by attending talks on subjects you're interested in you can meet people with similar interests.
posted by 6550 at 7:48 AM on September 25, 2009

nthing bridge. The game requires social interaction to some degree, it's very interesting, and there are an abundance of clubs. It is a great way to network. I just started and I love it so far.
posted by arimathea at 7:51 AM on September 25, 2009

Game night. Low physical activity, high mental activity, very social. Sounds like it is right up your alley.
posted by bobot at 7:55 AM on September 25, 2009

nthing meetup. I joined a Scrabble meetup and now get emails about twice a week about meetings.
posted by pipti at 9:20 AM on September 25, 2009

Get a gym membership for a gym with access to a sauna/hot tub and just go and sit in the sauna/hot tub for a while until you feel better. There will be people around, but not a lot of chit chat. Once you are feeling better and you can take up more low impact exercise, you will be able to meet more people there.
posted by crazycanuck at 10:07 AM on September 25, 2009

Where are you?

Church is a good one for this, even if you're not religious maybe you could fudge it a little or find a UU church.
posted by kathrineg at 11:06 AM on September 25, 2009

People have suggested game nights, and that's a great idea. Specifically, you should try to find out whether the boardgame stores in your area have weekly game nights. It's very likely they do, and this is the perfect balance of non-physical, low-key activity that doesn't require ongoing commitment (you aren't scheduled to play: you just show up), and had the added bonus that most gamers are pretty chill individuals who you won't feel the need to impress.

Likewise, "life drawing" sessions are good because they're also drop-in and don't require commitment like some types of classes might. You are surrounded by people but not necessarily required to talk to them. It's non-physical, and even if you have no artistic talent it's a fun exercise...and nobody will see your pictures unless you choose to show them. Check with colleges and community centres, and a local art supplies store could probably tell you where these classes take place.
posted by Pomo at 11:35 AM on September 25, 2009

Take a Spanish class. It's a handy language to know in the US, and it gets you talking to strangers, because it's good practice. Every friend you will ever make will start out as a stranger.
posted by WeekendJen at 1:54 PM on September 25, 2009

you can't get a dog, but you might be able to walk one. check if there's a dog shelter in your area that might need help walking the dogs.
posted by mirileh at 1:23 AM on September 26, 2009

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