Recharging the Battery
May 5, 2016 8:16 AM   Subscribe

What activities or pursuits do you find more rejuvenating and relaxing than sitting idly in front of the computer or watching TV? I'm looking for things that I can do on a regular basis that will leave my mental and physical batteries feeling recharged rather than drained.
posted by sleepy psychonaut to Health & Fitness (24 answers total) 56 users marked this as a favorite
A good walk. I store up excuses to walk to the grocery or pharmacy so as to have an excuse to get moving, but there's that moment about half way when warmed up but not tired where it feels like one could just keep going day and night like on a quest with elves in middle earth. :-)
posted by sammyo at 8:22 AM on May 5, 2016 [11 favorites]

I knit, a lot. I read (not as much as I should). I sit on my balcony and listen to the birds and the cars driving by on the highway. I bake and cook. I used to go on walks when I didn't live on the side of a busy highway.

I also try to put my phone and iPad away for these things because otherwise I just end up surfing the net with an even smaller screen.

What did you like to do when you were a kid? The answer to the question might help you figure out a good hobby. I loved making stuff, which is how I got into knitting as an adult.

Have fun on the journey to finding a hobby!
posted by sockermom at 8:23 AM on May 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

Spending time with a good friend. Seeing some sort of live performance.
posted by lunasol at 8:43 AM on May 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yoga, reading a book, walking.
posted by kevinbelt at 8:48 AM on May 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

How about music? I came back to playing the fiddle a few years ago after a long absence, and it's been great. It makes me focus on something very different that my work, it stirs up the creative juices, and, when I'm lucky, it puts me in the zone. It's also brought me a new group of friends who I met through a local jam session; they're now my best friends.
posted by underthehat at 8:57 AM on May 5, 2016 [6 favorites]

I find that resting is often not restful because the problem is tension and anxiety rather than fatigue. In that case, I think moderate exercise is the great thing. If you do want something of a more indoor variety, choose something creative, like playing a musical instrument, painting, sewing, even cooking a better than usual dinner.
posted by SemiSalt at 8:58 AM on May 5, 2016 [4 favorites]

Yep, walking and yoga, sometimes meditation, and lots of gardening. I also enjoy making fires in the chiminea and sitting in front of them with a glass of wine or tea.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 9:16 AM on May 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Doodling. Not 'Art' with a capital-a, just a big piece of butcher paper, a glass of wine, light music (or not) and a bunch of sharpies - then, have at it. If it makes you feel self-conscious, throw it away afterwards, or use a smaller piece of paper. I do this from time to time, along with a daily walk and playing music, and a bunch of other things. Maybe that's it? Get three or four things that you know will do it and rotate between them?
posted by eclectist at 9:23 AM on May 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

A walk outdoors.
Reading a book.
Cooking for the week.
Getting chores and projects done around the house.
Listening to an album not as background, but as my sole focused activity. Singing and dancing along to it.
Any change of scene-- even the drugstore or bakery.
Learning anything, either on my own or with instruction-- guitar, language classes, meditation.
Talking on the phone or visiting with friends.
Painting (badly.)
Tiny hobbies like getting really into tea, mineral water, wines and cheeses of the world, trying new fruits, etc., where you can get into researching and seeking out your thing and make enjoying your thing a special time.
A lot of people go to the gym or for a run for this reason. I would like to one day be one of those people and maybe you would too.
posted by kapers at 9:24 AM on May 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

A tough workout. Putting things together that require enough of my brain that I'm distracted--making furniture, sewing, things like that.
posted by mchorn at 9:49 AM on May 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Once in a great damn while, a TV show will leave me feeling recharged. For me that show is Parks & Rec because the comedy is funny but not mean-spirited, and there is a lot about teamwork, community, and accomplishing things in your own little way. There are also satisfying subtle emotional crescendos and baby-steps of growth and self-awareness, none of which happen on other shows that I might love but leave me feeling drained.
posted by kapers at 10:01 AM on May 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

Ride bikes.
Ride Skateboards.
Rock Climb.
Play with a dog.
posted by trbrts at 10:02 AM on May 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

My essentials, grouped by their time investment:

Quick (stretching; push-ups; hot shower; brushing my teeth, really, honestly, as weird as that sounds; taking the dog for a walk/play/ball toss)

Intermediate (a back massage, since my work is done sitting at a desk and I'm old enough that my lower back often feels like the physical epicenter of exhaustion; sewing/quilting, by hand or with a machine; mindfulness/meditation, although I'm not too good at it and still new to it so it feels like the part of a discipline where you're still having to work at the routine)

Long (camping, or distance from car noise generally so also hanging out in big parks and so on; kayaking, or anything that gives me long term proximity to sloshing water sounds, so swimming in lakes and walking along streams, too; listening to a full album without once looking at a phone, laptop, t.v., screen of any sort, generally listening and letting my mind wander)
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 10:35 AM on May 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

For myself: reading, crossword puzzles, adult colouring books, and silly as it sounds, going on the swing sets at local parks! (Provided there are not kids already on them.)
posted by Kitteh at 10:50 AM on May 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I really like going for long walks in places where there are usually a ton of people but at the time of day I am there, it is very quiet. I used to get my fix of this running at like 5am, which also has the satisfying workout component as an additional relaxation technique. (this obviously depends on whether exercise leaves you feeling physically tired but mentally refreshed, or just tired all around)
posted by poffin boffin at 10:56 AM on May 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Reading, crossword puzzles, and my newest obsession, crocheting. Personally I think crochet is more newbie-friendly than knitting because there's only one tool and you can produce small finished pieces much faster.
posted by serelliya at 12:05 PM on May 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I find that the things that work best at resetting me are things that require my full attention. Since I can be a little scattered, or at least prone to multitasking, in order to require my full attention the activity often needs to involve some level of personal skill and/or danger if I quit paying attention. So, whitewater kayaking, mountain biking, backcountry skiing -- inattention can lead to injury in all of them, so all of them help clearing my mind since there's no room for anything else in there when I'm doing them.
posted by craven_morhead at 12:11 PM on May 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Outside, back yard. Fire in the fire pit, a comfortable chair, a bottle or 4 of wine (you'll need to bring your own). Enjoying the beauty of the flowers as the sun goes down. Maybe putter around with a little weeding, or not. Maybe bring out a blanket if the ground is soft, or the air turns a little cooler. Music optional, I guess. I usually go without.
posted by yesster at 12:21 PM on May 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Dancing, especially ballroom dance. Not only is it good for your body, it's good for your mind. It takes concentration and provides exhilaration. You can start at any level (there are lessons everywhere and they're not all expensive) and keep learning for the rest of your life. It's the best all-round activity I know of. And you can also explore all sorts of dance, if you're inclined.
posted by MovableBookLady at 1:08 PM on May 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

coloring, puzzles

Even better if you can occasionally do it with a friend and chat.
posted by BlueHorse at 3:54 PM on May 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Walking in nature.
posted by rip at 2:54 AM on May 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

For me, "puttering." I find that I've turned into the guy who will go to the workshop and work on some small project that requires some amount of concentration (but not all) and isn't especially strenuous. Removing the blade from the lawnmower, then sharpening it, then putting it back is a prime example from a couple weeks ago. It was a couple hours of working with my hands, but most of the time was spent sitting with the lawnmower blade clamped in a vise, filing it sharp.

Building a shelf to hold my WAP near the basement window so that I can get a decent wireless signal in my garage was another.

Changing the fluorescent light fixtures in my bathroom over to LEDs was another.

Guess I'm turning into my grandpa.
posted by DaveP at 5:07 AM on May 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

Often I am mentally & emotionally recharged after doing something with my hands -- wood-carving, lately, is a good example, but also just tinkering with stuff on my workbench, making something. Cooking does this, too, especially baking.

As much as I hate exercise for being kind of boring, when I need to unplug my brain, then physical activity (with LOUD music!) is great: a fast walk, or maybe a walk through the woods near our town library.

On those bad days when I won't have any time to myself, I use my commute home for a quick musical treatment: roll up the car windows, tun up the stereo until my head rings, and sing until I am hoarse.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:04 PM on May 6, 2016

Art! I do a lot of different kinds of art and I find it mentally refreshing [even from those pieces where I cry A TON while making it] and physically restful. Plus I get a tangible item!

Also, interestingly, I find swimming to be the same way. Nothing intense, just me at the pool doing lazy backstrokes and watching other people.
posted by gloraelin at 10:56 AM on May 8, 2016

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