Finding some fun
January 2, 2017 4:35 AM   Subscribe

I'm going through a patch at work that is heavy going and high stakes. I'm enjoying it, but want to make sure I stay on an even keel. So I am looking for ideas for toys, equipment or activities for frivolous fun that will serve as a good distraction.

You can assume I have few of today's mod-cons - I only got Netflix in the last couple of days. Some ideas so far.. gaming console (no idea what sort? good games? I quite like the look of Guitar Hero, Just Dance etc, also car racing ones), scooter to take down the park, online dating, home karaoke, going out to play pool, indoor basketball hoop.

I am looking for more hedonistic pursuits, rather than learning something new, so preferably nothing with too much of a learning curve, although of course many of the above can be improved with practice. My brain is being stretched by work, so interested in less thinking, more doing. Or more laughing.

As I live alone, appreciate suggestions for things that will work well for one person, as well as ideas for doing stuff with others. Budget is not particularly a consideration if I think I will like it enough. I want stuff I can just pick up or organize easily.
posted by AnnaRat to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (20 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
If it were me: a trampoline and/or local place with trampoline, or a batting center. A bunch of games (Machinarium, Monument Valley, the Bridge, Grim Fandango). A bunch of DVDs. A bunch of bath bombs and other products from Lush.
Jigsaw puzzles!
posted by sacchan at 5:15 AM on January 2, 2017

Get a bicycle.
posted by SemiSalt at 5:23 AM on January 2, 2017 [4 favorites]

My stock recommendation for those who really just need to TURN OFF REAL LIFE:

Read the Count of Monte Cristo or Les Miserables and watch the hours disappear. If you want to really get crazy about it, a really nice blanket and new mug and fancy tea might complete the picture.
posted by athirstforsalt at 5:54 AM on January 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

I also got an unlimited yoga membership at a really great, inclusive, independently owned yoga studio when I was finishing my dissertation and I went every damn day and have not been on such an even keel since, TBH.
posted by athirstforsalt at 5:56 AM on January 2, 2017 [9 favorites]

A pogo stick! Try not to smile while pogo-ing - impossible!
posted by JacksonandFinch at 6:06 AM on January 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

Macrame could be lots of fun, if you're remotely arts and crafty. It's just tying a bunch of knots--and it's mesmerizing after you make your initial decisions.
posted by flyingfork at 6:19 AM on January 2, 2017

Hula hooping. It's great exercise and as a person with a busy job/life, I find it incredibly soothing.
posted by futureisunwritten at 6:21 AM on January 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

Can you do fun things with coworkers? That can help associate work with enjoyment. At my job, a highlight of the day is film trivia, using the cards from Scene It. Trivia is nice because it can expand or contract to fill whatever time you have, and you can choose whether or not to make it "officially" competitive, e.g by announcing a winner at the end of each week.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:34 AM on January 2, 2017

My solution for this is boxing.
posted by deathpanels at 6:42 AM on January 2, 2017

Oops! You said less thinking, so my bad on suggesting trivia. But maybe there are physical games/contests that you and coworkers can similarly compress into your free time.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:49 AM on January 2, 2017

People talk about it like it's this dull, mechanistic solution for overworked people, but I found Blue Apron, the meal subscription service, to be an absolutely hedonistic (and to me, way too expensive) delight. I don't cook for pleasure AT ALL but it was such a joy for me to open that package, turn on some music, uncork a bottle of wine, and start cooking something tasty, fancy, and new. You can set up a standing date with someone to share the food, or just eat it on your own while watching some delightful movie or reading a book. It's the bomb.

Damn, if I could afford Blue Apron 3x a week, and yoga every day, I feel like my head would explode with happiness, no matter what else was going on in my life.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 7:20 AM on January 2, 2017 [6 favorites]

Oh! I just saw that you're in Australia - I don't think Blue Apron has gotten there yet, but it looks like there are some other choices. You want something that feels aesthetically pleasing and a little self-indulgent, and will make you eat unusually things, as opposed to ones that are just dumping a bunch of pre-prepared meals at your door.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 7:26 AM on January 2, 2017

Learn to juggle or spin poi / staff... it may be learning, but it's not really thinking; once you've got a basic pattern down they're incredibly brain-soothing physical activities, that can be done for a few moments or a few hours, with minimal kit, little space and no other people required.
posted by protorp at 7:34 AM on January 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

Just Dance and Guitar Hero/Rock Band are perfect for this.

I have taken a couple of rounds of beginner bellydance lessons, and I found that while I am working my brain, it's a refreshingly completely different set of brain cells used.

Archery is very fun and meditative.
posted by Fig at 7:54 AM on January 2, 2017

Yes to hula hooping! I could never get the hang of hula hooping as a kid, but a couple years ago I bought a "sport" hula hoop (less flimsy than the kid version), and I had the hang of it in a few minutes. I love listening to some uptempo music while hula hooping.

Also, I really enjoy knitting and crocheting. It's really very simple to learn, and I find it's a nice way to keep my hands busy while I watch movies or TV. I think most people tend to start with knitting, but I find crocheting to be much easier and faster.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:02 AM on January 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

I may be the only person in the world still playing Wii Fit Plus, but after eight and a half years, I still thoroughly enjoy it. It has various yoga poses and other exercises such as sit-ups and lunges, and it also has hula-hooping and boxing and jogging through landscapes (going behind a waterfall! jumping off a cliff!), and lots of games like throwing snowballs and being a drum majorette and flying between targets as a chicken and running an obstacle course and doing circus juggling (which I found completely impossible, but you may be a natural). It may initially appear that you have to weigh yourself every time you sign in and that you have to set weight-change goals, but you can actually ignore all that and just play the games.

There's the investment in the console, balance board and game disc, of course, but I think you can get those cheaply these days, and Just Dance and Guitar Hero are both available for the Wii, as well as a bunch of racing games. My favourite racing game is the old N64 jet-ski racing game Wave Race, which has some beautiful, atmospheric racing courses, and is available for the Wii via the Virtual Console - which is a feature that allows you to play games from various old Nintendo systems. At least, Wave Race is available via the Virtual Console in the UK; I can't tell from the Nintendo site whether it's available in Australia.
posted by kelper at 9:32 AM on January 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

For me, if I really need to distract myself, there's only one word: Tetris.
posted by WCityMike at 12:06 PM on January 2, 2017

I like zero-effort audiobooks + long walks for this. Zero-effort audiobooks, to me, are comedy books (eg Dylan Moran's stand-up) or children's books that I loved as a child (eg for me, The Wind in the Willows). I find the latter, especially, amazingly restorative and pleasant: having a really good actor read you your favourite bedtime reading from childhood is a lovely experience.
posted by Aravis76 at 12:48 PM on January 2, 2017

Invest in a good pair of walking shoes, and take some nice walks outside.
posted by spinifex23 at 5:54 PM on January 2, 2017

I listen to past episodes of the BBC show "QI" and imagine myself wittily laughing along with them as a valued member of the group.

(Most of them are somewhere on YouTube, which is where I found the ones that I've collected.)
posted by wenestvedt at 7:17 PM on January 2, 2017

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