Tiny funtastic things.
December 6, 2019 5:49 AM   Subscribe

What it says on the tin - what are your best, happiest, funnest tiny activities?

I'm pinging off my last ask, and I've decided that since I have to power through, I have to make sure I have a tiny awesome thing to look forward to, every day. It must be something that takes less than 30 minutes, something distracting enough, something upbeat and positive, and something that is not very expensive or difficult in terms of logistics or procurement. I'm hoping to make a list to pick stuff off of on a daily basis, and I am appealing to the hivemind to help.
For example, one of my favourite ways to relax is by watching Brooklyn Nine-nine, so maybe comedies of that ilk (and episode length)? I also like reading, dancing, music, coffee, re-organizing stuff, writing (when I can think of stuff and my brain isn't fried, so maybe a writing prompt website?) and soothing, non-addicitive or hyper-competitive games. But anything and everything is okay, really.
List me up, please! Thank you!
posted by Nieshka to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (29 answers total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
Have you ever played the videogame Stardew Valley? Because playing just one 'day' in the game takes less than 30 minutes, and then is a perfect place to stop (the game only saves at the end of each game day). I've found that playing one day of Stardew Valley sometimes serves as a perfect short and cheering/comforting reward, for me.
posted by theatro at 6:00 AM on December 6, 2019 [9 favorites]

As far as soothing games, Astume Neko was a big hit in these parts.

Hot Springs Story is also pretty chill and relaxing. Both are available on iOS/Android.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:02 AM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

I honestly think you have a pretty good list already - reading, dancing, music, coffee, re-organizing stuff, writing

One of the things that prevents me from doing the things I like (which are basically the same thing you like) is not being prepared or having stuff on hand to do it, then I feel like I use up all my time/energy getting prepared. One way to combat this is to prep ahead of time - make playlists, utilize the watchlist feature on streaming services to save shows you want to watch, invest in some supplies for activities so you have them ahead of time.

That said, here are a few suggestions:

-Art Journaling (can pick up free books about this at the library or google it, but basically you can get started with cheap supplies and not care what it actually looks like, it's about the process and it's just for you!)
-Similarly, there are a lot of journals you can buy filled with writing prompts, so you don't have to think of one on your own
-Making a great playlist or listening to old favorite songs. Ask friends to make playlists for you to discover new things. (Spotify/Apple Music makes sharing playlists pretty easy!)
-Make a list of TV shows or movies you're interested in watching so that it's easy to think of them when you have time to sit down and watch (instead of scrolling endlessly thru streaming options and running out of time)
-Get "coffee table" type books from the library - art/photography - and calmly flip through them and enjoy some art when you have some spare time
-1 person brain teaser games (for example)
-Treat yourself to a really comfy blanket and nice candle
-Treat yourself to some bath supplies (doesn't have to be expensive), take a hot bath and go to bed early (seriously feels luxurious!)
-If you enjoy cooking at all, something like making something simple likeno-knead bread or simple brownies (or box mix is totally fine!) feels relaxing to me, and then you have a treat to look forward to eating in the end.
posted by nuclear_soup at 6:09 AM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

I love finding a pair of really comfortable socks in my clean sock drawer. Then I love putting them on. Does that count as an activity?
posted by carterk at 6:13 AM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

i keep an ukulele hung on the wall -- looks nice when not being played, and its super easy to take it down and strum for a bit. this activity can take 30 sec or 10 min. Having a few good songs memorized helps; I think of them like little programs that I can run through my brain, hands, and voice to reset my mood or get out emotions in particular ways.
posted by cubby at 6:23 AM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

Have you ever taken a shower you didn't need just so you could sing in the shower?

That's pretty great.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:26 AM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you!
Just to be clearer, I'm looking for a few specific recommendations as well. Like a show, or a band, or a really absorbing (but short!) podcast, or book, or poetry. Just trying to take it from 'Hey will do x activity at home can't wait' to 'Hey will do 'much more specific description of said activity' when I get home.' if that makes sense.
posted by Nieshka at 6:29 AM on December 6, 2019

-Tea and cookies
-7 Little words and the free crossword with NY Crossword app
-play with my dog
-browse the library new books and put everything on hold
-go pick up my library holds, and browse the stacks. Sit and read in a comfy chair while there
posted by Ftsqg at 6:34 AM on December 6, 2019 [5 favorites]

I've been playing Guess My Word most days since it got posted elsewhere on the site. It's a small dose of fun.
posted by rollick at 6:36 AM on December 6, 2019 [7 favorites]

Black Books is one of the funniest shows ever, and is 30 minutes. If you like quiz shows/random knowledge, look for QI on YouTube. The XL episodes are funniest, and about 40 minutes long, the regular episodes are 30 minutes. Always Quite Interesting.
Colouring is a nice, mindless activity. You can easily print colouring pages off Pinterest. This site has some great ideas for random things to do.
posted by Enid Lareg at 6:53 AM on December 6, 2019 [5 favorites]

Schitt's Creek has the right episode length and is a funny and wholesome show. (I swear on Catherine O'Hara's wigs that after S1 Chris Elliot gets better.)
posted by phunniemee at 7:02 AM on December 6, 2019 [13 favorites]

Pick a new (to you) music genre and go on 30 minute listening sprees!

Modern funk revival (eg Vulfpeck) and folk punk (eg Rail yard Ghosts) are two I’ve been enjoying exploring. Also Japanese Indie (e.g. No Buses, Lucie Too) You can peruse genre maps like this to pick others, then just pop a key artist or song into YouTube or Spotify etc. There’s never been a better time to easily access fresh music; usually inexpensively or free.
posted by SaltySalticid at 7:04 AM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

At my last job, one of my teammates started a tradition, "Baby Animal Wednesday." Each week, the leader of Baby Animal Wednesday selected the official animal. Our mission was to find the sweetest, cutest, funniest photos and gifs starring the creature du jour and flood our group chat with them.

It's hard to think of any group activity has brought me more pure delight.
posted by prewar lemonade at 7:46 AM on December 6, 2019 [7 favorites]

Seconding Schitt's Creek. It's a delight. (And yes give Chris Elliott some time.)
posted by AgentRocket at 8:03 AM on December 6, 2019

Make pompoms.

Lots of options- size, density, color, material. And you'll get better. And you can add then to things like zipper pulls and give them as gifts.
posted by maya at 8:12 AM on December 6, 2019

Acquire friends' addresses, cute postcards, and postcard stamps. Write a daily postcard to a friend.
posted by jocelmeow at 8:30 AM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

Do 20 squats. It feels virtuous but it's a pretty attainable number that doesn't feel like torture, and after a week or so, I noticed better knee flexibility and felt stronger.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 8:42 AM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

Detectorists is nine and a half hours of your time in total (3 6-episode series + 1 Christmas special, half-hour each) and will enrich your life in so many pleasant ways. It's on Hulu (used to be on Netflix but it seems to be gone now).
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:44 AM on December 6, 2019 [5 favorites]

Copy a drawing. I mention this as distinct from "doing art" because while it can be equally absorbing, for me, it takes the pressure off. I don't have to "be creative," and I don't even have to stress about being especially faithful to the original, because, what's the point of making an exact copy of something somebody else has already drawn? Brilliant, creative artist Lynda Barry writes in favor of copying.
posted by BrashTech at 8:53 AM on December 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

The Good Place is also a Mike Schur production (like Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and has a great Podcast.

I also like coffee. I like it a lot. One of the things I like to do at home is engage in coffee making rituals. Currently I'm working through a hand grinder and pour-overs. It's a little thing but it makes me happy.
posted by mce at 9:24 AM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

Recite a poem, on your way to knowing it by heart. Recite the ones you already know in different styles.

Specifically, try Stallings’ Hapax, or Elizabeth Bishop, or Hamilton.
posted by clew at 11:05 AM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

A while my SO and I spend 30-40 minutes trying to learn how to twerk by watching tutorials on YouTube and not only broke a sweat but also were reduced to a fit of giggles by the end. Long-term results since I still smile thinking about it, and I think I can still twerk a bit. Will do again with a variety of hard-to-me dance styles. Highly recommended.
posted by plant or animal at 11:22 AM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

I was about to say what prewar lemonade said -- find baby animals on YouTube and have a long-distance pet therapy session.
World's laziest wolf howls
Red wolf pack howling
Brave Wilderness -- Wolf pack meets a coyote
Max Canada lynx -- I'm a big baby
Brave Wilderness -- Ocelot attack
Barred owl calls to mate
Hummingbird bath
Lauderdale by the Sea -- scuba diving
posted by TrishaU at 11:26 AM on December 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

One thing I get a ridiculous amount of joy from is the podcast "Reply All"'s Yes, Yes, No episodes, where they unpack a tweet for their older boss that her doesn't understand because it has a lot of pop culture/tech references he doesn't understand.

I also have worked in jobs where an afternoon has been the highlight, and I bought a Nespresso Machine to keep there and I had a ritual of making a great mocha or cappuccino each day.

I also have a list of blogs/websites that I might take a break with. I keep them in a folder titled "things to read when bored", and includes Kottke, Swiss Miss, and Manhattan Nest.
posted by momochan at 11:39 AM on December 6, 2019

Do a simple, 3-card tarot reading. I often do my readings with a notebook nearby. I'll pull my cards, look them over and note down any immediate/personal imagery or resonances, and then look them up in my tarot reference books to see if my immediate responses match or differ. I find this interesting and I like having a record of the reading to look back on at a later date.

Do a full-body moisturising routine. Take a quick, hot shower and then slather every body part you can reach in something that smells good. Pay particular attention to your feet.

Do a guided meditation. I often find a meditation I'd like to do on a podcast or on youtube and follow along. I'm terrible at self-directed meditation since I ALWAYS fall asleep but I like to follow a guide.

Depending on what time you get out of work, look up what time sunset or moonrise is at and take a walk at that time to look at the sky.

If you have a dog, work with your dog to teach them a specific new trick. Half an hour of high-engagement, high-reward training will bring you closer together and tire them out, too.

Stop by Sephora or a department store on your way home and smell some perfumes. Take home samples and try to identify the different notes. You might find a new favorite scent, but even if you hate everything you smell it's fun to become more knowledgeable. Plus you can try really expensive perfumes this way.

Listen to the Desert Oracle Radio podcast. The first 45 or so episodes are all 28 minutes long, the host has a great voice, and the subject matter is delightfully weird. My favorite podcast!
posted by DSime at 2:18 PM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have never been a fan of audio books because I get distracted like a beautiful butterfly but I have found what totally works for me is listening to memoirs by funny people, like Amy Poehler or Mindy Kaling, who are awesome at reading their work and also don’t require much community because chapters are short, hilarious and it does not really matter if I space out for a minute and miss something. I would totally recommend this as something to look forward to, perhaps in combination with making tea and eating snacks or going on a little walk around the neighborhood.
posted by pie_seven at 3:30 PM on December 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

My contributions:

Watch an episode of NPR's Tiny Desk concerts! They are so, so good and fun to discover new music. Recommendations of my faves: Tank and the Bangas, Toro & Moi, the Mountain Goats, there are so many good ones!! Mywife and I had a period where we would watch these on Saturday morning while we had coffee.

Writing a card or postcard to someone you love! I keep an online address book at Postable.com to make it easy and you can also choose cards on there, type your message and have them sent as an actual paper card.

Picking a quote I like and using my large collection of pens and markers to write it in my journal and make it as beautiful as possible.

Read a few chapters of a totally silly garbage book in your preferred genre, mine rightnow is 1990s romance - they are AWFUL, but so diverting.

Give yourself a pretty manicure. I do nail strengthener, base coat, and a few coats of a clear polish with some kind of glitter in it, because then when it chips you can't tell so it lasts longer.

Make a yarn wall hanging. We did this as a cozy craft at a party I had and it was a huge hit. All you need are sticks and some various pretty yarns and scissors. You can cut lengths of the yarn and tie them to the stick and then make them whatever length and shape you want. It's a fast craft and doesn't take a ton of skill or detail work, and it's satisfying to have the finished product.

Seconding the Good Place.

Make a ten song playlist for a faraway friend to send to them and make a connection, or make one to express your feelings.

I sometimes play with watercolors. All you need is the paints, paintbrushes, and watercolor paper. I mostly just do pretty washes in different colors or quotes, and then I make them into cards, write letters on them, or give them to people.
posted by fairlynearlyready at 5:10 PM on December 6, 2019 [6 favorites]

There's a simple game called planarity (alternate version) where you untangle a web by dragging the nodes around. The more starting nodes you ask for, the longer it takes to untangle. That link is an old web version but there are phone app versions too. It's one of my go-to's for small calming games/clear-cut tasks.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:56 AM on December 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

As far as short-burst podcasts go I really like Futility Closet - "forgotten stories from the pages of history", which is a lot more interesting than it sounds. The episodes are only 30 mins long, hosted by a husband and wife team with pleasing voices (at least I find them pleasing); they have very simple soothing music cues, and end with a lateral thinking puzzle.

Nthing The Good Place and Stardew Valley.
posted by andraste at 1:52 PM on December 8, 2019

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