So you want to go out and experience the world, but you don’t want to accumulate a bunch of stuff or spend a lot while doing it. Here are some relaxing things to do that require little or no stuff in order to do them:
A fantastic, low impact form of exercise that you could probably stand-up and do right now. Explore your local area. Get lost in your own town. Don’t go out with a place in mind, just wander and see where you end up.
We all gotta eat. Look up some recipes online. There are plenty of things you can cook which are much easier than you think. Try bannock, it’s the easiest bread you can bake: 3 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, add enough water to make a thick dough. Chuck the whole lot into a frying pan over low heat. Flip it when the base is done. All-in-all it takes about 40 minutes. You can make it more interesting by adding fruit to the mix, which we do to use up fruits that’s beginning to turn.
3. Write a Letter
I know I love to receive things in the mail, so why not give someone else that pleasure? It doesn’t have to be a greatly scripted tome, just a little note will be well appreciated. I think that taking the time to actually pen a letter shows you care more than sending an email or text.
4. Listen to a Podcast
Itunes is full of free podcasts on pretty much every topic imaginable. The BBC also puts all of its latest radio shows up on the iplayer for a week. There are plenty of other sources. Find something you’ll enjoy listening to and kick-back for a while.
Tackle a cluttered area in your house. It could be as small as a drawer or as large as a room. Whatever it is, go through it and ask yourself if the items in there add any value to your life. This is a great cleansing activity to do.
There’s nothing quite like a hot, relaxing shower. Pamper yourself a little.
It’s as simple as sitting comfortably and focusing on your breathing. Random thoughts will pop into your head. Just let them come and go, only give your attention to your breathing, not what you need to pick up from the grocery later. Try and spend at least 15 minutes meditating.
There’s a good chance you’ve got some booking lying about that you’ve been meaning to get round to reading. Read them now. If you’ve read all your books then:
9. Swap Stuff
So you’ve de-cluttered and read all your books. Encourage your friends to do the same by hosting a swap party. Get them to bring all their unwanted stuff because one man’s junk is another’s treasure. I do this with books quite regularly but you can do it with pretty much everything else. If your friends don’t have anything that you need then there are websites that’ll help you reach a wider audience (Freecycle, Swapz and Craigslist to name but a few).
10. Have A Yard Sale
For the more entrepreneurial among us, or those that would rather get rid of stuff than replace it, selling your unwanted things is a great way to clear stuff out for good. Plus you get a nice little cash injection to boot.
11. Learn a Language
I’ve already talked about the benefits of just saying hello. If you want to make a deeper connection then you’ll benefit from expanding your vocabulary. There are plenty of free podcasts out there that’ll help you get started in a language. Also the BBC has online audio and video courses for several different languages.
12. Start a Herb Garden
Having plants in the house are a great benefit to your mental health. Having plants you can eat are even better. All you need is some windowsill space, some pots, soil and seeds. You could even buy the plants ready grown if you wish. Just make sure they’re regularly watered and have good drainage. Here’s a handy reference chart for herbs and their various uses.
One of those activities where everybody enjoys the results, but not everyone enjoys the doing. If you fall into the camp of those who don’t enjoy cleaning, just visual having a clean and tidy apartment. Now take the easy steps to making that vision a reality.
Most towns have a local pool. Find yours. Splashing about in the water is not only fun, but it’s one of the best forms of exercise you can do. It takes pressure off aching joints and it works most of your major muscle groups. Just be sure to rinse yourself off properly when you get out.
15. Have a Scavenger Hunt
Create a list of 20+ random objects to find. Give out copies to your friends. Set a time limit. Whoever finds the most/best objects wins. Be creative with the objects on your list, they needn’t be too literal.
16. Plan a Treasure Hunt
This is something I really enjoy. Write a bunch of clues with each leading to the next. This can go on as long or short as you like. They can be as wide-ranging as you want. This is a great way to build anticipation if you have a gift for someone.
17. Make a Fort
This is always fun. Take down all your pillows and blankets and make a fort. The kitchen table will provide a good structure if you’re not engineerially inclined. Do your taxes or reply to emails in there. It makes otherwise mundane activities that little bit more enjoyable.
18. Take a Nap
Napping has some pretty impressive benefits. It improves mood, performance and health. There’s also evidence to suggest that we’re supposed to take naps. So if you’re going to settle down to one, try to find a quiet, darkened place to lie down. You want your nap to be either less than 45 minutes or around 90. The period between this is deep sleep. Waking up during deep sleep will make you feel groggy and tired for at least 30 minutes after waking up. A handy benefit is that caffeine takes 20-30 minutes to take effect, so drink some coffee before a short nap and you’ll get an added boost of energy when you wake.
This is a very cheap and productive thing to do with your time. Either grab and pen and paper, or just open a word processor. You could do a ‘stream of thought’ piece, just writing whatever comes to mind, or you could start a journal, or even begin your first novel!
20. Have a Sing-a-long
Select a song you love, crank up the volume and croon along with it to your heart’s content. Youtube has plenty of song videos with lyrics if you want to fire-up your own home karaoke.
21. Stretch / Practice Yoga
A nice low impact activity that you don’t need a great deal of training to do. Just set aside 10 or 20 minutes to focus on some areas you hold a lot of tension in.
22. Try Birdwatching
You can do this in your backyard by hanging bird feeders and waiting for the birds to come to you or you can go and visit a nature reserve. The RSPB in the UK has many reserves across the UK with pretty good facilities, including comfy hides which often include some books on bird ID. You don’t need any fancy equipment just head out there and see what you can spot.
23. Visit Art Galleries
Art galleries are, for me, areas of surprising calm in often chaotic city centers. Many are free to enter and easy to find. If you’re not a big fan of art, they’re great places for people watching as well.
24. Have A Games Night
Whip out those board games you’ve got lying around. If you don’t have any, you might have a pack of cards handy. If you don’t have any of the above, variations of many popular board games can be played for free online. It’s not quite so cozy to gather around the glow of the laptop monitor but whatever works for you is fine. Just because you haven’t played it for a while it doesn’t mean it’s any less fun.
25. Look Out For Local Events.
Check out local paper or craigslist and Meetup for things that are going on in your area. Going to events you like the look of is a great way of meeting people who have similar interests to you.
26. Visit Gardens and Parks.
Just 5 minutes in a green area can have a big positive influence on your state of mind. So get out into green areas near you. Find somewhere close you can visit regularly. Just walk around, maybe pick a spot for a picnic. Bring a ball or frisbee and some friends and have fun in the sun.
27. Rearrange Your Furniture.
Shifting around the furniture in a room can greatly change the way you feel about that room. It’s said that a change is as good as a rest. I find that after I’ve rearranged a room I always have a new appreciation for the space I live in. Just remember to lift with your knees and not with your back.
Volunteer to help in your local area. There are nearly always organizations that need an extra pair of hands to help out with something. Not only does it feel great to invest energy into helping other people, you get to meet and work with other fantastic, helpful people like yourself!
29. Plant A Tree
The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now. Like the herb garden, you could either plant seeds or buy a sapling. Either way, make sure you plant it in an area that won’t require the tree to be removed in twenty years time.
30. Start A Blog
There are plenty of platforms that offer free, simple-to-start blogs. The big two are wordpress and blogspot. There are plenty others out there. Everybody has something they’re passionate and knowledgeable about. Pick your own and start writing. A great way to help direct readers towards your blog is to comment on other blogs in the same area as your own.
Do you have any more activities to share?