The NoSurf Activities List:
When newcomers first discover our community, one of the first questions that commonly arise is “If I stop mindlessly browsing the internet, what am I going to do all day?” It’s a question that illustrates just how dependent we’ve grown on the devices around us: we have trouble fathoming what life would be like with out them.
Fortunately, there are countless answers to the question. There’s a whole world out there on the other side of our screens. It’s a world that won’t give you instant short term pleasure. It doesn’t appeal to our desire for instant gratification. But what it does offer us is worth so much more. Fulfillment, happiness, and meaning are within your grasp, and this list of activities serves as a gateway into the world in which they can be found.
Naturally not every activity on this list will appeal to you or get you excited. Instead of expecting this list to be perfectly tailored to your interests, it’s best to think of it as a source of inspiration, and a symbol of possibility. It’s a starting point from which you’ll be able to embark on your own journey of exploration, growth, and learning to discover the activities that bring you joy.
- “Cooking is one of the strongest ceremonies for life. When recipes are put together, the kitchen is a chemical laboratory involving air, fire, water and the earth. This is what gives value to humans and elevates their spiritual qualities. If you take a frozen box and stick it in the microwave, you become connected to the factory.” – Laura Esquivel
- /r/cooking | /r/baking
- “You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them, and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words.” – Erin Morgenstern
- Check out WritingPrompts for fun daily practice that helps you grow and become a better writer
- /r/writing | /r/WritingPrompts/
- “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” – Walt Disney
- Although commonly a solo activity, you can also look into joining a local book club or starting your own
- “Dance is the hidden language of the soul.” – Martha Graham
- Look into dance schools in your area or start by following along with one of thousands of tutorials on youtube
- Participate in local game nights or start one
- Look into local boardgame cafes, libraries, MeetUp groups, etc. Discord will have a lot of social tabletop and board gaming groups if there’s nothing in your area, and there are a vast amount of soloable board games and tabletops.
- /r/boardgames/ | Board Game Geek | Watch It Played | Table Top Simulator | Tabletopia
- “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” ‒ Nelson Mandela
- You can get started with Duolingo learning the language of your choice
- /r/languagelearning/ | Duolingo
Learn to sing/play an instrument
- “Few occupations pass the solitary hours more fruitfully than the playing of a musical instrument.” – Stephen Hough
- Look into getting lessons by a professional in your area or start by learning online
- /r/singing | /r/guitar | JustinGuitar | /r/piano/ | Beginner Piano Course
- “I sometimes think there is nothing so delightful as drawing.” – Vincent van Gogh
- /r/art | Draw a Box | Bob Ross | Proko drawing/painting lessons
- “Everyone should learn how to code, because it teaches you how to think.” – Steve Jobs
- /r/learnprogramming/ | Code Academy | Free Code Camp
- “My origami creations, in accordance with the laws of nature, require the use of gemoetry, science, and physics. They also encompass religion, philosophy, and biochemistry. Overall, I want you to discover the joy of creation by your own hand. The possibility of creation from paper is infinite.” – Akira Yoshizawa
- /r/origami | Jo Nakashima origami tutorials
- “Calligraphy is a kind of music not for the ears, but for the eyes.” – V. Lazursky
- /r/calligraphy | /r/PenmanshipPorn/
- “Animation means to invoke life, not to imitate it.” – Chuck Jones
- “The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.” – Alfred Austin
- /r/gardening | /r/IndoorGarden/ | /r/vegetablegardening/
- Make your own clothes and let your creativity roam free. The possibilities are endless
- /r/sewing/ | /r/sewhelp | coolirpa channel
- “Knitting is the saving of life.” – Virginia Woolf
- /r/knitting/ | /r/casualknitting/ | /r/embroidery | Sheep & Stitch channel
- “Makeup is no different than clothes and accessories – it’s embellishments for your face. And it also gives you creative freedom. You get to have that moment in front the mirror every morning and give yourself self-love. You’re making yourself up beautiful, which is essentially self-love.” – Michelle Phan
- You can lay down on the bed or couch and relax while listening to a good audiobook. Check with your local library to see if they have audiobooks available (most do)
- /r/audiobooks/ | 1000 Free Audio Books | Audible
- Take anything you’re interested (self-improvement, relationships, sports, history, science, etc.) and you can be sure there’s an entire podcast on the topic
- /r/podcasts/ | Best Podcast Apps
- Choose from the many awesome indoor hobbies listed above
- If you have pets, maybe do something to treat them. Spend some time playing with your cat, etc. whatever makes your pet happy, do that for a while
- Plan your week/day and create goals you’re committed to accomplishing
- Catch up on laundry, cleaning, etc.
- Catch up/study if you are in school
- Work on organizing/eliminating your belongings
- Work on a bucket list of things you’d like to do
- Restaurant hopping. This is basically a guided tour where you can try out multiple restaurants in one evening.
- Visit a nature park
- Visit a zoo/aquarium
- Visit a local farm and collect fresh produce on their fields for a small fee
- Go swimming in a local (designated for swimming) lake, beach, or indoors/outdoors pool
- Go to the sauna
- Visit some gardens (Some cities have amazing botanical gardens with multiple greenhouses with exotic plants)
- Visit an amusement/entertainment park (roller-coasters)
- Go to see a movie at a movie theatre
- Go see a play at a theatre or go to an opera
- Visit a local planetarium and learn about the stars
- Take a guided tour of big city
- Visit a museum in your area. There is a wide array of museums; food museums, computer game museums, art museums, historic museums..
- Go pick up garbage in local parks, forests etc. (Some cities have groups and dates for this kind of stuff)
- Go nature journaling. Grab a notebook, go outside, draw some plants or other stuff you encounter.
- Ride a bike. Many cities have some green areas with nice biking paths. Maybe even mountain biking or dirtbiking?
- Try geo-caching or Pokemon-Go
- See if there are any interesting events in your area – maybe a festival, or a flea market, or concerts, or standup comedy, or poetry slams
- Lay outside in the sun, just relax
- Offer to mow your elderly neighbor’s lawn or help them in some other way (this probably depends a lot on your neighborhood…) or mow your own lawn
- Explore your town. Go into bookstores, antique shops, etc. Window shop: you don’t have to buy anything
- Take your dog swimming or to a field to run around in
Cycling / Mountain biking
- Check on Meetup, your local gyms, and with your town to get more information about joining a league/group (badminton, bowling, racquetball, basketball, soccer, rugby, flag football, tennis, volleyball etc.)
- “A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.” – Mahatma Gandhi
- Read Mindfulness in Plain English
- “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin
- /r/books | Amazon books
- Diary, planning/goal-setting, activity scheduling, reflective journalling, thought diaries
- Bullet journaling for beginners
- /r/Journaling/ | /r/bulletjournal | /r/bujo/
Self improvement and continued learning
- Visit the local library and check out some great books on any skill you’d like to develop (they have it all)
- Do some workshops at a local university or institute (They usually take one day or an entire weekend. There are countless ones, going from programming to game development and game jams, to cooking or calligraphy or making your own fancy chocolates)
- Look if the local school/university/organization has some interesting (free/guest open) lectures (Especially non-profits often invite some guest speakers for some interesting stuff)
- Free Stanford Courses | MIT OpenCourseWare | Coursera
Giving back to your community
- Visit your local animal shelter. Most of them need regular walkers for their dogs. Sign up, and take a dog for a walk!
- Look if your city has some opportunities to engage yourself socially/volunteer. For many cities that means working with homeless people or refugees/immigrants, helping kids do their homework and give them additional tutoring, helping disabled people, assisting old people with their groceries, .. Some even have opportunities to help disabled and traumatized people have animal therapy with horses and dogs, or you can help train dogs to become guide dogs etc.
A thank you to the contributors
This inspiring list was made possible by combining the contributions of: /u/anthymnx, /u/stdin_stdout_stderr, /u/Bdi89, /u/iridescentlichen, /u/hu_lee_oh, /u/V2G2, /u/getkaizer, /u/kelekona, /u/dak4f2, /u/MunchingCass, /u/TiffanyHoran. Without them this list would not exist, thank you.
Contributing to the list
If you have some ideas you think might be a good fit for the list you can post in The NoSurf Activities List suggestion thread after reading the submission guidelines. Ideas will be reviewed regularly by the mod team taking into aspects like originality, quality, broad applicability, etc. in order to maintain a degree quality and consistency to the list. Please understand that not all ideas and suggestions will make it to the official list. If you’d like to share your activity ideas with the community, regardless of whether they make it to the official list, feel free to create a thread in the subreddit to inspire fellow NoSurfers.