3 Fun Activities to Get You Out of The House

So, in an ongoing effort to stave off the effects of depression and anxiety, I’ve been trying to take steps to change my lifestyle here and there to better facilitate my emotional health. I recently started a new anti-depressant/anti-anxiety treatment, I’ve been actively cutting out people and things that may cause me undue stress, and I’m starting to listen more to my own sense of comfort – favoring an “if it feels good, do it” mentality over fretting over what society will think.

But, in addition to all that, I’m also making an effort to try an overcome my mild to moderate demophobia and disdain for social interactions by trying to force myself to go outside more often. The only problem is – and I imagine this a problem for A LOT of people with social anxiety – that unless you need to go shopping or something, there’s often little reason to leave the comfort of your bedroom/living room/personal office (I have very little living space; shut up).

So, I’ve been attempting to find and rediscover some old out outdoor activities to help get me outside, be more physically active, and socializing with humanity again. So far, I’ve come across three viable fun-time adventures to go on.

Urban Hiking

Yes, nature is pretty. But a skyline can be nice to look at too.
Source: Liz Thomas Hiking

My Father is a bit of a mountaineer. He’s hiked along almost every major mountain trail in New Hampshire and he’s been very encouraging to try and get me to join him.

The problem is that I live in the middle of the city with very little time to devote to traveling to the mountains. But who’s to say you can’t enjoy a hike through the city?

Sure, some people may scoff at the idea. But if you find it difficult to get to a nature trail, urban hiking may just suit you. Not only does it get you into a social setting, but you may just be surprised at what you find on your travels. I’ve been on hikes through college towns with lots of shops packed together and found places that I end up coming back to later; thrift stores, cafes, etc.

Most Urban Hikers seem to favor places with lots of stairs and hills to simulate the incline of a mountain trail, but you can always choose the path that best suits your level of expertise. It all makes for a more travel-friendly, lower-risk social activity.

Geocaching

“I found treasure… WITH MY PHONE.”
Source: Janesville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

One part hike, one part treasure hunt, and one part time capsule. Geocaching is the high tech way to wander the world in search of fresh new sights.

What’s nice about geocaching is how accessible it is. People have quite literally hidden these little boxes of surprise goodies that they trade from one cache to the next EVERYWHERE; in cities, on nature trails, in cemeteries, in parking lots – if you can covertly fit a container big enough to hold a logbook of some kind in it, someone has likely done so. As such, there’s no shortage of options to fit your skill level. All you need is a phone with a GPS and the drive to explore.

What’s more, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of coming across an item in a cache with a tracking number on it so you can see where it’s been. On my first outing, I found a keychain from the Hard Rock Cafe in Singapore with such a tracker. It had gone up the west coast from the southern tip of California to Washington state, leaped to mid-state New York, and again to New Hampton here in New Hampshire. I then left it in a cache in Maine to complete its coast-to-coast journey and, last I saw, it was somewhere in Texas.

The only catch is that you have to exercise a little stealth while playing as any non-players (referred to, much to the delight of Harry Potter fans, as Muggles) may be inclined to tamper with or even steal the cache. So tread lightly and stay aware.

Battle Gaming

All the action of a Dungeons & Dragons game right in your face.
Source: Wikipedia

Do you miss the days when you and your friends would roughhouse in the yard, but don’t want to risk losing teeth to recreate the feeling? Do you like the look and action of LARPing, but can’t be arsed to deal with all that role-playing nonsense? Well, grab yourself some foam and get into the ring of battle games.

I got into this back in my convention days and it was a blast. Armed with foam-crafted blade and shield (called Boffers) and your nerves, you can now capture the feeling of charging into battle like the warriors of old.

The rules of battle differ depending on who’s organizing the events. Some are one-on-one gladiatorial battles. Others are large-scale wargames with competing tribes and armies. And each has different regulations on how boffers are crafted and what weapons are allowed. Though almost all of them are designed to minimize the risk of injury while letting players go wild.

With foam arrows flying through the air and people shield bashing their way through a crowd, it can get hectic. But with the light bruises comes a sense of pride and exhilaration as you face down the horde and stand your ground against the odds… even if it’s all just pretend and sport.

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Why We Happy Few Is The First Horror Game To Actually Horrify Me

Just a quickie to make up for technical issues yesterday. :D

Sad to say that I’ve been financially strapped lately. So, with fewer resources to dedicate to my sanity-maintaining hobbies and this year being more stressful than most (thanks for THAT, Brexit and 2016 election year), I’ve been focusing more on the trailers for the movies and games I can’t see/play just yet in anticipation.

That’s when I stumbled upon this little gem that flew under my radar.

We Happy Few is a survival horror game set in a dystopian 1960’s Britain where the Big Brother-Esque figure known as Uncle Jack uses aggressive marketing and even more aggressive law enforcement to force the citizens into staying high a flying squirrel on a euphoria-inducing psychoactive drug called ‘Joy’ in order to force others to forget their painful pasts and remain willfully ignorant of the real terrors around them.

Of course, anyone caught skipping their Joy is labeled as a ‘Downer’ and will be hunted down by police and citizens alike. Basically, think the classic Doctor Who episode The Happiness Patrol (complete with criticism of Thatcher-Era politics) with significantly fewer candy-coated cyborgs.

Now, I have a history with survival horror as a genre as they seem to do neither very well these days. You aren’t exactly struggling for survival when you’re armed like a space marine and the jump scares lose their edge after the 50th time. In We Happy Few, however, you’re essentially forced to walk among the very monsters that want you dead; creating a truly unnerving experience.

What’s more, it’s an experience that many of us can relate to. I have many close friends who suffer from social anxiety. I can only imagine that a game like this captures the feeling of being trapped among ‘normal’ people; feeling like the outsider that nobody wants and that everyone hates.

This game also touches a nerve for those who suffer from depression. Some days, you almost wish you could pop a pill that made you forget all of your pain. But then you have to realize that the comfortable lie may be even more dangerous than the harsh truth and that disillusioning yourself may just leave you more vulnerable.

I love good horror in all of its many forms because it forces me to face the ugliest sides of the world and arms people with the cold, hard truth. But, in terms of games, this may be the first and only horror game to truly fill me with dread.

Of course, I’m saying all of this before I’ve had the chance to play it. But given what I’ve heard so far, I’m clearly not alone in thinking this.

And let us never forget the moral of this game’s story; the tired meme of, “keep calm and carry on” is a crock. DON’T keep calm; your world is being run by liars, megalomaniacs, and sociopaths.