Nights In

So you’ve probably reached that stage part way through the semester where you have either run out of money or partied out enough to have a night away from the clubs & pubs or entertainment venues. Or maybe you have a lecture in the morning or work to get to.

If that’s the case, here’s a few things you can to do keep that night out spirit going, without having to leave the front door (unless it’s to go to a friends house).

Film or Box Set Night

Nothing beats a good social film night and with films being cheaper to buy or rent in and options becoming more accesible by the day (DVD, Blu-Ray, Stream or Download via a video service) the price of a ticket to see it at the cinema doesn’t seem as appealing (though the bigger AV system does seem nice unless you’re lucky enough to have a home cinema system and a projector of your own!)

So make some popcorn in your machine/pan/microwave, turn up your speakers, drop your lights down to minimal (or just turn off the “big light”), get out the bean bags and floor cushions and enjoy a film or two with your friends!

A word to the wise, if you’re watching an action movie late at night, drop the subwoofer (if you have one) a few decibels if you want to keep the neigbours on your side! (Save it for the party nights ūüėČ )

Games Night

Depending on your interests, this can take many forms, but all follow the same basic principles. Find a format of game you all like (playing cards, board games, video games or make a game of your own), decide on a game to play and pick your rules. If you want to add a little twist to it more more excitement you can always make forefits to your games – for those that like to drink and gamble, more than just card games can deliver this (not that I condone or condem this of course, you make your own choice), or for the more family friendly option make a rule for something simple like doing the housework or paying for takeaway (heaven help your bank account!)

If you enjoyed your night as much as a night out, why not make it a regular thing? For Instance:

  • You could create your own FIFA tornament
  • Have a Sunday night meetup online Destiny/Left For Dead/Team Fortress/GTA/Any other multiplayer game that supports a few of you.
  • Have a regular tabletop session of Exploding Kittens/Million Dollars But/Cards Against Humanity/Bears vs Babies/Secret Hitler/Joking Hazard (but not all at once unless you’re pulling an all nighter).
  • Blow the dust of your old EyeToy/Wii/Kinect/Dancemat
  • Do a board game torunament (Scrabble/Monopoly/Boggle/Cluedo)
  • Do a real life tournament (Wheelbarrow Jousting Race!?! – definitely not for the faint hearted!)
  • Have an tabletop RPG night.
  • Arrange a murder mystery night, where you’re given a character in advance and you follow the scenario from the moment you walk through the front door.

Whatever you choose, play responsibly, have fun and try not to destroy any flat panelled screens!

Have a Communal Meal/Takeaway Night

Whether you and your friends all live together or in seperate accomodation everyone is so busy with their own schedules, you never get around to haivng a proper sit down meal and if your loan has run out and the bank of mum and dad isn’t quite paying out as much as it used to, a Sunday roast every week isn’t going to happen (it certainly doesn’t for me and I graudated first time 5 years ago!)

With that in mind, going out for a meal isn’t always an option for meeting up, so why not have one at home instead? If you can cook, all chip in towards it or if you want a real communal feel all pitch to bring something to share together. If you’re not the greatest cook, why not keep it low key and buy elements of it or all chip in for a takaway meal? You’ll soon find out that ordering 4 large pizzas between 6 of you works out much cheaper sometimes that ordering a large one for yourself and you also don’t have to choose between different topping sets when you could have 4 (8 if you go half and half).

Combine this with either good talk and whitty banter or one of the options above and you’ve got a great night sorted. Easy!

Create Something New

Many great creative projects spring from inspiration, boredom or great conversation – so why not act on some of those proposals on a free night? YouTube/Vimeo/Daily Motion channels, blogs, bands have all begun from a simple bit of free time.

If you’re a budding motion picture person, pick up a pencil and start storyboarding or drawing a frame of animation. If you’re more of a documentary or vlogging type, charge up your camera and pick somewhere to film.

If you’re more an arts and crafts person, maybe team up and create a piece for the household or each other’s apartments. Create your own photo poster or art collage. Whatever items you’ve got, recycle them into something interesting. If you plan it in advance, treat it simiar to the meal night and all bring different materials.

If you’re more of a music maker, maybe grab and instrument and strum out some chords or lyrics with your friends, you never know you might just end up with the start of a new song. If you’re more for just performing great work and want to play with others, see if any of your friends play too and have a jam session. I’ve seen many great collaborations and bands form from both my time at uni (I suppose with my studies often being based in a studio helped) and at work through just playing together for a couple of nights.

Perhaps you’re more of a writer. Whilst blogtober is coming to an end, it’s never to late to sign up for a free platform like Blogspot or WordPress and get your voice out to the world (have a look at the hashtags #blogtober or #blogtober16 on Twitter if you want some ideas to get started). If blogging isn’t your type of writing have a look at some of the more traditional methods. with fanfiction and poetry being everwhere on the internet these days, why not join the trend and collab at building a story. Sites like Poems & Quotes or Figment are great communities where you can swap and share your work and discuss each other’s pieces too if your friends can’t stick around.

Whatever your craft, try it out whilst you have the time and share it with your friends, you never know what you might make.

Sleep

It sounds a bit of a cop-out to this list, but let’s be honest – as a studnet you like your sleep right? So if none of the above appeal to you, you don’t feel like hitting the town and you can’t think of anything else to do, why not grab an early night? This doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t sleep in like a rockstar, you just get to unwind after a busy day and store up a few whisps of engergy for your next day of adventure.

 

If you like the occasional night off from partying, what do you like to do? Feel free to leave a comment down below and have fun…but not too much fun.

 

Mike

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Feeling Homesick or Alone

Hey everyone. After watching a recent video, I really thought this would be a great time to post this topic, just as the realities of university will be sinking in for newbies to the student life and for those returning students that may have moved in on their own for the first time or indeed any time.

Living away from home can be a life changing¬†experience, but as with every up, comes it’s down sometimes. After a few weeks it’s perfectly normal to miss life at home ¬†and sometimes feel a little homesick.

Alternatively, it can sometimes feel lonely if you live on your own or your friend and significant others are away for a long period of time. You might even feel lonely when others are around  (for instance being single around people in relationships, the general feeling of being in a new place with nobody you know or other more personal reasons).

To help you combat this unpleasant feeling, here’s five different suggestions to help you on your way to feeling yourself again.

A big shout out to great The Huffington Post, The Guardian & KEEPINSPIRING.ME for the helpful examples and to the very lovely Hannah Witton with this video for inspiring me to add my own experience and compile this list.

Keep Busy

Sounds obvious right? But honestly, a common prerequisite to loneliness¬†is doing nothing. Not doing anything productive or entertaining, often leads to boredom, boredom leads to internal contemplation, contemplation leads to realisation and then you reach the penny drop that you’re there. Alone. And it’s not cool. And left to fester, it gets quite depressing. So how do we avoid this decline?

Do stuff.

Don’t worry, I won’t just leave you contemplating that. You should do something you either enjoy or you feel benefits you. This could be a hobby, some housework , some studying, going to the gym, anything that will keep your mind and body occupied and off that other subject we mentioned earlier.

Immerse Yourself In Another Universe

If you don’t feel socially fulfilled in this world, transport yourself in a fantasy one where you can connect with other character or indeed other real players around the world. Read a new or favourite book and let yourself get lost in the world and the actions of the characters described. Watch a non-easy watching film in the dark and experience the drama as it unfolds around you, or contrast with something comedic (after all laughter is meant to be the best medicine!). Log onto a game server (RPG, FPS and MMO games will be great for this) and become somebody else for a few hours. You never know you might meet other like minded people along the way and both indulge in the great life away from life together (or just blow up each other to smithereens!)

Don’t Get Drunk Whilst Lonely

You see it happen in the movies and it it looks like it’s a good solution, but what they’re really going through is kept off camera. Alcohol is naturally a depressant, both physically and ¬†psychologically, though how it affects people is different to each individual and depends on a lot of variables (making it already a bad idea). My personal experience with large amounts of alcohol is that it’s like an amplifier for emotions. So in a parallel universe where I’m sober, if I’m having a good time, in the drunk one I’m having a blast! However in this case, if I was lonely, I’d be a bit down sober, so I’d feel much worse after a number of drinks – therefore negating the whole point. That and you’ll feel the hangover the next day extending your gloom further.

Go Exploring

When I recently became single, I didn’t find the idea of sitting in a bedroom all day too appealing. I wanted to get out and at least explore more of the county I was in. Considering I don’t (yet) drive I had to rely on public transport – and this turned out to be a great thing. I could pick a different destination on the map every few weeks and take off to somewhere else using the money that would have otherwise been spent as a couple. Not that you can’t do this if you’re in a relationship, just make sure you budget carefully so as not to miss out on opportunities when you spend time with your SO. If you’re not sure where to go or you’ve just moved to a new location and therefore know little about your immediate environment, pick a random place that looks interesting and take off. Just make sure that somebody knows where you are though if you do this.

Seek Out Your Family or Your Closest Friends

Your family are the support network you’ll never lose and your closest friends are the ones you get to pick. In today’s connected world, most people have access to communication of some kind (from top of the line video conferencing to a simple land-line¬†phone or nearby phone box/booth/thing). Just a few respective characters and you can have somebody on the other end of the line to converse with and talk to. If phone calls or video chatting aren’t your thing, have a kitty for trips home. A brief trip back to home life can often be the thing to get you back on track. One word of advice though, keep to the three week rule when you first move out (if you have). If not, you won’t be so much of a “home bird” ¬†as somebody that doesn’t leave the nest (which is always worth trying out in life! Once you’re used to it, a whole new world opens up for you!)

 

I hope this post has some great advice for you and if you struggle with feeling lonely or homesick I strongly encourage you to check out the links above and to follow these tips. Feeling lonely can affect everyone at any point in their life. Nobody should ever feel embarrassed about it and nobody deserves to suffer in silence. 

Don’t hide it, Don’t ignore it.

 

Thanks for reading and I’ll post another slightly more positive post again on Tuesday.

 

Mike

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