I think you are saying 2-5nl meaning $500 is 100bb's?
If that is the case then you need to play a supremely tight strategy. Its full ring, so you can afford to fold a lot.
Your UTG range should be something like JJ+, AK. MP is like TT+, AJs+, AQo+. CO is like.... maybe 99+, KTs+, KQo+, BTN you can get nice and loos with like 88+, QTs+, KJo+, and around those same ranges in the blinds.
Play a tight game and be hyper aggressive. It cannot be true that the players are both recreational and respect bets from short stacks. If they are recreational and they see a bet they will want to see what you have and you can make some money.
Once you have gotten to around 85bb's you need to start getting to your normal 100bb strategy. Play a nice tight game still, super tight UTG but you can start to play some suited connectors in the BTN and CO.
And don't complain about boring or simplistic. Short stack play IS BORING AND SIMPLISTIC if you are doing it right. If you play interesting and dynamic with a short stack then you can just sit at the table and dispense your chips to the crowd with a smile.