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You could go home after work or school, turn on the TV, and spend your evening vegging out on the couch—or you could do something more engaging and beneficial for your health and happiness. This is where a hobby comes in handy.
Not sure where to start? I’ve got you covered. These hobbies will help you de-stress, learn something new, and lead a more fulfilling, varied life.
1. Get in the Kitchen
You need to eat every day, so you might as well turn cooking and baking into a hobby. Order out less often and spend some time each week cultivating your cooking skills. Try your hand at a variety of dishes in order to become a well-rounded chef—and don’t be lazy about it. Go for fresh ingredients and from-scratch recipes. (Otherwise you aren’t really cooking.) Every adult should have a specialty dish.
If you’re not sure where to start, browse through Pinterest for recipes that appeal to you and give them a shot on the weekends. You can also take a cooking class if there are any in your area. Personally, I love going to my mom for cooking and baking advice. If you know a great cook, ask them to teach you the basics so you can start confidently.
2. Get Moving
Go for maximum health benefits by adopting a physical activity as your hobby of choice. Everything from yoga to running, dance to weight lifting, and ice skating to aerial yoga can be done to de-stress and create a healthier body (and mind). Doing activities you enjoy promotes better emotional and mental health, and making those activities physical creates the ultimate in healthy living.
I’m a huge fitness nut. I like to lift weights, run before work, and come home to do about 30 minutes of yoga. This allows me to counteract the aches and pains I feel from sitting at a desk all day. You don’t have to be as obsessive as I am, though. Doing a physical activity once or twice a week is all it takes to reap the benefits.
3. Get Creative
Don’t be afraid to choose a creative hobby. You don’t need to be super talented or a visionary to spend time drawing, writing, taking photos, or doing calligraphy. If it’s something you have an appreciation for and want to become better at, then go for it. You can start practicing on your own or take a class for beginners to learn the basics. Skillshare is a great tool for learning new skills. They offer classes on everything from watercolor art to mobile development.
You can also look for classes through local colleges, community centers, libraries, and museums.
4. Get Messy
Some hobbies require you get your hands dirty, which only makes them all the more fun. If you don’t mind a little dirt under your nails, then think about taking up painting, pottery, or gardening. You’ll need to find a pottery studio or a place that holds lessons to learn the basics of the art, but the unique mugs and bowls you make will be worth it.
Painting is something you can jump into on your own just for fun, but structured lessons are beneficial if you want to truly understand the foundation of painting. If you want to garden, pick up a few books that explain everything to beginners. You don’t even need a backyard to start gardening. A few pots and a little space for them is all you need to begin growing flowers, veggies, and herbs to your heart’s content.
5. Get Crafty
Do you have a hard time doing something if it doesn’t yield a tangible result or reward? Learning to sew, knit, crochet, or make jewelry could be the hobby you need. All of these skills are easy to learn as a newbie and will leave you with a finished product you can use afterward.
Look for books on the craft you want to learn, find the supplies at your local craft store, and get started. I learned to make jewelry at only 11, so I know just how easy it is to figure out once you’ve got a handle on the pliers, wires, and clamps. I also taught myself how to knit and crochet in college with the use of a book. If I could do it, then you absolutely can do it too.
6. Get Outside
Let’s face it: No one spends enough time in the great outdoors. It’s a shame, honestly. But it can be remedied by choosing a hobby that takes you out in the sunshine and fresh air. Some great options include hiking, rock climbing, fishing, biking, and participating in organized sports.
Pretty much all of these can be done on your own, but it’s a good idea to have someone teach you the ins and outs of rock climbing. Attend a climbing center to try everything out in a cushion space or ask a seasoned friend to take you on their next adventure.
7. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
It’s easy to choose hobbies you’re familiar with or can already do on your own. It’s not always the best route, though. If you’ve been doing this and feel less than enthused about your current hobbies, then consider really putting yourself out there. You can volunteer with local animal shelters or organizations, take an acting class, sign up to learn a foreign language, pick up a new instrument, learn how to code, or even start a blog. All of these hobbies are ambitious, but sometimes you need to really go for it in order to reap the rewards of a lower-stress, higher-happiness life.
If none of these suggestions speak to you, think about the topics that interest you. Maybe you love wine and want to learn more about how the different types are made. Maybe you find history of the English monarchy fascinating and want to start reading every book you can find on it. Whatever really sparks your curiosity, find a way to turn it into a hobby. You’ll find yourself more content with the way you spend your time and what’s going on in your life.