How Hobbies Can Benefit Mental Health *

AD, GIFTED | Setting aside time for ourselves and being able to focus on activities we enjoy can be difficult. There always seems to be something more precedent that we feel we need to do instead – which is often true. Whether that’s because we’re working or studying full-time, family commitments, or something else, it can become increasingly harder to get some much needed “me time”.

This is why finding a hobby you enjoy can be a great way to spend your “me time” and help you unwind from your daily routine. However, hobbies come in many forms so I’d recommend trying a few until you find one that works for you. Whether that’s something creative (like painting), physical (like yoga) or relaxing (like reading).

Research shows that hobbies can also have a positive effect on both your mental and physical health. With studies showing that people with hobbies are less likely to suffer from low moods, stress, and depression. Some hobbies can also slow the onset of dementia and distract from chronic pain.

How Hobbies Can Benefit Mental Health

They Give Us Something to Focus On

When you’re feeling stressed from work, school, or perhaps things going on at home, having something else to focus on can be invaluable. Which is why it’s important to fit in some “me time” or self care into your week. Hobbies can be a great way to focus our minds on something else and provide a distraction for a few hours. You can even set yourself mini goals for your hobbies – for example, learning a new piping technique if you’re a baker – which also gives you something more to focus on.

Help Reduce Anxiety

Hobbies can help you relax and unwind which in turn helps relieve stress and reduce anxiety. Which will have a great benefit to your mental health. Even something more strenuous such as a sporting activity can benefit your mental health. Even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. This is especially true for those activities that take you outside – when your stuck in an office or school building all day, a few hours of fresh air can do wonders.

Help Form Connections with Others

Whether you choose a social setting or join an online group. Your new hobby can be a great way to spend time with like-minded people while doing something enjoyable. Which in turn will help alleviate feelings of isolation or loneliness, and, who knows, you may even make some great friends along the way too.

Exercise the Brain

While your hobby will allow you to express your creativity and unwind, you’ll also be learning something new which is a great way to exercise the brain. Depending on the type of hobby you choose you may also develop new skills, find a way to monetize your hobby, or, for physical hobbies (such as sporting activities) also exercise the body as well. So hobbies not only greatly benefit your mental health but your physical health too.

How to find a hobby

There are many different kinds of hobbies so finding the right one for you may take some time. But a quick Google search is a good starting point and will give you a wide range of ideas, there may also be local clubs listed in your local newspaper or leisure centre. I’ve come up with a list of hobbies to get you started. 🙂

Cross Stitch or Embroidery

Lovecratfs.com* kindly sent me one of their penguin cross-stitch kits to review (more on that once I’ve completed it). It’s been a great distraction for me and given me something else to focus on, rather than mindlessly scrolling through social media. I’m looking forward to showing you all the completed design. 🐧

Engraving Art

I was first introduced to engraving art by Lauren of Bournemouth Girl when she completed her tiger design. I loved the look of it, and have since purchased a silver dolphin design and received a penguin one as a Christmas present. Like cross-stitch, this is something you can really immerse yourself in. I’m looking forward to working on these and will share them with you when they’re finished. 😊

Painting

Whether you start an art course at your local college or use on-line videos, painting is a great option for expressing your creative side. Even if you’re not a natural artist. In fact, there are many paint-by-numbers kits on the market which are perfect for beginners. Like this cherry blossom design, my friend Kelly recently completed.

Hiking

Not only does hiking get you out in nature – which as you may know has its own mental health benefits – it’s also a great form of exercise. I love exploring my local area and finding new hiking trails.

Jigsaw Puzzles

My mum loves jigsaw puzzles. She finds sorting through the puzzle pieces very therapeutic and enjoys seeing how the design progresses as she works on it. This is one of her most recent pieces – an abstract snake design.

Baking

I love baking! Especially coming up with new ideas for novelty cakes and improving my techniques. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon or evening. And you get to eat some delicious treats afterwards so it’s a win-win. 😉

Which of these hobbies appeals to you? Do you already have a hobby you enjoy? Perhaps one I haven’t mentioned?

10 Comments

  1. Holly

    June 4, 2020 at 09:27

    Oooh, I haven’t done engraving art for years! I remember I used to absolutely love it!! I also absolutely love doing jigsaw puzzles as well, although I don’t own any so I might have to get some (I usually do them with my parents when I go and stay!) xx

    Holly | http://www.gollymissholly.uk

  2. Kelly Diane

    March 16, 2020 at 11:11

    What a great post. I love getting crafty when I’m feeling anxious about something. I’ve been recently making a lot of pom poms because they are so simple to do.

  3. bournemouthgirl

    March 6, 2020 at 21:30

    What a great post! Hobbies are great to keep you busy and focused. When I am focused and being creative it can help with my anxiety x

  4. Emma

    February 25, 2020 at 13:13

    I love baking and puzzles. I’ve also got into calligraphy recently and am waiting for a new practice book to arrive today. I waste so much time watching TV mindlessly and crave being creative. I find it so soothing and it’s a great feeling of accomplishment once I finish something or learn something new. It’s also great for taking my mind off whatever is bothering me!

  5. Karalee Shotola

    February 21, 2020 at 13:31

    This is such a great post to remind us that it’s important to have hobbies & “me time”. Besides blogging, I do enjoy baking, cooking, playing video games & reading!

  6. Lisa

    February 20, 2020 at 21:16

    I used to have a lot more time for hobbies than I do now but my favourite is my garden. You’re absolutely right about hobbies being part of self care, Kim, if I couldn’t get outside in the fresh air and get my hands grubby on a regular basis I’d be very miserable indeed!

  7. Nic | Nic's Adventures & Bakes

    February 19, 2020 at 10:30

    I find hobbies relaxing, like card making or colouring-in books. I used to do a lot of baking hence why my blog started! I hope to do some more hobbies soon 🙂

    Nic | Nic’s Adventures & Bakes

  8. Bexa

    February 18, 2020 at 15:47

    Aww, I love this post and it’s such a great reminder of how important hobbies are. I enjoyed an afternoon of baking at the weekend, and it was such a nice way to relax and get creative again. I love things like Paint By Numbers as you can enjoy making a pretty picture even if you are not a pro. Thanks for the ideas Kim, I definitely want to try more creative hobbies this year! Also wow – that jigsaw your mum did looks amazing and such a challenging piece too, she did a great job! <3 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

  9. Jenny in Neverland

    February 18, 2020 at 09:56

    I used to love doing cross stitch! It was so relaxing. I don’t have many hobbies anymore. Blogging was my biggest hobby but obviously it’s a job now as much as I still enjoy it, I would love to find a hobby that I do just because I love it – not because it’s a “side hustle” or anything like that! And hobbies really do positively impact your mental health xxx

  10. Caz / InvisiblyMe

    February 18, 2020 at 09:06

    I must admit all hobbies have gone by the wayside for me. One thing with depression is that individuals often find they don’t have the energy to get into hobbies nor do they find any enjoyment from them anymore. Bit by bit, getting into these sorts of things could, I think, make a difference to things like anxiety, stress, wellbeing; giving a sense of calm, a sense of achievement. I’ve never tried cross-stitch but it was something I used to want to have a go at. Great suggestions!

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