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. But 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).
Besides being a great way to spend your “me time”, research also shows that hobbies can 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. 🐧
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. 😊
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.
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.
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.
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?