For most of my life I had no true hobbies. During interviews, I always dreaded the question, tell me a little bit about yourself or what do you like to do for fun outside of work. I assume interviewers want to hear something interesting and creative like I read to underprivileged kids or I make jewelry out of scrap metal. Unfortunately what came to my mind while sitting in the interview hot seat was ‘uh I like to hang out with my friends and day drink outside and um I guess binge watch TV.’ Needless to say hobbies make you more interesting (and interviews easier). But there’s more to hobbies than making your life seem more interesting. There are many health benefits of having a hobby.
If you’ve never truly had a hobby or even thought about having a hobby, this post is for you. You’ll not only learn about the benefits of having a hobby but you’ll get 18 fun hobby ideas to try.
Having hobbies helps you strengthen your connections to people. Say your newest hobby is to build a tiny home. To find out how to start your new project, you search around for people who can give you tips and advice. You join a local meetup group and some online facebook groups where you meet people who have the same tiny house interests as you do. After a while you get to know them better and they become your friends. You end up having your own tiny house tribe.
Tiny houses are just an example, but the same idea applies with pretty much any hobby. Having a passion in common brings people together. We as humans are social creatures and we need connections to survive. By connecting with other people who enjoy the same hobby, you develop new friendships or strengthen the ones you already have.
No Guilt Relaxation
We all need relaxation in our lives. It helps us to unwind and cope with stress. Sometimes we feel guilty about doing things that help us relax. How can I watch TV while there is so much to be done?! This is where your hobby comes in to take off some of this pressure.
When you are working on a hobby, whether it is physical or mental, you are letting your mind de-stress in a productive way. You don’t have to feel guilty about relaxing your mind because you are still working on something that is rewarding.
Living in the Present
When you focus on your hobby, you are living in the present moment and being mindful of what you are working on. Basically the opposite of sitting on the couch scrolling through your phone. When you are living in the present, you get rewarded with incredible health benefits. A few to name are (source):
- Improved memory
- Less negativity and fewer depression symptoms
- Reduced stress
- Improved control over your emotions
- Relationship satisfaction
- More adaptive to stressful or negative situations
More Satisfaction in Life
I’m not saying that life isn’t complete unless you start crocheting. But, you will get satisfaction out of working on something and accomplishing goals. Pursuing something that you want to do, not something that you have to do has a different level of satisfaction that you just can’t get anywhere else. It’s one thing to meet a goal at work, it’s a completely other (and better) feeling to make your own goal and accomplish it.
When you put in the time and effort to work on something, you improve your focus. We are in the age of an ADHD epidemic (source) and even people without diagnosed ADHD are starting to struggle with shortened attention spans due to living with constant distractions. Focus is something we can all use more of.
Improves Time Management Skills
Since your hobby isn’t your job (or other boring life responsibilities), you have to find time to include your hobby into your busy schedule. It can be hard to find time but since you enjoy doing your hobby, you manage it.
Balancing life with your hobby is great practice for time management. If you are finding time to fit your hobby into your life, you’re already incorporating time management into your schedule. If you’ve been meaning to work out more or find more time to cook, you can use your newfound time management skills to fit those goals into your schedule as well.
Another Source of Income
This isn’t always the case but sometimes you can turn your hobby into a side business. With the rise of the internet, has come the rise of the entrepreneur. Millennials also have a distrust for large companies and prefer smaller companies (source) so the market is a perfect place for new and small business owners. Might as well speed up your path to financial freedom.
As I’ve mentioned before you can literally grow your brain. And who doesn’t want to be smarter? A great way to do this is by doing activities that challenge your brain. By learning and working on a hobby, you are actively growing your brain and keeping it sharp.
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Okay so I shared all the benefits about hobbies, now what? Well, I’m not going to leave you hanging. Here’s a huge list of interesting and easy to start hobbies you can try this weekend!
This is perfect for introverts. Unless you plan on shooting people, you don’t have to talk to anyone. You may think you need to go out and buy an expensive camera but why not start with your phone and test you your skills? Phone cameras are pretty impressive these days. There are plenty of free or low cost online photography tutorials as well.
Check out this tutorial: Photography 101 – The Digital Photography Guide for Beginners: Photography Essentials Series
Biking / Cycling
Last year I re-learned how to ride a bike again (yes you can forget how to ride a bike despite what “they” say). For me, it’s not really a hobby but more of a way to get around town. But, plenty of people love riding their bike as a hobby. It’s a great way to explore new places and get a good workout.
This has nothing to do with riding a bike up a hill. Upcycling is where you take something old and tired, maybe a scratched coffee table or some old shirts and reinvent them into something new. That could mean giving some old furniture some sanding and a new paint job to bring it back to life or taking your old clothes and making something new from them like a new tote bag, It’s perfect if you hate throwing out stuff, want to help the environment, or even make some money on the side. Buzzfeed had a great list of DIY projects you can even do with your recycles if this hobby peaks your interest.
Cooking most of your meals can save you a ton of money. But cooking doesn’t need to be boring. Creating new and interesting meals can be a lot of fun. And your reward for your hard work is a delicious meal! Here’s some delicious cookbooks to test your skills and treat your taste buds:
Writing is a great way to get your creative juices flowing. There’s no one way to do it. As you can probably guess, I do the majority of my writing on this blog. I met someone at a local writing meet up who likes to write short stories in his spare time with no intention to publish them. Another women I met was writing a fiction book she planned on publishing. You can write in a journal about your day or do morning gratitude prompts. Writing is a personal outlet where there are no rules.
Crocheting / Knitting
This used to be a hobby that was stereotyped as a hobby for grandmas (although my grandma could make an incredible blanket or scarf back in the day). Now it has become much more mainstream. Crocheted and knit clothing and decorations are now trendy. Why not make some cute outfits for yourself or even make a crochet business online? Check out this tutorial:
A goal of mine is to have a full garden where I can pick my own fresh vegetables to cook with (inspired by this book: Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre). Since I don’t have a backyard yet (apartment living right now), I just have a small garden with tomatoes and jalapeños and some indoor plants. In the spring I’m hoping to grow an herb garden on my balcony. So far I haven’t killed any plants yet so I’m hopeful for this herb garden. Want to get your green thumb on? Check out this starter book:
Painting / Drawing
If art class was your favorite class back in school, why not take it back up? Painting or drawing can be done anywhere. You don’t need much equipment to start and you can draw inspiration from everywhere. Why hide your talents from the world?
I separated this from painting and drawing because this is for us artistically impaired. Coloring is a great way to make something beautiful without needing to be a talented artist. It’s also very relaxing. / I speak from experience when I tell you it’s very relaxing.
My favorite coloring book for adults is this one: Adult Coloring Book : Stress Relieving Designs Animals, Mandalas, Flowers, Paisley Patterns And So Much More
My favorite coloring pencils are these: Crayola Colored Pencils, Pre-sharpened, Adult Coloring, 50 Count
Playing an Instrument
Not only is playing an instrument a really impressive hobby, but it can also increase neuroplasticity aka grow your brain. You can play a cover of your favorite song or make your own music. There are no rules to music.
Join a Sports Team
I recently joined a sports team and I loved it. It’s a fun way to get your blood pumping and meet some new people. If you’re curious about the other benefits of joining a sports team, check out this earlier post: Why I Paid for an Adult Rec League
Learn a Language
If I’ve learned anything from traveling to 9 countries in the last 5 years it’s that knowing the local language makes it much easier. Yes in some countries English is very common, but not in all of them. Make your next trip abroad more fun and learn the local language. Your local server will probably thank you.
Become a Gamer
This is my boyfriends favorite hobby but I also know girls who love to game. Studies have even shown that it makes you smarter (source). Test your mind and get lost in a new world.
Puzzles are a great way to challenge your mind. My family loves doing puzzles together and we get surprisingly competitive. What’s great about puzzles is that they can be a solo activity or a group one. And, you get a great picture at the end. INterested? Here’s some beautiful puzzles I recently bought for my sister:
Yoga has a lot of incredible health benefits and it can be a great workout. Why not kill two birds with one stone by getting in shape with your hobby ?
Reading is a great hobby to stimulate the mind. But a book club makes reading even better because it makes it social. You don’t even need to be in the same city for you and your friends to start a reading club. Just Skype or Facetime when you’re free. It’s a rewarding way to stay in touch.
Calligraphy is perfect for anyone with a steady hand (unfortunately not me). You can create beautiful works of art just by writing. I’ve never seen simple words look so good. There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube if you want to give it a shot.
It seems that this is a mandatory hobby that all residents of Colorado have to take up when they move here. Seriously, how could you not take advantage of these beautiful Rocky Mountains? Hiking doesn’t have to mean scrambling up boulders and expensive hiking boots. A short walk through the woods can do wonders for your mental health.
Times have changed since my hobbies consisted of basically day drinking and Netflix. Over the years I have taken up a few of these hobbies as my own and I have seen the benefits of having a hobby first hand. You have nothing to lose by finding a new creative outlet. All of these hobby ideas are easy to try and don’t cost much. Why not give one a shot?
- 10 Surprising Ways to Grow Your Brain
- 4 Easy Ways You Can Use Nature to Detox Your Mind
- You Are Who You Hang Out With — 5 Qualities Your Friends Should Have