Stress is an inevitable part of our daily lives. For most people, work is the biggest source of stress. Many expectations and goals that need to be fulfilled and achieved in a short time lead to more anxiety, overworking or even depression. It’s a lifestyle most people are used to, but not many people are aware of its effects on mental health.
To maintain good mental wellbeing, you need to discover healthy coping mechanisms to deal with stress. Hobbies are an amazing way of taking your mind off the strenuous and stressful world around us, and doing something fun, as an essential part of self-care. Can’t think of anything relaxing to do? Take a look at this list.
1. Listening to music
A lot of people find listening to music one of the most relaxing activities to do after a stressful week. Just close your eyes and play your favourite songs from your favourite artists and breathe. Music has got the power to express our deepest feelings and thoughts, making us feel a bit better. Even though playing familiar tunes is comforting, you might find pleasure in exploring new bands and singers.
There are tons of music genres in the world. Some may be appealing to you, while others don’t, which is fine. However, there are a lot of new songs and jams yet to be discovered by your ears. Exploring music gives you a lot of possibilities. You can search for new genres online, listen to the radio or even ask your friends for recommendations. It’s great stress relief.
Is there a better way of taking your mind of stress than by doing something practical, with your hands? Knitting will keep your hands busy and mind free while you create something useful for you, your family or other people. This hobby isn’t for grandmas only!
Ditch the stereotype, take those knitting needles and make the cosiest jumper you’ll ever own. You can knit scarves, hats, mittens and jumpers for cold months that are yet to come. You’ll have unique and high-quality pieces of clothing or accessories in your wardrobe. Besides that, a hand-knitted sweater or a hat can be a marvellous original gift for your family members or friends.
If you have a sweet tooth, baking is the right hobby for you. Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh cookies and the taste of melted chocolate in their mouth? You don’t have to be a master chef to bring out the cake pan and mix those ingredients to create tasty baked goods for you and your family. Just like knitting, baking has soothing effects on your nervous system, especially if baking includes your favourite smells, like cinnamon.
For many, cooking meals is stressful. However, baking doesn’t require a special set of skills. With goodwill, everyone can bake. Chocolate chip biscuits, cake, or pie are always happily welcomed at the dinner table. Do something therapeutic for you and make your family happy.
Whether you like pursuing your hobbies alone or with a partner, dancing can be extremely beneficial for your physical and mental health. By attending dancing classes with your significant other, you’re not only improving your stamina or de-stressing, but you’re also sparking up the passion again.
Feel the heat of the dancefloor as your body releases happy hormones called endorphins, that help you get rid of the stress and mentally feel better. Learn how to sway your body in the rhythm of the music and leap into your lover’s arms for another dance. Whether you like passionate dances like tango or cha-cha-cha, or you’re more of a waltz person, dancing classes may be fantastic ways to take your mind off stressful work.
5. Spending time in nature
Believe it or not, nature has meditative and therapeutic effects on your entire body. If you’re an explorer, there is no better feeling than slowly breathing in the fresh air, smelling dewy grass and feeling the sunshine on your skin. There are many ways in which you can spend time in nature, it’s up to you to choose what suits you the most.
For example, you can go hiking, camping, exploring or biking in nature. You don’t have to be an expert or have the extraordinary physical ability to pursue an activity in nature. Start by visiting a local mountain or nature reserve and take a brisk walk. Take a break from the technology and noises in the city. Disconnect from the world for a while.
Some people find helping others therapeutical. Being useful to the community is a kind and noble way of decreasing stress in your body. So, why don’t you volunteer in local communities, pet shelters or organisations? Whether you prefer helping out a certain group of people, helping out the community in general or caring for animals, you’ll find much joy in volunteering.
If you indulge in volunteering, you’ll have a chance to meet many like-minded people and make life-long friendships. By volunteering, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and fulfilment, which drives the stress away. Before you sign up to volunteer, research the organisations in your area, and donate resources or invest time in one that matches your beliefs and values.
7. Learn something new
The human mind is curious by nature. If we stop “feeding” it with useful information and skills, it will be stressed and overwhelmed. No matter what some people say, it’s never too late to learn something new. Is there something you’ve been yearning to do for years but you didn’t have the courage or the time? Now it’s the right time to do it!
Pick up that guitar and pursue your teenage dreams, learn that language even though it’s not as common in your county, learn how to paint or draw if that’s what you’ve always wanted. Learning new things can always be a fun hobby. It’s dynamic and interesting, which means that you’ll have something new and intriguing to do each time you start. Remember that it’s a hobby, you don’t have to be super talented or skilled to start it. It’s meant to be a fun pass time activity and a great stress relief.
Even though journaling is a common practice amongst teenage girls, everyone can find joy in doing it. It’s a well-known practice in psychology psychotherapy, that encourages introspectiveness and self-reflection. It’s a practical way of dealing with anxiety, stress and negative thoughts that rush through your mind. Write down your thoughts and it will definitely help you think clearer.
Just like any other hobby, you don’t need special skills to know how to write a journal. It doesn’t have to be perfectly neat or colour coordinated to be useful for you. There are various methods of journaling and you don’t even have to opt for one. Combine them and create a unique stress revealing experience for you.
Soaking up the sun in your garden is therapeutic by itself. Combined with the fresh air and busy hands, you’ve got yourself a hobby you can enjoy. Gardening is known to be one of the best stress relievers as it lowers the levels of the stress hormone called cortisol in your body. It boosts the positive mood and brings you closer to nature.
Gardening is a curative hobby that heals you while you have a chance to take care of other living things. However, it’s pretty time-consuming. If you want to keep your garden fresh at all times, you’ll have to water it regularly. Not having time to water your plants is normal, however, without the necessary amount of water, your plants might die. Consider implementing a garden water timer that helps you water your plants always at the same time during the day. Besides keeping your plants watered and fresh with minimum effort, these water timers save a great amount of water which makes them eco-friendly and cost-effective.
Photography is a form of art. You’re capturing loving memories and keeping them forever, so you can remember those beautiful exciting moments of your life. All you need is a camera or a smartphone and you’re ready to shake the stress away and click your day away.
It’s a fantastic way of immortalising memories. You can practice by taking landscape pictures of nature and cities, or you can organise a fun photo session with your friends and family. Keep things simple and natural at the beginning. Help your models relax in front of the camera by making them genuinely smile. They’ll have wonderful pictures and you’ll improve your skill and start seeing the world through the photographer’s eyes.
The list of hobbies you can pursue is endless. You don’t have to take up something just because it’s popular or everyone else is enjoying it. Try to discover a hobby that suits your interests well. It’s about the journey, not the destination. So, take time to rediscover your interests and enjoy the process of creating something using your mind or body.
Guest article written by: Jasmine Anderson is a lifestyle blogger based in Australia. She is an incurable daydreamer, who finds inspiration in little, everyday moments. Spending time at her cozy home office with her two cats, writing her blog, is her favorite thing in the world. https://twitter.com/AndersonJess_AJ