Often overlooked, but a much essential aspect for a joyous living is mental health. Having a hobby can be good for your mental health. It gives you something to look forward to, something that would give you a much-needed break from your busy schedule. Yes, busy people can have hobbies too; in fact, hobbies are essential to avoid burnout associated with demanding jobs.
When you think of taking up a hobby, traditional ones such as arts and crafts come to mind. True, art is a great hobby to have indeed, but what if it is not your cup of tea?
Well, hobbies can be anything that you find enjoyable and relaxing.
A hobby is anything that you do regularly in your spare time for pleasure.
We have listed a few popular hobbies to help you choose one or two that would suit you.
Have you ever felt great as music plays? Do you find listening to music enjoyable?
If so, simply listening to music can be a great hobby. An added bonus, listening to music is an excellent stress reliever, too.
If you wonder you must listen to only calming music to have it as a hobby for mental health, you’re mistaken. You can listen to any kind of music you feel like. You can actively explore the types of music you love and start collecting those to listen to during your free time. And voila! You have a hobby! As simple as that!
You can even take it one step further and explore singing or playing an instrument. No harm in trying, correct?
Not all of us can be Mozarts; that is not the intention here. Just playing a simple tune on the instrument or singing a song out loud can be immensely freeing. Most of us are bathroom singers, let’s admit. So, try further and join a class and see how it goes with an open mind.
Hiking is a great hobby to rejuvenate your mental health. It is especially a great hobby for those who love being outdoors and those who spend too much time indoors that it is good for them to be out and about.
If you are an absolute beginner, choose easy hiking trails so that you can give it a try and see if it is something you like. You need not treat it as an athletic pursuit, instead just keep walking slowly and relaxed.
While at it, you can also explore the option of Forest Bathing. Originally known as Shinrin Yoku, Forest bathing is the practice of spending time in the forest. Being close to nature in this manner can literally breathe life into you.
We have covered this topic extensively in this article where an experienced Forest bathing guide answers all the questions one might have on this subject, right from what is Forest bathing? Read it here.
Are you someone who does little steps whenever you hear a favourite beat? Feel great just moving your body to the tune? Then why not explore dancing as your hobby of choice?
Of course, you need not be a dancer to take it up as a hobby for mental health. You may even dance funny, but if it is something you love, just do it. Dancing is not only great for your mental health, but it is also great for your physical wellbeing. Yes, since you get to move your body, even the slowest dance forms can still be considered good exercise!
Then, start with it right at home. There are so many youtube channels that you can use to try and dance along. As simple as that!
From Zumba to Ballet and Kathak to Shaolin monk dance, there are many dance forms to choose from.
Once you find the dance format or style you like, you can take it up a notch and even join a class 🙂
4. Cooking and baking
Cooking or baking is great for foodies. You get to prepare all those favourite foods you like right from scratch and enjoy the whole process of just being there amidst all the flavours and aromas of the kitchen.
Not a great cook? Fret not, join a class or watch recipe videos on the internet.
Of course, this might not sound like an appealing hobby for home makers who cook all three meals for their family. However, suppose you are someone who loves to cook, but because cooking all the time has made it a chore. Now try and consider cooking as a hobby.
Explore new dishes or even different cuisines to regain the spark and get to remember why you have always loved cooking so much.
5. Arts and crafts
Just because we started this article by saying art and crafts need not be the only kind of hobby for mental health, it doesn’t mean it need not be yours. So go for it if it is your cup of tea!
Drawing, painting, knitting, candle making, embroidery, the choices are literally endless.
And again, the simplest way to try your hand at arts or crafts is to watch videos on youtube and take up classes for more hands-on instruction.
More hobby choices for great mental health
As you can see from the above examples, many ordinary activities can make up for a great hobby.
Gardening, photography, writing, yoga, calligraphy, pottery, bird watching, sculpting, collecting stamps and coins, swimming, surfing, tennis, canoeing, cycling, the list goes on. You might, in fact, say it is endless.
You can even look at the unusual yet interesting activities that some of the celebrities have as hobbies to draw some inspiration.
Apple Cofounder Steve Wozniack plays segway Polo, Tiger woods is into diving and spearfishing, Angelina Jolie collects daggers, and Tom hanks collects vintage typewriters!Tweet
How to choose a hobby for good mental health?
It is a tricky question indeed, especially if you don’t seem to know what you might enjoy among the endless options.
The best way is to start trying various hobbies. You may self-learn and do it on your own or sign up for a class.
And this journey of exploration has its own upside too. Learning new things is a great way to keep your brain active.
It is also good to remember to pick something you find exciting and enjoyable as well as accessible and affordable so that it is sustainable. Once you do that, it will become easier to make time and space for a hobby in your life that improves your mental health as well. And you can mix it up. Who says you can have only one hobby?