We’re talking about your own life – not in the literal sense of the word, either. This isn’t a “seek professional help for your depression” post but rather an attempt to put some parameters in place before depression sets in.
There are many things that you can do to improve your mental and emotional health. In this article, we’ll be focusing on taking up various hobbies which have the added benefit of being advantageous to your mental and emotional well-being.
Spending time on a hobby is a great way to break the monotony of everyday life. It takes our focus away from mundane daily tasks and directs it to something that we enjoy (hopefully).
Just to clarify – being bored or experiencing boredom at times is not depression and shouldn’t be seen as being that. Everyone experiences boredom from time to time but that usually subsides. Hobbies are great for beating boredom!
For the scope of this article, we’ll highlight a few hobbies. Right from the outset, we need to say that no hobby is “free”. There will be some sort of investment to get things started. We’ll try and keep things as cost-effective as possible. We promise.
Everyone would love to shred on the guitar or play insane drum solos that drive the crowds wild.
Now you can, too. Maybe. If you put the hours and hours of practice in.
Our world has changed incredibly over the last 18 months and has put undue stress on individuals and families. Learning to play an instrument is a wonderful hobby that can help cope with these stresses.
It gives an outlet to creativity, helps with patience and perseverance, makes us set goals, and is just plain good old fashion fun. Not so much in the beginning stages, though, we’ll admit.
This one isn’t free, however, but doesn’t need to be expensive. Buying a cheap second-hand guitar from a thrift store for example, is good enough to start out with and there’s a load of free video tutorials on YouTube to get you going.
Here you’ll need a pen (or pencil) and paper. Most of us have these items lying around so you wouldn’t need to spend any money. Score!
If you know your ABCs, then you can write. Starting a journal is a good way to rid yourself of pent-up emotions. Writing poems or short stories gets the imagination going.
You don’t need to show it to anyone, or you can publish it online. Write essays, poems, short stories, journals, blogs, or articles – just get writing! You can get back to the art of cursive writing by doing calligraphy if you want.
To add perspective – you’re reading an article now, which was written by someone who had to start somewhere.
Let that sink in for a couple of minutes.
Most of us have smartphones – and modern smartphones have fantastic cameras. You don’t need to go out and buy an expensive digital camera with telephoto zoom lenses to start your photography hobby.
Your smartphone is more than adequate to start taking great photos. There’s free editing software available as well, to enhance your photos and take them to the next level.
Everyone enjoys a well-taken photo. With plenty of free resources available online, you, too, can share your photo passion with your friends and family.
Gardening is a good way to relax, get out into nature, and has many health benefits that you’d find surprising.
Preparing the ground and planting seeds and watching them sprout into flowers or herbs is a very satisfying process. The advantage of gardening as a hobby is you decide how small – or big – you want your gardening enterprise to be.
You can convert a large plot of land or only a small section. You can experiment with hydroponics or stick with traditional methods of gardening.
Enjoy the smell of fresh soil and get your hands dirty – it offers a great way to unwind and forget about the anxiety of daily life.
The best thing about this is that there is no “right” or “wrong” way. Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso both painted things that were, uh, eccentric and just plain weird at times. And their handiwork is worth millions of dollars.
Take a brush and start applying paint to canvas – it’s that simple. You can be as free, or strict, as you want. There are no limits.
An added bonus of this hobby is that you can enroll yourself in an art class and get to socialize with other budding artists. Making new friends is never a bad thing, either.
French, Spanish, or something a bit more extravagant like Danish – it doesn’t matter which one you choose. Learning a new language is an exciting hobby that will stretch those mental muscles.
Plus, you’ll impress everyone with your newfound linguistic skills and get an ego boost as well.
Sjov! (Fun, in Danish)
Reading is a marvelous way to get yourself out of your bored state of mind. Joining a book club, however, takes reading to an entirely different level.
The book club will decide which book to read, ask for reports and reviews, and have various other interesting challenges along the way. It’s a rewarding undertaking that expands your vocabulary and verbal skills.
Oh, and there will be wine. Lots and lots of wine.
There are many other hobbies to pursue and we’ve only suggested a few. A small internet search will reveal many more activities that you can consider in your search for the perfect hobby.
Don’t be afraid to try multiple hobbies, either. Some hobbies take more time than others and some you just won’t enjoy at all. There is no shame in trying a couple until you find one that you enjoy.
There are quick-fire activities that you can experiment with to get yourself out of boredom rapidly. Hobbies are more akin to long-term love affairs that will take your time, commitment, and passion.
The best things in life are free, they say. Hobbies aren’t, we’d argue.