Hobbies are a fantastic way to pass the time and unplug from daily stressors. They can also benefit your physical and mental health. Studies show that hobbies contribute to healthier blood pressure, lower levels of stress, and may even help with mood disorders. Outdoor pastimes are the perfect motivation to enjoy some fresh air, and group activities nurture healthy relationships and communication skills. If you crave alone time, choose a relaxing solo hobby. Spice up — or slow down — your usual routine by indulging in a new hobby.
In an increasingly digital world, purging your family's hands of devices now and then is a mission in and of itself. Break out your analog — that is, non-digital — games and make a habit of spending time together without the screens. Classic board games like Monopoly and chess cultivate patience and strategy, while darts and horseshoes can help improve marksmanship. Single analog gamers can take up puzzles or learn some of the countless varieties of Solitaire that only require a deck of cards.
Cooking food on a grill is very different than working exclusively in the kitchen. Barbecuing and grilling, two distinct cooking methods, are skills worth mastering if there are foodies in your family. Aspiring grill masters can invest in a budget-friendly charcoal barbecue, or splurge on a larger propane grill. Pick up a BBQ cookbook for expert techniques and recipes, and visit butchers' shops for prime cuts of meat. Farmer's markets are another reliable spot to find flavorful foods and organic fruits and vegetables that will really up your grill creativitiy game.
Everyone has their favorite indulgence, whether it's a perfectly brewed cup of coffee, a skillfully wrapped cigar, or regular visits to the post-modern art gallery. Develop that interest into appreciation by becoming an expert in the subject. Knowing more about the history and creation of our favorite things, and the hard work it takes to produce the final product, can increase the satisfaction we get from consumption. Frequent specialty food establishments to develop your palette for food and drink, or start a record collection and discover new-to-you music. Find aficionado groups in your area and share the love.
Whether you're a beginner or a veteran with dusty sneakers, running is a choice hobby for outdoor lovers and the budget-conscious. Get motivated by including workouts into your weekly routine, and don't forget to reward yourself afterward with a massage, a warm bath, or a sweet treat. Avoid setting unrealistic goals, and instead form a plan to get moving and steadily build endurance. Always check with your doctor if you have health concerns, and don't hesitate to check out the many mobile apps and websites designed to guide you on your journey.
If you're looking for something out-of-doors that's a little more cerebral, hop online and search for educational hikes. National park websites are an excellent source of information on historic sites and points of interest. You can also download mobile hiking apps and use filters to find specific views. Geocaching, where participants use GPS and other techniques to hide and seek containers, is a fun way to spend an afternoon.
Hobbies that require hand-eye coordination, such as knitting or wood whittling, are as good for your brain health as they are for expressing creativity. These activities keep your mind engaged while relieving stress and anxiety, much like meditation. Practice mindfulness daily by taking up a hands-on hobby over lunch or before bed. If you're regularly on the go, try a portable craft like cross-stitch or calligraphy. If you prefer to unwind at home or in a workshop, try scrapbooking, pottery-making, or building birdhouses.
Aspiring hobbyists needing time away from home may be interested in attending live productions. Unlike watching a movie at the theater, each live performance is a unique experience for the performers and the audience. Support small bands at the music venue downtown, or join the open mic night at your local coffee shop. Browse your city's calendar of events or check online for stand-up comedy shows. Many of these outings won't cost you more than a cheap ticket or a pint, but the memories could be priceless.
Stepping out of the home isn't always an option. That doesn't mean you can't get your blood pumping and learn some new moves. YouTube is a good source for instructional dance and exercise videos. Learn to salsa with a partner, or pick up some hip-hop moves for beginners. If you're looking for something quieter, browse yoga channels, or learn a tai chi routine. Better yet, host recurring exercise conference calls with friends and family.
Volunteering helps your community in myriad ways, and the benefits to your mental and spiritual well-being are a significant bonus. Volunteers form meaningful relationships with community members, learn new skills, and add experience to their resume. Helping others in need can also help you cope with depression and stress and provide a sense of purpose. Search online for opportunities in your areas of expertise, such as painting, cooking, or coaching. Regardless of age or ability, volunteering is a rewarding experience for anyone willing to donate their time, and studies show volunteers are happier overall.
Investing your money is an excellent opportunity to challenge yourself and grow wealth over time. If you have a substantial investment, you may want to contact a full-service brokerage firm like Fidelity or Charles Schwab. These companies provide specialist support and education, with access to additional investments, such as bonds and mutual funds. Discount brokers like Acorn or Robin Hood have fewer deposit restrictions and in-app educational materials. Complete your financial education by browsing finance websites and articles.