23 Relaxing Hobbies That Can Benefit Your Mental Health
With our modern and sometimes hectic lifestyles, it can be easy to forget about doing the things that we enjoy most. Ensuring that you take time for yourself to switch off and enjoy some hobbies is one of the best forms of self-care.
So what makes having a hobby so beneficial?
- Having hobbies can help you relate and connect with other people who share the same interests.
- Hobbies help you gain knowledge. By trying out a new activity, you can learn new skills and make new discoveries.
- They're a great stress reliever. They encourage you to slow down and take a break from your busy life, and enjoy the moment.
- Hobbies can help you build confidence and discover your interests and talents.
- Having a hobby is proven to be good for your health. By helping you feel fulfilled, calm, free and engaged in something that you’re passionate about, hobbies can be incredibly beneficial for your mental well-being.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, then read on for some relaxing hobbies to restore your mental well-being!
1. Cooking & Baking
Cooking is one of the top relaxing hobbies for self-care!
Take a look through Pinterest, your favorite cooking app, or recipe book, and create a delicious dish! Trying out new recipes may seem daunting at first, but once you get started, it can be a great stress reliever and even promotes feel-good endorphins!
Get your ingredients ready, put on some feel-good music, and unwind while enjoying the process of creating a tasty meal.
Sharing your kitchen creations with friends and family is also a perfect way to enjoy this hobby and increases your feeling of accomplishment.
Even if you’re not a creative or a big fan of cooking, taking just 10 minutes to prepare something fresh for yourself instead of a quick ready meal is a great way to give yourself some self-love.
Is there anything more relaxing than cuddling up with a hot drink and a good book? Not only does reading help to reduce anxiety and stress levels, but it also gives you a mood boost and has a positive impact on your brain health. Enjoying a book before bedtime also helps you fall asleep faster!
Walking is an excellent way to keep in shape, explore new places and spend time with friends.
As well as burning calories, walking can help strengthen your heart and muscles, lift your mood, lower stress levels, and even help improve your memory and cognitive capabilities.
So get outside for a fun hike or take a walk around your local area, and enjoy the many benefits it has to offer.
4. Keeping a Diary/Journaling
Keeping a journal or a diary is perfect for noting any memories, thoughts, musings and ideas.
They can also help keep you organized and are a perfect place to write down a list of positive affirmations and your goals and dreams. You can even keep track of things like your daily mood, habits, and food/water intake.
You can get creative and add things like stickers, photos, and doodles.
Whether it’s documenting a collection of photos and memories or creating a themed scrapbook full of drawings and inspiration, embracing your creative side in this way can be meditative and help to lower your stress levels.
Experiment with adding fun details such as glitter, stamps, stickers, sequins, drawings, and decorative paper!
You can even create a scrapbook as a gift! Put together some of your favorite photos, tickets from places you visited together, and special mementos to make a one-of-a-kind present for a loved one. Not only will it be incredibly special to them, but it will be a rewarding and fun project for you!
If you enjoy challenging brain teasers or completing crosswords, then this hobby could be for you! Puzzles are satisfying to solve, and they also help improve your problem-solving skills and keep your mind sharp.
Here are a few types of puzzles you may enjoy:
- Math challenges
- Trivia questions
- Rubik’s Cube
Try out some different ones and see which ones you like best!
7. Creative Writing
Love putting pen to paper? Why not try out creative writing!
It’s a wonderful outlet for self-expression and it can be great for writing down anything that’s on your mind.
There’s so much you can do with creative writing:
- Short stories
- Personal essays
- Creative nonfiction
Pick a style of writing that interests you the most and get started. Don't overthink it and just enjoy the process.
Collecting can be a meaningful and sentimental hobby. Think of things that bring you joy. It could be music, games, comic books, etc., then start a collection!
Here are some examples of different items that you can collect:
- Trading cards
You can even join a club or share your collection online to connect with other people who share the same interests.
9. Exercise — Yoga, Running, Climbing, Sports, etc.
It goes without saying that doing exercise is one of the best ways to lift your mood! As well as keeping your body healthy and boosting your endorphins, it’s a great way to make new friends and develop new skills!
Pick a sport or activity that you really enjoy. Perhaps it’s yoga, dancing, or riding your bike. Once you’ve chosen one that fits you, make it a priority to make time for this activity at least a few times a week.
Just have fun and enjoy moving your body!
10. Crafting & DIY
Crafting is such a fun and creative outlet, and it’s truly a satisfying process to create something by hand then enjoy the end result.
The different ways to craft are endless. Here are some examples of projects that you could try:
- Creating homemade soap
- Working on an art piece
- Upholstering furniture
- Making a homemade candle
- Customizing your clothing
- Creating your own homemade bath bomb
- Decorating mugs
Crafting is a wonderful way for you to express yourself and it’s also quite easy to learn new projects. Using Pinterest is a great way to start and get inspired. It’s also full of handy links to online tutorials. Take a look and see which projects you’d like to try!
Music is such a powerful tool to lift your mood and restore your energy. Did you know that music can actually lower stress hormones like cortisol?
You can do so much when it comes to music. Create and listen to a playlist of your favorite songs, try singing, learn an instrument, and more!
Luckily, you can enjoy music anywhere. Put on your headphones and listen to music while working, traveling, daydreaming, and even doing chores. You’ll be surprised with how quickly it can boost your mood.
12. Video games
Playing video games is a great way to have fun, relieve stress, and enjoy time with friends.
They can even improve your critical thinking and decision-making skills!
There are so many different games to choose from, depending on what sparks your interest. If you like adventure, try video games such as The Legend of Zelda, Pokemon, Star Wars, or Skyrim. If creativity is more your thing, then have fun designing your own world in Minecraft or building a house on The Sims. If you’re looking for games to soothe and relax you, then titles like Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley would be perfect for you.
What better way to take time out and enjoy nature than by tending to your garden.
Gardening is the perfect relaxing outdoor activity. Listening to the sounds of the trees and birds as you work is incredibly therapeutic while getting fresh air and sunshine also helps to boost your vitamin D levels and overall health.
You don’t even need a big outdoor garden to enjoy growing your own plants! Try adding some indoor plants around your home or growing some tomatoes and herbs next to a window.
Not only is it easy, rewarding, and fun, but having plants around the home is also said to be a great mood booster.
14. Knitting & Crocheting
Gone are the days when knitting & crocheting was a hobby just for the older generation. Now, you can find thousands of tutorials online, with free patterns and styles for everyone to enjoy.
You can try making your own accessories like scarves, hats, or blankets. Get cozy and enjoy this calming process.
If exploring the world brings you joy, then start planning a trip!
Even if it’s just getting in your car or taking a train ride to the next town! A change of location and scenery can do wonders for your mental health, and checking out things like local tourist attractions, markets, and places of interest is great fun!
16. Learning a new language
Being able to speak more than one language is always a useful skill. It can strengthen your memory, allow you to gain new perspectives when visiting other countries, and help you make new friends! It can even help you improve your first language!
It doesn’t have to be expensive either. Simply picking up a language dictionary or using a free app such as Duolingo is a great way to get started.
Coloring can be an incredibly relaxing pastime to enjoy. It helps you to focus on the present moment, and it can offer many benefits, such as stress and anxiety relief.
Choose from ready-made coloring books (or if you’re feeling really creative, you can try making your own). It can also be a nice alternative to scrolling on your phone as you watch TV.
18. Watching documentaries
Watching a documentary is a great way to unwind and also learn some new things.
Think about a topic, a time in history or a person that interests you. You can choose from subjects such as travel, nature or even your favorite celebrity.
There are so many streaming channels available such as Disney+ and Netflix, that have a range of documentaries that you can watch. You can also invite friends over to enjoy a documentary together (or host an online viewing party!)
19. Playing with Makeup
Experimenting with different makeup looks can be such a relaxing and creative outlet.
You can get started by finding inspiration on Pinterest or watching some makeup tutorials on Youtube. There are endless possibilities, so get experimenting and have fun!
Trying out different makeup techniques can help you to discover which looks you like the best, and it allows you to develop your own personal style while building confidence.
Painting is one of the most calming and therapeutic hobbies that you can enjoy.
It’s a great way to slow down and embrace your creative side.
If it’s your first time trying out this hobby, then have fun selecting a style that suits you.
Some examples are:
- Abstract painting
- Still Life
- Oil painting
Try out some different types of painting and see which one you like best!
Fishing is an ideal hobby if you want to take a rest from the grind of daily life and take some time out in nature.
Visit or camp out at a local lake or river and enjoy the relaxing sounds of nature as you wait for your catch.
22. Cloud Watching
Cloud watching is a perfect way to de-stress and just experience being in the moment.
Grab a blanket, lay on some grass, and enjoy dreamily watching the clouds go by. If it’s a cold day, then you can simply sit and watch them from the comfort of your own home.
You can even have fun finding clouds that look like funny shapes such as faces or animals.
Photography can be a great relaxing outlet and it's accessible to people of all ages and budgets. You can learn new skills, get creative and capture some amazing moments and memories.
Have fun, try out different styles and enjoy experimenting with different props, lighting, models and location.
What's your favorite hobby? Do you have one that you’d like to make more time for? We hope this list brings you some fun ideas and inspiration for you to get started.