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5 Relaxing Hobby Ideas That Promote Well-Being
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5 Relaxing Hobby Ideas That Promote Well-Being

A woman smiling while taking cooking lessons online.

PHOTO CAPTION: Having a hobby does wonders for your mental health since it lets you focus on yourself and what brings you joy.

Research shows that pursuing leisure activities can help relieve stress. Personal passions are opportunities to take a well-deserved breather from the daily grind—and if you choose an inherently relaxing activity, that's double the stress relief. Here are a few calming hobby ideas you can explore today. Most of them are easy to learn, especially with the wealth of knowledge online. That means if you have a reliable internet plan, you can start any of them on your next break.

1. Painting

A woman painting on an easel in the garden.

PHOTO CAPTION: Bring your supplies outdoors and paint while surrounded by nature for more inspiration.

Like many creative hobbies, painting can be a form of art therapy. Studies suggest that it can help improve self-esteem and support mental health recovery. The repetitive motions of brush strokes, color-mixing, and blending can also be meditative, putting you in a flow state. And, no, this hobby isn't just for "natural artist types" who can work a paintbrush like they were born holding one.

If you're new to painting, explore different styles and methods to find what feels natural to you. Try acrylic paint if watercolor proves hard to control. Ditch the brushes and use your fingers for a more tactile, nostalgic experience. Consider painting-by-numbers if sketching isn't your strong suit.

Gather inspiration from different artists and movements through online platforms like the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)’s official website. Bottomline: there's no “right” way to paint, so find what allows you to truly immerse yourself in the process.

2. Needlework

Young Asian woman doing needlework while looking at her iPad.

PHOTO CAPTION: Remember to take regular breaks during needlework projects to keep your hands from cramping up.

Needlework, such as knitting, crocheting, and embroidery, is the archetype of a slow, soothing pastime. The results of one study on a community of knitters show a “significant relationship between knitting frequency and feeling calm and happy.” Needlework also has grounding effects. Like painting, it's inherently meditative. Once you learn a pattern by heart, you can let your hands take the lead as you get lost in the movements. Before you know it, you'll have a completed piece.

If you're a complete novice, start with crocheting. It's one of the easiest and most versatile handicrafts to learn, especially with the step-by-step tutorials by fellow crocheters on YouTube. All you need is a set of yarns, crochet hooks, and good lighting.

3. Journaling

Young Asian man writing in a journal with pictures and doodles.

PHOTO CAPTION: You can reference bullet journal templates online to get your creative juices flowing.

Do you love organization, planning, and self-reflection? Journaling covers all three. First, it allows you to express your innermost thoughts and feelings. A study published by Cambrige University Press found that writing about your experiences, especially difficult or stressful ones, is inherently therapeutic.

Second, you can use your journal to plan your daily tasks, so they feel less overwhelming to you. For something even more expressive and experimental, give bullet journaling a shot. Unlike traditional journaling, this style doesn't focus solely on writing.

It combines to-do lists, self-improvement goal setting, and diaristic writing with doodling, sketching, and scrapbooking. You can let your imagination run wild when designing weekly and monthly "spreads," as the community calls them. Add colorful stickers, motivational quotes, and other personal touches that make your journal an extension of your creative spirit.

4. Baking

A woman rolling out some dough in the kitchen.

PHOTO CAPTION: Baked goods can be another canvas! Try experimenting with decorative piping on cakes and cookies.

Baking is a multi-sensory experience that requires your total focus, making it a suitable hobby for people who struggle with racing thoughts. And when you make something delicious, it can build confidence in your abilities. Plus, it's incredibly stimulating with all the smells, textures, and tastes involved. It's also super hands-on. There's a lot of rolling, kneading, and decorating involved. It’s a workout that ends with a treat!

While you're still learning, it helps to follow recipes to a T to understand how different ingredients interact. Look to online food publications like Bon Appetit, Serious Eats, and Delish for easy-to-follow guides and beginner-friendly tips. Once you've had some practice, you can start changing it up.

5. Gardening

A woman potting flowers in a garden shed.

PHOTO CAPTION: Schedule reminders on your mobile phone so you never miss a watering or repotting day for your plants.

If you like getting your hands dirty (literally), gardening is for you. It's one of those leisure activities that effectively pulls you out of your humdrum, wake-and-grind routine. It lets you be active in nature, breathe fresh air, and absorb immunity-boosting vitamin D. Gardening can also help improve dexterity and strength, especially if you’re digging and raking.

Gardening can seem intimidating, but you don't need a green thumb to cultivate this hobby. The trick is to do your research. Look up what plants thrive in your environment, how to care for them, and the supplies you need for healthy growth.

What if you don't have a garden, but you're eager to work with plant life? You can try caring for low-maintenance houseplants, like peace lilies and pothos. There's also a niche community of terrarium builders on YouTube if you're curious about tiny, glass-enclosed ecosystems of lush greenery.

Explore these hobby ideas and see what clicks. No need to sign up for expensive in-person classes just to learn something new! If you subscribe to a Globe At Home GFiber Plan or install GFiber Prepaid, you’ll have access to hassle-free online learning on any platform.

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