6 Hobbies That Will Do Wonders For Your Mental Health

By Julie Morris, Life and Career Coach


Julie Morris is a life and career coach. She thrives on helping others live their best lives. It’s easy for her to relate to clients who feel run over by life because she’s been there. After years in a successful (but unfulfilling) career in finance, Julie busted out of the corner office that had become her prison.

Today, she is fulfilled by helping busy professionals like her past self get the clarity they need in order to live inspired lives that fill more than just their bank accounts. When Julie isn’t working with clients, she enjoys writing and is currently working on her first book. She also loves spending time outdoors and getting lost in a good book.

There’s more to living an all-around healthy life than following a good diet and fitness routine. While those are essential, you also need to take time to learn new skills and do activities you enjoy. Those who practice a leisurely hobby often experience benefits to their mental health, such as reduced stress and boredom, as well as increased productivity and higher quality of life. Having a hobby can also aid people of all ages who are battling depression and recovering from addiction. Here are six hobbies that will do wonders for your mental health.

Sewing

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Sewing is a satisfying hobby because you can create things that you can hold in your hands and keep forever. Whether it’s blankets, quilts, scarves, potholders or the like, there are many different projects you can sew. You can also alter clothing and make great gifts for people. Furthermore, learning the skill can relieve stress and anxiety, as well as reduce the risk of cognitive disorders. Do some research and choose a good machine and you should be able to sew all kinds of items before too long.


Cooking

Being able to whip up a delicious meal at any time of the day is a great skill to have, but cooking also has mental benefits. So much so that culinary therapy is now used in many mental health clinics. Since preparing your own meal encourages mindfulness and makes it easier for you to eat nutritiously, cooking is used to treat anxiety, ADHD, depression, addiction and many other conditions.

Drawing

Drawing is another hobby that engages the mind. It exercises both the left and right hemispheres of the brain—the logistical side and the creative side, respectfully. Drawing helps you to strengthen your concentration and focus, and it provides you an opportunity to do something relaxing amid the stresses and pressures of life. There are endless possibilities for how you can express yourself and many mediums available to create various styles (i.e. pencil, pen, crayon, pastel, charcoal, etc.). Drawing can be fun and helpful for anyone.

Writing Poetry

Another therapeutic art is poetry. All forms of poetry—whether it be imagery, pastoral, haiku, epic, sonnet, elegy, etc.—provide an outlet for releasing pent-up thoughts and emotions that the writer may have difficulty expressing in other ways. It’s a very liberating practice, no matter how abstract or literal the content. Letter writing can prove beneficial for processing and healing relational issues. Even if the writer never sends out the letter, it’s a way to put down unhindered thoughts and feelings with honesty and introspect.

Learning a New Language

Learning a new language is one of the most mentally challenging tasks you can take on, and it can significantly benefit the minds of both older and younger people. For older folks, it can combat cognitive decline, keep your memory sharp, and reduce the risk of dementia. For younger people, it can enhance your intelligence, give you a great advantage in the job market, and increase your productivity.

Hiking

Hiking provides an opportunity to momentarily unplug from the digital age and it fosters physical fitness, personal reflection, creative thinking and healthy perspective—all while enjoying the healing power of nature. You may be thinking that hiking is not really a skill to be learned—that you just drive to a trail and start walking. But there are factors to consider if you want your hiking trips to be as enjoyable and productive as possible such as picking a place, packing the right things, learning to hydrate properly, reading a topographic map, etc. Furthermore, hiking serves as a platform for other outdoor hobbies that can be learned such as identifying plants, bird watching, backpacking, camping and others.

No matter your age or struggles, starting a new hobby can maintain and improve your mental health in many ways. Also, learning a new skill can be enjoyable and productive. Whether it’s with a group of friends or through an online tutorial, try some different activities that have grabbed your interest and dive into them to see if your interest turns into a passion.

Julie Morris
Life and Career Coach

julie@juliemorris.org

juliemorris.org