Note: these are just some personal recommendations I have found that help me and some information I’ve gathered online. If you are feeling overwhelmed please contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline. I am in no way a mental health expert or doctor, just a writer. I hope these examples help you in some way.
Learning for the sake of learning
I put learning on this list because there is an endless supply of knowledge in the world. The human experience is not finite, in fact, it’s ever-evolving much like our solar system. Learning is one of the hobbies good for mental health because it does not let you get complacent. Doing things like reading books, taking college courses, or learning a new skill can have great benefits for your mental health. Learning something new and having that “ah-ha” moment is precious for me. Start with your local library or YouTube. There are also online course databases like Skillshare. Don’t let doubts about yourself hold you back. Study music theory or physics. Research the pyramids, or the efficacy of capitalism. It never hurts to be at a dinner party and whip out some extra knowledge.
Playing a group sport
Whether it’s a community softball team or racquetball at the YMCA, community sports are hobbies good for mental health. Firstly, you’re getting active. Exercise has a positive effect on mental health. Secondly, if you are fighting a feeling of loneliness or isolation, joining a sports team can be a great way to make friends. It forces you to get out of your comfort zone and meet other people. However, you are all committed to one goal and that’s beating the other team. You’ll be surprised just how much you have in common with others.
Writing and journaling
Writing or journaling is a great way to reflect on your thoughts and feelings. It’s also a great way to track your progress on mental health issues. In addition, writing something such as creative fiction can be emotionally satisfying. It’s one of the hobbies good for mental health because of its unique ability to draw out our emotions and universal truths. If you don’t believe me, read something like Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. You will feel the human pain and joy behind those words. Although you may not have a life story as hers or the ability to write it like hers, you can tell your own story. A story that is filled with wonderful and terrifying tales of desperately trying to live a life worth living.
Meditation can help relieve anxiety and is great for clearing your mind of distracting thoughts. You can download apps and guides on your phone to start for free. There is also the option of going to YouTube. I’ve found in my own personal experience that meditation is perfect right before I go to bed. I am so relaxed that I almost fall asleep and let the worries of tomorrow stay there. Who knew hobbies good for mental health could give you such good sleep?
Dancing can be done with people or at home. You don’t need a coach or instructor to start gliding across your floor (although they may be helpful). It’s one way to workout from home while still being expressive and enjoying yourself. You aren’t “working out”; you’re just enjoying hobbies good for mental health. Plus, next time you hit the dance floor with some friends you can wow them with your movies. This is also a group activity you can do, and is a great way to meet new people and be vulnerable. Dance is also an ever-changing field with new routines and styles of dance to conquer
Learning to play an instrument
Another great way to express yourself is playing an instrument. You can do this at home or in a group. Once you start, you’ll have a newfound appreciation for musicians. However, do your research on what instrument you’d like to play. The cost of owning the device may dramatically increase depending on what you pick. Learning the chords to your favorite song and writing your own music can be very rewarding. Music is also a way to bridge the divide with people, not everyone speaks English, but they can feel the rhythm of a drum down in their bones.
Join a tabletop board group
Fan of lore, world-building, and competitive play? Then you may want to try joining a Dungeons and Dragons group on their next adventure. However, it doesn’t have to be D&D. Any tabletop group can be fun with the right people, and you don’t have to always meet in person. Some can be played online or you can “meet” virtually. Hobbies good for mental health can also be pretty fun when you finally run out of UNO Cards!
Another hobby good for mental health and one that speaks to all people is cooking. Cooking is never going to go out of style, and learning how to cook even basic items can be very rewarding. You don’t even have to spend any money! You can scour YouTube and websites for recipes and how-to guides. It can be both fun and delicious to make a cherry pie or build a cake for a loved one. Just make sure you aren’t eating too many sweets.
Although it may not seem as fun as other hobbies good for mental health, getting into fitness can be addicting if you choose the right activity. Whether you are looking to stay busy at home or want to get in shape, working out is necessary for your body. There are several forms of workouts like yoga, cardio, strength training, endurance, and others! You also don’t have to do this alone. Join a weight loss group or workout group like Zumba. If you don’t like working out but still want to do it, try walking and reading a book or listening to a podcast. That way your focus is on something else.
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