Life gets so busy — we often times forget to focus on the things that we enjoy most. In order to truly feel refreshed, you need to be able to switch off every now and again. Taking time to do fun activities outside of work is one of the best forms of self care. If you need a little inspiration, read on for some calming hobbies to restore your energy! ✨
With the new year here, I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of hobbies.
My goal for 2020 is to dedicate more time to things I love. In fact, I felt super inspired by Kelly Jean’s article on her blog, Anxious Lass. She wrote about 10 hobbies that are good for anxiety. Definitely check out her blog y’all — it’s so helpful for anyone struggling with anxiety!
My favorite music related activities include singing, making Spotify playlists, daydreaming, and creating music videos in my head. In fact, over a year ago I even shared a lookbook for Ariana Grande’s Sweetener album!
As you scroll through this post, think of a few of your go-to calming hobbies. What activities would you like to make more time for this year? Also, are there any new hobbies that seem restorative and fun?
Why are Hobbies Beneficial?
There are quite a few benefits that come with enjoying a hobby outside of work. Hobbies can help reduce stress levels and keep you grounded in the present moment. Having a hobby encourages you to take a break during the day. It’s nice to focus on an activity that you love and also relaxes you.
Here are some other reasons to start a new hobby:
- Hobbies promote eustress or “positive stress”
- You can get to know yourself better
- They help you unwind while staying productive
- You can connect with others who enjoy similar things
- Hobbies build confidence
- Studies show that having a hobby is good for your health
23 Restorative & Calming Hobbies
Gardening is the perfect outdoor activity — you can soak up some sun while tending to your garden. Sunlight is a good source of vitamin D, so starting a garden even benefits your health!
I’ve also noticed that spending time in nature brings you a sense of peace and quiet. Taking care of a garden would certainly be super fun and rewarding. It’s lovely to watch as your plants grow more each day! 🌱
As your fist step, think about what kind of garden you’d like to grow. There are so many types to choose from — fruits, flowers, succulents, or a classic veggie garden! If you’re a beginner, I recommend reading more about easy-to-grow plants for your garden!
Beginner’s Garden by Alex Mitchell
Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden by Erin Benzakein
What better way than to let out your creative side than through an art project? Putting together a scrapbook is not only really cool, but it’s also a sentimental hobby. You can paste photos of special memories, collect mementos from years past, and make a theme out of your book!
A couple of years ago I made my grandma a scrapbook for her birthday. It was truly special watching her scroll through the book!
I tend to add a lot of cute little details to my scrapbooks like glitter, stickers, stamps, and decorative paper! Think about a special memory you’d like to document and go from there. Also, consider turning your scrapbook into a dream board! 🌟
Do you like putting things together or enjoy tricky brain teasers? Working on a puzzle would be a wonderful hobby for you! Puzzles are entertaining and they’re also really good for your health.
There are so many positives when it comes to puzzles. In fact, they can help improve your memory, sharpen your problem solving skills, and increase positive energy!
Just a few types of puzzles you may enjoy:
- Math games
- Rubik’s Cube
- Jigsaw puzzles
Test out different types of puzzles and see which one you like best! 🎲
I really started cooking a lot more after college. I found 30-minute cookbooks, the perfect cooking set, and my crockpot helped a lot back in those days! Now, I’m using HelloFresh for the weekdays and I really enjoy it too. It’s made me a more creative cook!
Once Upon a Chef by Jennifer Segal
I have to admit, as an English-writing grad, I’m a little biased when it comes to writing. But it’s really a fantastic hobby! First of all, writing is a wonderful outlet for for self-expression. Also, it helps you piece together a bunch of things that are on your mind.
When I was in high school, I wrote a 350 page book one summer just for fun! I couldn’t get this love story out of my head and it was amazing bringing the characters to life.
You can do a lot with creative writing.
- short stories
- fiction writing
- personal essays
- creative non-fiction
My recommendation is to pick an outlet that interests you most. For example, maybe you have a knack for visuals and want to explore poetry. Grab a journal and just start writing what is on your mind. Don’t overthink it much and enjoy a peaceful moment of simply jotting down your thoughts.
My favorite writing tools:
A Year of Creative Writing Prompts
6. DIYing & Crafts
DIYing helps you express yourself and it’s also quite easy to learn new projects. You can find so many awesome crafts and tutorials online. One of the best places to start is Pinterest. They have a bunch of creative projects to choose from! ✨
There’s also so much you can do with DIY crafts. Maybe you want to make colorful mugs, new decor for your room or even a bath bomb. Scroll through different projects and see which one speaks to you most!
Some of my favorite crafts:
- DIY Glitter Speckled Mugs
- How to Watercolor Paint on Fabric | Tutorial
- DIY Galaxy Coasters
- How to Make Scrunchies
Creating and listening to music is one of the best ways to restore your energy. Did you know that music can actually boost your mood and lower stress hormones like cortisol?
When it comes to music, you can do so much — sing, learn an instrument, make playlists, and a lot more!
Personally, I’ve always enjoyed singing and find that it relaxes me during times of stress. I also love putting on my headphones and daydreaming. This is typically how I like to spend my time alone.
Ask yourself, what do you enjoy most about music? What would you like to learn or make more time for? Maybe it’s as simple as picking up your ukulele for 15 minutes each day or discovering new artists!
Best Music Finds:
Hal Leonard Guitar Method Book
8. Exercise — Yoga, Biking, Sports, etc.
Just have fun and move your body! ⚽
Pick a sport or activity that you truly enjoy. Maybe it’s running, pilates, dancing, or riding your bike. Once you’ve chosen, make it a habit to do this activity during times that work for you. When it comes to your hobby, It’s important to make it fun and reliably relaxing.
Personally, I’ve never been the best at sports, but I love to bike ride during the summer and do yoga during the winter. (Gotta love cold Chicago weather!)
At the end of the day, you want to choose an activity that truly empowers you!
Cuddling up with a cup of tea and good book is amazing. Not only does reading reduce anxiety levels, but it also boosts your mood and has a positive impact on your brain health. Picking up a new book also helps you fall asleep faster!
Definitely one of the most beneficial calming hobbies! 📚
Here are the most anticipated books of 2020.
Books I’m Excited to Read:
For more inspo, check out my reading lists:
- 14 Dreamy Books for Your Summer 2019 Reading List
- Fall Reading List | 15 Magical Books to Cuddle Up With!
Video games are another helpful hobby for stress relief. They can also improve your critical thinking and decision making skills!
There are so many games to choose from depending on your interests. If you like adventure, try video games like Mario Kart, Skyrim or Spyro. Maybe you love anything that sparks your creativity. Building a house on Sims or designing your own world in Minecraft would be an excellent game choice for you!
My favorite game right now is Sims. I love interior design, so building and designing my homes always bring out my creative side!
Overall, gaming is a nice way to treat yourself at the end of the day!
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe — Nintendo Switch
Collecting can be a really meaningful hobby. Think of the top things that really interest you — (music, home decor, comic books, etc.) and start a mini collection!
Here are some cool and adorable items you can collect:
- Post Cards
- Funko POP! figures
One of the dreamiest and most calming hobbies on this list! ☁️
Cloud watching is a delightful way to unwind and enjoy nature. Not only is this hobby super relaxing, but it’s also gives you a reason to daydream and simply enjoy the moment! Grab a blanket, sit on the grass, and make pictures in your mind. If it’s cold outside, sit by the window, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate, and look out at the sky!
Bullet journals come in very handy when it comes to organizing your day. You can create unique pages for your goals and dreams. Some ideas include making a mood tracker, water intake page, habit tracker, and even a list of positive affirmations.
Diary of a Journal Planner has so many more ideas of things to do with your bullet journal!
Journaling has always been one of my personal go-to calming hobbies. I love to doodle in my journal, add stickers, and track my goals for the year!
Embroidery and Cross Stitch Must-Haves:
Coloring is a treat after a long day. It’s nice to just focus on one thing and stay in the present moment. There are a lot of benefits to coloring such as stress relief. Studies show coloring also helps to reduce anxiety symptoms and sparks your creativity.
Enjoy this Moment Coloring Book
World of Flowers Coloring Book
Get in your car and drive or take a train ride to the next town! Traveling can get pricey, but there are a lot of things to see close to home. Check out tourist-y things to do near you. Maybe it’s a festival, farmers market or even a local theatre! 🌎
Also, look out for traveling deals online and collect post cards for every new place you visit. If you’re from the Chicago area or are visiting, I recommend the Mag Mile, Water Tower, and the Museum of Science and Industry!
Makeup is such a lovely creative outlet! 💄
As one of your calming hobbies, you can create pretty eyeshadow looks. Another fun thing to do is watch inspiring tutorials on Youtube. There are so many to choose from and you do truly learn a lot!
Painting is probably one of the most therapeutic and calming hobbies on this list. It distracts you from the stressors of daily life and gives you a creative outlet. You are better able to concentrate on what is going on in the here and now.
Also, you can choose from many various styles too. For example, think about trying out acrylic, oil, or even watercolor styles. Test out different styles and see which one you like best!
15-Minute Watercolor Masterpieces
I hope that you enjoyed this post, lovelies! Have a great rest of your weekend and Happy New Year! x
What are some of your favorite calming hobbies?
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Thank you, your post had some insightful ideas that I hadn’t considered. Perhaps it’s just the way you posed them, but I’m going to try some of your ideas and see if they stick for me!
Nunzia Martino says
Thank you so much for your kind comment! I’m happy that you liked the ideas and I hope that they end up being a helpful tool in your day-to-day! x
Hi lovely Nunzia 😍 how are you? These are my favourite kind of post. I love activities that make me calm and happy. Like writing, drawing, walking in nature.
Nunzia Martino says
Hi Aisha!! ❤️ I’m doing well, thanks so much for asking!!! How are you? Hope you’re doing well & having a great month!
So happy you liked the post by the way! Writing, drawing, and spending time in nature are some of my favorite ways to relax too! x
I also enjoy scrapbooking as well I’m getting into more and more and considering I suffer from anxiety depression it really does help me. I have a long way to go but it’s a start. I would like to start a blog but I don’t know where to start.
Nunzia Martino says
Scrapbooking is a lot of fun & relaxing! I’m also so glad that it’s helping with your anxiety/depression! And I’d say when it comes to blogging, the best thing you can do is just start. Pick something that’s on your mind right now and free write about it for a while. When you feel it’s ready, you can publish your first post. That’s what I did when I first started blogging. And I found my passion that way! WordPress is also the perfect platform for starting a blog. 💗
Oh wow now I want to do all of that… 😂 And this is my biggest problem with hobbies: I want to do so many things that I end up doing nothing because I am overwhelmed by all the possibilities 😂 However, I do really enjoy music as well, and I’ll try to be more mindful of my hobbies this year, in order to truly enjoy them and also to avoid binging Netflix! Thanks you so much for the great inspiration 😍
Nunzia Martino says
Aww, thanks Juliette — I’m happy the post provided some inspo!! I have the exact same issue with trying to do too many hobbies at once 😂😂I don’t know if this will help at all, but I find that picking the one that inspires me most at the time helps a lot. Then if anything, you can switch things up later. Right now, I’m trying to sing more because I used to do record covers of my favorite songs allll the time but stopped after college.
Thanks for taking the time to read my post & for your sweet comment! Hope you’re doing well!! x
I love scrapbooking – it’s such a great way to look back on your favourite memories. I’ve also just signed up for a yoga class too – I’ve only had one class so far but I loved it! I felt so good afterwards! Xx
Nunzia Martino says
Scrapbooking is a lot of fun and definitely sentimental. 💛
That’s awesome, girl!! Yoga is such a fantastic stress reliever and it’s so good for your health too. I hope you continue to enjoy your classes!! x
Thank you! 😊 Xx
Nunzia gardening for me was good when Nonna was on vacation and painting I like a lot like when I try to paint with Jonathan.lol Very good ideas. Love mom .
Nunzia Martino says
Aww, I remember you taking care of her flowers! You should garden more this summer!! 🌻 (and teach me your ways lol!!)
Painting is so much fun!! I enjoy it too! 🎨
Love you mom!! 💗
I enjoy puzzles, reading and feeling creative either through Bullet Journalling or blogging. Personally I find cooking/baking a little stressful as I overthink all the steps but I can see how people find it calming 🙂
Nunzia Martino says
I totally remember you telling me you like to bullet journal, Chanelle! Same here!! 💗 And I like to write in my regular journal/diary too!
Baking can be stressful — I definitely see what you mean. I made dessert bread the other week and that was stressful….(but it ended up being tasty after the second attempt 😂😂) I love making cookies and brownies though lol!! I find that’s easier and makes me feel calmer. 😊
I hope you’re doing well by the way and are enjoying your January! x
Cookies and brownies are relatively straightforward 😊
The year is going well so far, got a couple of weeks off work which I’m looking forward to! Hope everything is good with you ❤️