Many people find themselves in an unfamiliar situation at the moment. With the country on lockdown, there’s an opportunity for those who aren’t working to embrace a period of downtime. Although it’s a worrying time for all of us, staying at home provides a chance to enjoy quality time with family and to slow the pace of life. If you have more time on your hands than usual, and you’re looking for constructive ways to spend it, have you thought about taking up a new hobby? Here are some ideas to get you thinking.
Cooking and baking
Be honest. Are you one of those people that usually uses a lack of time as an excuse for rustling up ready meals or ordering in? If you’ve had a busy day, it’s natural to want to relax and unwind when you get home, and you might not feel like slaving over a hot stove. If time is normally a problem, why not use the coming weeks to develop your cooking and baking skills and enjoy making homemade meals you can eat together? If you have children, you can get them involved in prepping main courses and whipping up delicious cakes and desserts. If you’re a novice, start with simple, quick recipes and expand your repertoire as you become more confident. There are thousands of recipes available online and you can filter the results depending on the ingredients you have access to, your skill level and the amount of time you have free. Learning to cook is a skill that will benefit you long after the lockdown is lifted, and it could also save a huge amount of money if you’re used to buying ready-made meals and takeaways on a regular basis.
Arts and crafts
If you’re a creative person, there’s nothing like sitting down with a sketch pad, some paints, a needle and thread, scrapbooking supplies or materials to make DIY cards and presents. Being creative is beneficial for your mental health and it can really help to reduce stress and anxiety levels. When you get involved in creative activities, you can express yourself and this enables you to manage your emotions. Being creative can also be incredibly fun, and it allows you to spend quality time with other members of your family.
Whether you’re a seasoned crafter who doesn’t usually have time to devote to a hobby, or you’re a beginner, there are all kinds of activities you can enjoy at home. One great idea is to make products for your home or to give away to others. It’s difficult to buy gifts at the moment and accessories aren’t deemed an essential item. If you can learn to make your own greetings cards or to create beautiful gifts like handmade soaps or candles, you can keep your home looking stunning and make sure you’re up to date with birthdays, anniversaries and new arrivals. If you like the idea of making and gifting candles, take a look at sites like Supplies for Candles and follow online tutorials. Other gift ideas include personalised notebooks and photo books, bespoke photo frames and customised hampers.
If you’re blessed with creative talents, or you enjoy being creative, you could also turn your hand to designing and making clothes and accessories, to drawing and painting or to writing stories or song lyrics.
Exercise is one of the best hobbies for your health. If you don’t usually have time to work out much, or you’re already bored of your new home-based routine, why not try some new activities? You don’t have to go to the gym or live near a park to get fit. There are so many things you can do at home that will benefit your physical and mental health. Online classes are widely available and you can follow workouts using DVDs or online channels. In many cases, you don’t need equipment. Taking up a new hobby that involves moving your body will make you feel amazing, and it will also boost your physical health. Choose from 15-minute HIIT sessions, Pilates workouts, yoga classes or circuit training, or learn to dance, for example. You can also use home gym equipment, for example, an exercise bike or a treadmill, to get involved in training programmes and you can exercise in the garden if you fancy a change of scenery and you want to get some fresh air. For many people, the hardest part of living a more active lifestyle is establishing a new routine. While you have time available, get into exercise, and you’ll probably find that it soon becomes second nature. The aim is to make working out fun so that it doesn’t feel like a chore.
Gardening is a hobby that is often associated with older people, but it’s becoming more popular among younger crowds. There are several benefits linked to gardening, including improved physical and mental wellbeing. You only have to spend 20 minutes mowing the lawn, pulling out weeds and levelling compost and soil to see that it gives you a full-body workout, and many people find it therapeutic and relaxing. Working on a project provides a sense of satisfaction and spending time in the outdoors can also help to lower stress levels. At the moment, when we’re limited to the amount of time we can spend in the open air, getting into the garden is a fantastic way to blow away the cobwebs and enjoy the spring sunshine. If you’re new to gardening, don’t panic. You don’t have to be a green-fingered guru to achieve excellent results. Follow planting instructions if you’ve bought bulbs or seeds and take a look at online beginner’s guides and articles in magazines for tips and advice.
Many of us find ourselves in a very unfamiliar situation where we have time on our hands. If you’ve got hours to spare, why not take up a new hobby? Whether you’re keen to get active, to flex your creative talents or to learn a new skill, there are plenty of ways to stay busy and to improve your mental and physical health at the same time.