After being cooped up indoors for about 4 months, many people including myself quickly run out of activities to keep busy. In order to both enjoy the time (socially distanced, of course) and distract myself from whatever is going on in the world, I turned to immersion in various hobbies. Not only do hobbies improve mental health, but they also promote eustress, a type of positive stress that makes one feel excited about what they are engaging in.
With our current situation in mind, I’ve compiled a bountiful list of hobbies below that are both fun and easy to learn, so summer 2020 won’t be wasted.
Cooking and baking
At first, cooking and baking may seem difficult, but the trick to mastering the skill is in choosing the recipe. If you’re new to this hobby, it’s best to start simple, with recipes that are both easy and delicious. For kitchen projects, try making homemade no-box mac and cheese or a twist on a classic baked spaghetti to really wow your family for dinner. For baking projects, tackling homemade brownies and peanut butter cookies is the ultimate way to jump-start your baking career.
If you really want to challenge yourself in the kitchen, try upgrading it with some of my favorite recipes, gourmet mushroom risotto or the best chocolate cake in the whole world.
Websites like Love & Lemons, The Food Network, and Allrecipes offer a myriad of recipes suitable for any type of cook or baker, regardless of your skill level. Not only are these recipes suitable for both the family and the kitchen, but they also include common ingredients in the pantry.
With the rise of technology these days, it’s rare to see people congregating around a square of decorated cardboard topped with plastic figurines; however, after rummaging through my cabinets and reliving my youth, I found board and card games to be quite entertaining.
The classics, like Monopoly, Sorry, and Trouble, are both fun and time-consuming, which during this time is considered very beneficial and ideal. If you don’t have one at home, another equally fun alternative is to create your own board game, using leftover cardboard, scissors and any small objects lying around. thespruceCrafts has a great article that covers all the possible board games you could make at home.
Unlike board games, a card game has endless limits and possibilities. Games like Big 2, President, Go Fish and War, among many others, will last all afternoon without being careful. Not only do the cards function as playing cards, but they also serve as stacking cards. If you end up running out of games to play, you can stack the cards to build card towers and houses. One challenge is to create the biggest and tallest tower of cards possible. Another is trying to beat Bryan Berg, the Guinness World Record holder for the tallest card stacking structure.
Proven to have health benefits, coloring is a great way to have fun and relax at the same time. According to Beaumont Health, coloring relieves stress, improves motor skills, vision, sleep, and concentration, to name a few. This activity can be done in any environment, any weather and any mood.
Websites, such as supercoloring.com and mombooks.com, are a great way to access free online coloring pages, so you can start coloring anytime. If printing is an inconvenience, free coloring apps, such as Pigment, Colorfy, Color Therapy Coloring Number, etc., are still available on App Store and Google Play for you to color anywhere.
Crochet and Knitting
If you’re one of the many people who have balls of yarn and knitting needles in their homes, crochet and knitting is perfect for you.
Crocheting, contrary to popular belief, is actually quite simple; it only requires a crochet hook and a ball of yarn. With repeat of easy and identical loops and hooks, crochet produces results much faster than knitting. From personal experience, a scarf can be finished in about a day or two. Websites like craftyarncouncil.com, mybluprint.com, and thesprucecrafts.com provide easy-to-understand explanations of how to start crocheting. For visual explanations, Bella Coco’s YouTube videos do a great job of outlining the steps.
Knitting, compared to crochet, is a bit more difficult: in exchange for the single crochet, two knitting needles are needed. Although the technique is slightly similar, it is a bit more complex, with more additions of curls and pulls. Despite the difficulties and more complicated processes, knitting projects are worth every yarn. For help on how to knit, check out these articles from sheepandstitch.com, marthastewart.com, and paradisefibers.com.
There is so much versatility in crochet and knitting; you can create anything from a scarf to a potholder to a cute sweater. There are also a variety of patterns you can choose from for both crochet and knitting, so the patterns are endless. Anything and everything is possible!
As someone who dances almost every day, I can attest that dancing is one of the best ways to unwind, relax, and have fun. For many people, dancing seems like a difficult activity to participate in; however, this is mostly due in part to the media generally focusing on the crème de la crème. Everyone can dance, no matter who you are or how talented you are!
If you’re just starting out, I highly recommend using TikTok videos for inspiration and reference – if you can find them on YouTube, that’s even better because you can slow down the video to your liking! Dances like Say So (choreographed by Haley Sharpe), Any Song (Zico) and Hit Yo Rollie are easy and fun challenges to do alone or with a family member.
For something a little more challenging, try learning one of the “Beginner Class” dances on the 1Million Dance Studio YouTube page. If you are interested in Kpop, try to learn one: TT from Twice, Bang Bang Bang from BigBang or War of Hormone from BTS. For professional dancers, try learning one of Sean Lew’s or Kyle Hanagami’s choreographies.
Before you start, always remember to stretch and believe in yourself!
During the quarantine period, I discovered that sewing was one of the best hobbies to take up. Learning to sew not only allows you to mend any rips you might have in your pants, but it also allows you to sew and create any garment you want. Although this activity requires a lot of equipment and necessary items, it is definitely worth learning.
instructables.com, crazylittleprojects.com, and thesprucecrafts.com provide simple walkthroughs and lessons on how to start sewing, both by hand and with a machine. Similar to knitting and crochet, there are many different stitches and techniques you can use to embellish any of your projects, so the possibilities for customization are limitless.
These days, with so many unprecedented and memorable events, what better way to document them than with photography? Photography is a great way to artistically express both your personality and your perspective on current events. Different camera models, filters, and landscapes each play a major role in setting the specific tone of the image, allowing for diversity and creativity in your projects.
Here are some of my favorite videos for photography tips:
Hobbies are always great mechanisms to distract us from reality, transport us back to our youth, and just relax. Regardless of the time of day, these hobbies will always be there to save us from boredom.