Focusing on your wellness and self-care doesn’t have to mean expensive health spas or intense workouts, although these can be great. In fact, some of the best ways to improve your mental and physical health are often the simplest and most the enjoyable ones like taking up a hobby. Whether you want to pursue creative projects or take up outdoor activities, these 5 hobbies will be sure to boost your self-care, overall mental health and wellbeing.

In this post I’m going to cover the benefits of hobbies for mental health and hopefully you can find one or two that suit you.

What is considered to be a hobby?

A hobby is an activity that you do on a regular basis in your spare time for pleasure. There are many different types of hobby for example creative ones, athletic ones, academic ones and much more. It’s important that the hobby you choose is one that you enjoy so you have the motivation to keep going with it.

Hobbies don’t have to be done in a class or in an organised way they can simply range from investing in a bit of me-time alone, dining out with friends, going to the cinema, taking walks, listening to music, reading and even travelling.

Having said that if you fancy starting a new hobby there are many self-care online courses available now that you can do from the comfort of your home.

The idea of using a hobby to boost your mental health is to allow your mind to be calmed and to bring a sense of relaxation to your emotional wellbeing.

There is plenty of evidence from research that shows how having a hobby can easily improve your wellbeing and can have positive effects on mental health issues such as relieving depression.

Best hobbies for self-care and wellbeing

These 5 hobbies for good mental  all have the effect of making you feel calm and relaxed. They are all mentally stimulating but in a way that allows your mind to be present in moment. A calming hobby prevents your mind from wandering on to other more stressful things and gives you a chance to unwind and relieve stress. This nicely brings me on to my first hobby for improving your mental health.

1. Mindful Meditation

Mindful meditation is one of the self-care hobbies that has been shown to boost feelings of wellbeing and happiness while also decreasing symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety. Mindfulness is a brilliant exercise for everyone no matter what your spiritual disposition. It allows you to switch off your mind and keep those little annoying voices quiet.

This in turn lets you just focus on being present in the moment. You can also use mindfulness meditation as a method of self-care, giving you time to reflect and really think about how your actions are impacting on your overall mental health and wellbeing.

2. Yoga

Yoga is at the top of the list of hobbies that is becoming more and more popular and is a fantastic way to improve self-care, wellbeing and in turn your physical and mental health. It brings together relaxation, breathing exercises and stretching to give you a mental clarity that is very hard to duplicate through other types of exercise.

As well as the physical benefits of yoga, it also allows you to tune in to your body and helps you to create a better understanding and connection between your body and your mind. Yoga as a hobby is a very popular way to relieve stress and tension.

3. Exercise

Exercise is one of the best and most well-known methods of self-care. It has been scientifically demonstrated with no doubt that it can increase your physical and mental health. Exercise dose this by boosting your endorphin quantities, improving your mood, and bringing down your stress and anxiety levels.

Exercise can be considered anything from walking to weightlifting. It’s all about picking one that works for you and that gives you the most enjoyment and satisfaction.

Friendly warning: If you have an injury it is important to find an exercise that doesn’t make things worse. For example if you have a bad knee, then running may not be the best option, however using a cross-trainer gives you the same workout without putting pressure on your knees from hard impact.

Whichever you choose, try to make sure it is an activity that will get you up and moving about. It is also very important that you enjoy it so that it doesn’t become a chore.

4. Painting and Drawing

I have a creative side to me so this is right at the top of my self-care and wellbeing hobbies list. Painting, drawing and even sculpting can help to unleash your creativity and ease stress at the same time. Whether you’re a beginner starting from scratch on a blank canvas, or even just doodling on a piece of paper, this hobby is awesome for helping your mental wellbeing.

You really don’t need to be an expert artist or painter either – it’s not about the outcome of your work that matters, it’s the process of getting there. Pushing yourself to take on the challenge to create something attractive by using various techniques, textures, and materials can help you get into a creative flow that will reduce your feelings of stress and boredom. Plus, looking back at your work once you have finished may give you a satisfying sense of accomplishment!

5. Gardening and plant care

This is one of my favourite relaxing and destressing hobbies. I like nothing more than spending a day out in the sunshine at one with nature. Gardening and taking care of plants can be a super hobby for relaxing and tuning into your mind, body, and spirit. It’s not only about getting the benefits of physical exercise in the fresh air.  Believe it or not tending to your plants nurtures more than just your garden!

Growing your own fruits and vegetables can give you a real sense of connection with nature and lets you truly appreciate the little things in life. Getting down on your hands and knees and playing in the dirt can provide much-needed relief from stressors too! If you live in an apartment, fear not, there are still plenty of plants you can tend to indoors or on a balcony.

Rachel Mills

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