While it seems like everyone has a “side hustle,” you don’t have to turn your hobby into a business for it to make a difference in your life. In fact, hobbies are great for mental health and can help us manage anxiety, stress, depression and more. After all, exercising your mind is just as important as exercising your body. And there are plenty of hobbies you can do on your own to keep your mind clear.
According to Psychology Today, hobbies can help with everything from reducing stress to promoting flow and increasing structure. Doing something creative can have positive effects that even last after you’re finished. Hobbies have also been known to have many benefits for those recovering with mental illnesses.
The bottom line? Hobbies aren’t just fun — they’re great for your brain and mental health! Taking up a new thing can be a little overwhelming, so here are some easy hobbies you can do on your own to keep your mind clear:
Adult coloring books have been trending for quite a while. And for good reason! Coloring is an easy hobby that you can do pretty much anywhere. It doesn’t matter if you color inside the lines or not, the act of coloring lets you focus on something mindless.
Whether you’re into crosswords, sudoku, or old-school jigsaws, puzzles are another great activity you can do by yourself. Puzzles require cognitive thinking, so it’s basically a workout for your brain that also helps reduce stress and anxiety.
Even if you’re not musically-inclined, playing a musical instrument is a fun hobby you can do solo or with friends! Whether you strum on a guitar for an hour a day or play the harmonica, music can improve cognitive thinking, reduce anxiety, and make you feel more relaxed. Don’t know how to play anything? There are plenty of free lessons online!
Volunteer at an animal shelter
Why wouldn’t you want to hang out with puppies and kittens all day? Volunteering not only helps the community, but it also helps you. Spending time with animals is proven to make us feel better. Volunteering makes us feel good as well. So when you put the two together, you get a brain-boosting experience.
You don’t need a fancy camera to take photos. Begin your foray into photography with your smartphone! Taking pictures of things you find beautiful or appealing can make you see things in a different way. And you’ll have the photos as reminders when you’re feeling stressed.
Go for a walk
Some people might argue this isn’t a hobby, but it is. Taking 30 minutes to an hour out of your day for a walk is a good way to boost endorphins and get fresh air. Play some music, listen to a podcast, or call an old friend while you’re walking.
Getting your groove on is one of the best ways to take your mind off things. Throw on your favorite tunes and dance it out around your home. This is a great way to release some endorphins and be silly without anyone watching, which will help calm your mind.
You can get started with your new hobby and clear your mind today! And if it's not for you, there are hundreds of other hobbies you can pick up — painting, crafting, woodworking, you name it. What are you waiting for?