Many times when a person becomes depressed, their hobbies are some of the first things that disappear from their lives. Where once they might have loved to sew or knit, play guitar or go rock climbing, or create new masterpieces in the kitchen or on canvas, feelings of anxiety, sadness, and stress became overwhelming and edged their favorite relaxing activities out of the picture.
One of the most important things we can do to combat depression and anxiety is to stay engaged in leisure time activities, or begin them anew if we’ve let them go. In fact, most in-patient mental health treatment facilities encourage their patients to rediscover lost hobbies, and they’ve found that improvement in mood and general well-being can be seen quite soon after patients begin participating in hobbies again on a regular basis.
Participate and Engage
If you or someone you care about is suffering from depression and/or anxiety getting involved in some fun, meaningful activities can make a huge difference in how you feel. If you need some inspiration, here’s a list of popular hobbies:
- Adopt a new pet. Consider an older dog or cat rather than a puppy or kitten as the level of responsibility isn’t quite as intense, and there are absolutely lovely animals in shelters who are waiting to find forever homes.
- Learn how to make homebrew/craftbrew beers, artisan breads, or some other similar project.
- Take a class on scrapbooking. Creating elaborate scrapbooks is a popular hobby for many, and modern scrapbooks are made incredibly interesting using a variety of implements such as custom rubberstamps.
- Learn how to knit, crochet, or do some other type of needlework.
- Try out model trains, radio controlled airplanes or cars.
- Get outdoors and go kayaking, hiking, or rock climbing.
- Take up golfing or horseback riding.
- Get interested in collecting – many people enjoy learning about and collecting antiques, coins, or sports memorabilia.
- Get involved in photography.
- Consider purchasing a telescope and learning about astronomy.
- Research different charities and get involved in volunteer work for the ones that are meaningful to you.
- Plan a vacation to another country and learn their native language in the months leading up to the trip.
- Take a quilting class and use your new talent to make tiny quilts for preemies in hospital care wards.
- Learn how to make homemade candles and/or soaps.
- Join a reading group or book club.
- Contact your local botanical gardens and find someone who teaches the ancient, relaxing art of bonsai.
- Begin researching your family tree.
- Get into the popular activity of geocaching.
- Join a group for playing card games like bridge, or cribbage.
- Learn about tropical, rare, and exotic fish. Buy an aquarium and stock it with your favorites.
- Buy a metal detector and start exploring.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of hobbies and activities enjoyed by people from all walks of life. Pick one, or even a few, and give them a try. Keep on trying until you find something that really grabs you, and keep yourself active and busy to stay happy and fight depression for good.
This article was written by Stephanie Lambert, a freelance writer and healthcare consultant whose favorite hobbies include biking and scrap booking using rubberstamps.