overhead view of a canvas with a water colour painting on it, surrounded by paints and paintbrushes

Improve Your Mental Health By Picking Up A New Hobby This Season!

Are you stuck on what to add to your Christmas wish list this year? Why not consider a new hobby? Not only will it give you a good excuse for some quality ‘me’ time, but experts say it can actually improve your overall mental health and well-being! Let’s talk dig into the reasons why…

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We live in a fast-paced, high-stress society where it feels like many of us spend every waking minute working towards knocking items off our to-do lists. From work-related projects and assignments to the never-ending piles of laundry waiting for us at home, it’s exhausting! Who has time to think, let alone to carve out ‘me time’ in our days?

The good news is that there is a way to prioritize that much-needed down time in your day, but it comes in a package you may not have expected… Studies show that there are a number of important benefits associated with having a hobby including reduced stress levels and improved overall mental health!

That sounds WAY too easy, doesn’t it? After all, if happiness was that easy, wouldn’t we all be doing it?  However, I challenge each of you to step back and take a look at your life. Do you currently have something that you truly enjoy doing outside of your professional life? If so, do you make it a priority to find time for this activity in your weekly schedule?

Rather than creating a Christmas wish list full of the latest gadgets and fashion, why not consider something with a greater impact on your life? Many hobbies can be explored with a relatively low initial investment. Consider asking for the supplies necessary to get you started with something new, or to prioritize a hobby that you once enjoyed and would like to bring back into your life again.

For example, I have been cross stitching off and on since I was a child. My mother originally taught me, purchasing simple starter kits while I learned the basics of how to start a new thread, creating even stitches and finishing off my work. As I get older, unfortunately, this was something that was put aside and forgotten about as I started focusing on schoolwork, building my business, etc. Recently, I purchased a couple patterns and picked it back up again, and it feels great!

Whether you still need to find something that speaks to you, or simply need a nudge to pick up a loved hobby once again – consider this your sign! Why not improve your mental health by picking up a new hobby today? You deserve it!

7 Ways A Hobby Can Help to Improve Your Life:

#1 – Reduce Stress

There is no denying the fact that we have a serious stress issue in our society today. In fact, many professionals will go as far as saying that we are currently experiencing a stress epidemic, with ‘burnout’ costing businesses thousands of dollars each year due to poor productivity and job performance as well as a higher number of ‘sick days’ among their employees. Ignoring the problem isn’t working, so it’s time to consider what steps we can take to reduce our stress.

While taking up a hobby isn’t going to actually remove stressors from your life, it will provide you with a much-needed break from the demands of both your professional and private lives. Whether you’re participating in a team sport like hockey or knitting at home, in that moment you can put everything else aside and focus on the task at hand. This helps to calm your nerves while encouraging a sense of mindfulness. Why do you think we look forward to the next game or moment alone with a good book so much?

#2 – Connect with Others

Have you ever noticed how much more difficult it can be to make friends as an adult? While you may still have some friends from school, life happens, and we often find ourselves heading down different paths. This isn’t to say that we don’t still care for one another, but who are you going to call when all you need is some face to face time? Many hobbies will provide you with the opportunity to meet others who share your interests. This includes not only teammates when joining a recreational sports league, but also other group activities like knitting circles, book clubs, photography classes, and more.

The good news?  You know right from the start that you share at least one interest, after all, that’s how you met. This helps to narrow the field to people you may develop a real connection with while also providing you with a great icebreaker.

#3 – ‘Discover’ Yourself

As children we got through a process of discovering who we are including finding our passions, the things we enjoy (and those we don’t), our strengths and our weaknesses. Unfortunately, for many of us this ends somewhere around our late teens/early 20’s when we feel like we’ve ‘got it all figured out’. The truth is that we continue to grow, change and evolve throughout our lives… 20-year-old you and 40-year-old you may be drastically different people!

By exploring different hobbies and finding which speak to you, it opens the door to continue learning about who you are over the years. As we change, the hobby we are drawn to may as well, and that’s okay! It’s better than okay – it’s a clear indicator of a higher level of self-awareness, which can help us in many aspects of life including our relationships, careers, etc.

#4 – Challenge Your Mind

One of the biggest concerns that come with age is the fact that we will, in time, start to lose our mental sharpness and clarity. How often do you hear people refer to ‘becoming forgetful’ in their old age? While there are no hobbies that will stop you from aging entirely, choosing one that challenges your mind can help to provide the stimulation necessary to slow the effects. Mentally engaging hobbies like card games, crafting, brain teasers, and playing music help to engage your mind, improving memory, boosting creativity and even enhancing your decision-marking and problem-solving skills.

#5 – Improved Productivity

You’re probably thinking that this is completely contradictory, right? I’m telling you that taking time away from your work may actually make you more productive… but it’s true! By scheduling time into your day to step back and enjoy a hobby, you provide yourself with a much-needed mental break. As a result, you can return to your latest work assignment with a clear mind and a fresh set of eyes. The result? You are prepared to buckle down and focus, producing better quality work and at a faster rate.

Moral of the story: Don’t allow your drive to succeed in your professional life keep you from trying out a hobby. Picking up a hobby may help to propel your forward towards your goals and dreams! Why not give it a try?

#6 – Improve Your Immune System

Many popular hobbies today encourage you to get up and moving. The obvious benefit is, of course, that physical activity will help you to lose/maintain a healthy weight, reducing the risk of physical health conditions like heart disease, but did you know that regular activity can also help to boost your immune system? That’s right, taking up a hobby such as biking, horseback riding, hiking, canoeing, or playing team sports can help to keep you healthy. Enjoy your favourite activity and avoid that winter bug at the same time, it’s a win/win situation.  

#7 – Passive Income

I have included this as the last point because it shouldn’t be the main reason for picking up a hobby. Choosing solely based on income potential would mean you’re making a career/financial choice, not one rooted in enjoyment and recreation. However, you may find that over time you can bring in some extra spending money from your hobby. While this likely won’t be enough to make much of a difference in your greater financial plan (living expenses), it may be enough to finance your hobby itself!

In rare cases, a hobby can develop into something bigger, leading you to discover a new career path or even open your own business. For many, this is the ultimate dream – making a living doing something you genuinely love!

overhead view of a canvas with a water colour painting on it, surrounded by paints and paintbrushes with the title 'improve your mental health by picking up a new hobby this season'

Did you know that you can improve your mental health by picking up a new hobby? Do you currently have a favourite hobby? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

46 thoughts on “Improve Your Mental Health By Picking Up A New Hobby This Season!”

  1. Right now I don’t even have time for my regular hobbys, but my new years resolution is going to be taking art seriously – some passive income from it would be nice!

  2. Great tips! I agree hobbies give your brain outlets for stress or emotions that you don’t even necessarily realize you need.

    1. Yes! That’s one of the most interesting part of it, tapping into what you’re really feeling beneath the surface, even if you don’t realize it.

  3. I replaced my Boutique hopping hobby with my little travel blog. I have learned so much and connected with people all over the world. AND it is much cheaper. It is definitely so important to keep engaged as we mature and move into different seasons of life.

  4. I love the idea of picking up a new hobby for so many reasons many of which you mentioned in your article. It is a great way to reduce stress and meet people and it also helps you step a bit out of your comfort zone which many people need to do more of. You never know what you might be good at until you try it. If you can make some extra passive income while you’re at it why not!

  5. I first started running for a hobby and noticed a few of these things almost straight away – better mentally, obviously physical improvements and a great challenge/ drive to improve was good for me too. I haven’t tried a new one in a while though so maybe I should try to pick up something new in the new year x


  6. I used to knit and embroider, but my rheumatoid arthritis hands won’t let me do that anymore. Instead, I’m obsessed with photography. And you’re right — a half-hour of meandering around outside with my camera is this de-stressor I know.

    1. That’s what my stitching has become for me – I mention it occasionally on my social media simply because it’s part of who I am, but it’s in no way related to my work and I have no intention of making it such…. It’s something just for me

  7. Those are really awesome reasons as to why everyone should take on a new hobby! And if you are feeeling short on money making your hobby into a passive income generator is such a great idea! We never know, what if it ends up becoming your primary income! Thanks for sharing!

    1. This is so true, I’ve seen people turn a hobby they love into a fulltime income that supports not only their hobby, but also their bills and lifestyle! Wouldn’t that be the dream?

    1. I go through periods of time where I get wrapped up in work and I can feel the impact it has on my mental state… It’s usually not long before I catch myself and carve some time into my schedule to sit down and craft again!

    1. I suggest start by looking at what interests you, don’t allow yourself to think too hard… If you’re on Pinterest scrolling through the millions of pins, what grabs your attention. Then just jump in…. Many hobbies can be started at a super low cost, so what’s the worst that can happen? You realize that one isn’t for you and move on… YouTube is another great place for inspiration (as well as for instructional videos)

  8. I LOVE this post! Taking up some creative projects are so good for you. I’m currently planning my daughter’s birthday party for next month and I’m having a blast picking out colors and flowers that I don’t have time to stress about everything else I have going on. I believe your point on productivity is spot on. Thanks for your insight.

    1. Party planning can be so much fun! I can’t wait to see the final result (I’m assuming we’ll at least get a sneak peek on your social media lol)

  9. Love this post. I’ve been thinking about taking up cross stitching again as a stress reliever. It’s so important to do something for yourself. Something you really enjoy. And it’s so easy to forget that. Thanks for the reminder.

  10. Hobbies are great for reducing stress and forgetting about your worries. I wish I was more creative so I could take up painting or drawing. Ah well, I guess I’ll have to try some crafts.

    1. Have you ever considered starting with a paint by number type set up were it helps you tap into that creativity? It may even lead to you trying to paint on your own after a while 🙂

  11. You really had a lot of good points here, some that I have never even thought of. Until I got to number 5, I kept thinking, “Yeah but I NEVER have time!” Then I got to 5 and it says you can improve your productivity. I get that. I used to knit and every time I go into my closet and see all my yarn and knitting supplies I want to start it up again. Then my very next thought is, I need to work. When I’m not taking care of the kids physically I need to get on the computer and try to find work. My next thought is, if I were to sit down after dinner with the kids while they watched something on TV or played Minecraft I wouldn’t be able to knit then, either, because as soon as I sit, one of them is asking to sit on my lap. They are still that young. So, haven’t figured this one out yet but will definitely keep it in mind.

    1. It can be challenging when they’re young. Even if you carved out 20 minutes after they went to sleep, for example. It doesn’t have to be a long time, but that ‘you time’ is so important!

  12. It’s been so long since I’ve tried a new hobby! The last one was running, which I’ve since given up, but it definitely had a great impact on my mental and physical health.

  13. My husband got me started playing Pokemon Go at the end of the summer. He’s played since the beginning, and I’ve always resisted playing until he needed a favor. Then it got me out more and meeting new people. I’ve actually made friends playing. For being the stereotypical reclusive writer, this was a huge step outside of my comfort zone. But your tips on a new hobby are spot on! Playing has made me exercise more and even want to join a gym again, focusing on stamina in terms of walking. I am more productive when I sit down to write as well! I seem to sit still and focus much easier, and I’m not constantly overthinking things.

    1. I’ve been playing too, although not nearly as focused as I probably should be if I want to actually accomplish anything on there haha Some of the students I work with through music play and encouraged me to join in

  14. I love this!!! I love my artistic hobbies that I use to reduce stress. Being creative helps me with my mental well-being! I’d like to collab with you one day, your blog really resonates with me

    1. I have been wanting to get my hands on one of those ‘adult colouring books’ everyone has been talking about. I think it would be great for times when I’m feeling upset or overwhelmed…

    1. I have seen a significant impact on my mental health since I picked up my cross stitch once again. It’s one of the better decisions I made in 2019.

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