Fun Hobbies that cure and manage lonesome illnesses
A lot of people in the U.S. today deal with both anxiety and depression. Recent research shows that the most common mental illness in the U.S. is an anxiety disorder. Every year, 18.1% of the population, or about 40 million adults, are affected by it. If you are part of this number, it’s likely that you also have depression, which is common for people with chronic anxiety.
Anxiety and depression can be helped in a number of ways, such as through therapy, medicine, meditation, a change in circumstances or relationships, or by working out. Most of the time, a person with these kinds of problems needs more than one solution to help them feel better.
Even though getting a hobby won’t solve your anxiety and depression on its own, it can help, especially when combined with therapy, medication, and good self-care. Here is a list of hobbies that can help you deal with depression and anxiety. People like these because they help them let out their feelings, calm their minds, be more creative, and get better at focusing and feeling good about themselves as a whole.
Look over this list and pick out a few hobbies you’d like to try. If one or two of them really help you deal with your anxiety and depression, keep doing them.
We understand if cooking isn’t your thing. In reality, there are many ways to cook, and you can find one that works for you with a little trial and error. You should try it! Focusing on a physical task like chopping, stirring, smelling delicious smells, and trying new things can help ease anxiety and depression.
We suggest cooking with things like omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, protein, and B vitamins that are known to make you feel better. Follow along with a pro in an online cooking class to learn how to make new dishes. Or, bake your favorite dessert from a box first, then try making it from scratch. It can be discouraging to fail at a recipe, but if you keep trying, you might find a new hobby that is both tasty and good for your mental health.
Get Out in Nature
Being in nature is known to improve overall health by lowering stress, anxiety, and sadness, as well as reducing muscle tension, stress hormones, blood pressure, and heart rate. Think about what about nature makes you feel the most calm and at ease. Find that place and make it a regular part of your life.
This might look like:
1. Going for a walk every morning to see the sunrise
2. You swim in the river or lake near your home every weekend.
3. Go hiking near your house twice a week to enjoy the trees and birds.
4. Taking a road trip every month to a different part of your state
5. Twice a month, I drive out to the country and look at the stars.
6. Riding your bike through your neighborhood to get coffee on the way to work. 7. Making plans to visit the coast twice a year.
You should go to nature as often as you can. Try to move around in a natural setting as much as possible. This could mean taking a 10-minute walk every morning to look at the mountains or jumping into the ocean once a month.
Keep plants in your home or start a garden.
Nothing is better for mental health and happiness than taking care of plants and watching them grow. Gardening can make you happy and break cycles of worry because you’ll always have something to look forward to. It can also help you get your thoughts straight, especially after a hard day.
You don’t have to start a whole garden. Not everyone has enough room for that! Start by getting some small plants from a neighbor or a nearby garden store. Spend some time learning what your plants need and thinking about where in your space they will get enough air and sun. This is your chance to stop thinking about your own worries or sadness and take care of something simple. Even if a few plants die along the way, you probably have a green thumb.
Do things as a group.
When we’re feeling sad or anxious, it’s easy to shut ourselves off. Find a group of people to do an activity with that you already enjoy. It could be something active, like soccer, volleyball, or crossfit, or it could be something that gets people talking, like crafts, painting, book club, or writing. People know that group activities are good for mental health and especially for reducing stress, so look hard for a group; ask around or check Facebook. Finding a group of people who are like you can help you stay motivated, have someone to do your favorite thing with, and feel less anxious or sad.
Write poems and stories.
Writing is a great way to get tough ideas out of your head and onto paper. If writing full stories or poems scares you, start by writing in a journal a few times a week. Then, if you want to express yourself through writing, try your hand at poems. Words can help you stay grounded, let go of stress, and relax, so use them to get creative and let go of stress and anxiety.
Help Out Your Community
After a stressful situation, we often feel anxious and start to think too much about our lives. Then, we get stuck in our own heads. Focusing on other people or doing acts of service can help you stop worrying about yourself. Do a Google search for nonprofit organizations in your area, find one with a cause you care about, and get in touch with them to see how you can help. Helping other people or even animals in need can help you put your own problems in perspective and make you feel more peaceful, happy, and able to handle problems that seemed overwhelming before.
Learn a Different Language
Whether it’s learning musical scales or a whole new language, jumping right into new ways to communicate can help people with depression and anxiety. We suggest you choose one: A new language or a new instrument. Set reasonable goals for yourself and then start to learn. There are lots of free and cheap apps and videos that can help you get started. Before you know it, you’ll be too busy learning how to play your favorite song on the guitar or hold a conversation in French to worry about the things that are making you anxious. Just don’t put yourself through too much! Learning a new language can be a very useful hobby, but if you put too much pressure on yourself to learn quickly, it can be stressful.
Something you already like will do
We’re all decent at a few things, but we’re not great at most of them. Do you like doing something that you’d like to get better at? Start practicing that skill or hobby if you want to get better at it over time. If you like coffee, try different ways to make it and different flavors to make a small book of coffee recipes. If you like to read, give yourself a challenge and write something new. Spend time editing and making it better. If you like to work out, push yourself to the next mile per minute or milestone. Keeping at something to make it better or perfect it can help you get out of a rut, and the feeling of success can be very motivating. But, take your time. Focus on making small changes over time, and make sure you make changes so you can enjoy the process.
Journal every day
Think of it as telling the story of your life in a book. Start each entry with a list of things you’re thankful for since your last entry. Then write about your life or just your day. This process can be very freeing and help you find patterns in your life that have led to anxiety and depression. It’s easier to deal with anxious thoughts when you know what’s causing them. Keep your journal on you in case you want to write down something to write about later.
And don’t forget that you don’t have to just write. Use the journal to draw your feelings, color with crayons or markers, attach photos to memories, write poetry or song lyrics, or separate different parts of your story or thoughts with color tabs and sticky notes. Coloring books that help you relax are another good way to put pen to paper to help you feel better.
Sculpting and pottery are often some of the most relaxing hobbies because they require you to use your hands. They take your mind off of life’s stresses and things you can’t control and put it on something simple that you can. The feel of the clay and the way you can smooth and shape it can be very relaxing and help you focus on your breathing.
This craft can be expensive and take a long time to get good at, but if you can afford it and make room for it in your home, we think you should give it a try. Approach the craft with open hands, ready to accept the result no matter what it is, and be sure to celebrate every finished project, chunky vase, and lumpy creation. Dress it up. Accept the mess. And let the process remind you that life, like pottery, is messy and uncertain, and that’s okay.
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