A lot of us work for the majority of our waking hours. When we come home, we worry about food, chores, laundry, those bills that still haven’t been paid. When we are in school we spend time sleeping through our classes and then cramming the night before an exam. Whichever stage you are at in your life, stress is a given, but it’s important to know how to manage it. One of the main ways is to do something other than what takes up most of your life. Find a hobby, pick up a new skill. Music, for example, is known to heal and relieve depression. Here is a list of five hobbies (but definitely not the only list or only hobbies out there).
Playing an Instrument
Do you own an instrument and know how to play it? If not, try picking up a new instrument. There are often music classes near by, and many instructors are willing to come to your home to teach, if you unable to travel to their location. Listen to different musical instruments being played, and find one you truly enjoy. If you aren’t sure you’ll enjoy this, then go with a rental instrument for the first few months before committing.
I sew whenever I get a chance, and I love it. There is something personal and comforting about wearing or using something you’ve made. Not to mention that seeing a project slowly come together from a stretch of cloth or ball of yarn is incredibly satisfying. Whether it’s a hobby or not, everyone should know how to sew the basics. Stitching on a button or mending a small tear. It’s a hobby that’s not only productive and relaxing, but can save you money as well.
Writing / Reading
This wouldn’t be an accurate list if I didn’t talk about these two. If you enjoy writing, chances are that you enjoy reading perhaps even more. We all know about the typical scenario of someone who is overwhelmed and utterly stressed or depressed being handed a journal to write in. That’s because it works. Writing is soothing. It lets your stress and your pent-up emotions flow out in a way that’s non-destructive. Reading allows you to immerse yourself into the life of another character and lose yourself in his world. Try dabbling in poetry or short prose, if you’re not keen on a longer novel. It’s a creative outlet and will leave you feeling refreshed afterwards.
Most of the ones in this list are about either learning something new, or doing an activity solely for yourself. Volunteering doesn’t have to fit in either of these two categories, but that’s what makes it an excellent stress reliever. Somethings, pushing yourself to learn a new skill can be challenging in and of itself. The satisfaction of using what you already know to work on a different kind of project can break up a lot of the monotony and frustration that you feel when you are stressed. You don’t have to learn something new so the skills you need are already at your fingertips. Not to mention the idea that you are helping someone, that you are directly impacting another person’s life, can make you feel incredibly good. Whether you are cooking at a homeless shelter, or volunteering at an elder home, the face-to-face contact with those you are helping has a fulfilling quality.
Pick up an Outdoor Activity
If you sit in a dimly-lit cubicle all day, the lack of sunlight can have an effect. It’s the reason why many people have seasonal-affective disorder, why they become depressed during the winter months. You can also become depressed during the summer if your body doesn’t receive enough sunlight, because sunlight is what helps increase levels of serotonin in your body. This acts as an antidepressant. Instead of staying home all evening after work, try picking up a new outdoor activity. Go for an evening jog or bike ride. Pick up an adventure sport like skiing or snowboarding in the winter months. Try taking swimming classes if you don’t know how to swim. It will give you a workout, making you feel more energetic and happy, and it’ll get you a bit of added time in the sun.
If you are feeling stressed, cooking can be very relaxing. I’ve always found that chopping vegetables and simmering stews make me feel like I’m at home. Of course, it does make my place smell fantastic, and I love to cook while my favourite show is on tv. If you are going to cook, make sure not to cook simply because you have to eat. The best stress relief is to make it into an activity that’s enjoyable for you. Play some music while you prepare your meal or take it outside with a barbecue. If you are stressed about finances, here’s another reason to pick up this hobby. Not only is cooking your own meals far healthier, but it saves you more money than buying pre-made meals. Gordon Ramsay has an “Ultimate Cookery Course” on-line if you want to learn the basics.
Don’t forget that relieving stress isn’t a one-time thing. You have to integrate it into your routine. Choose an activity to make a weekly habit. Good luck, and don’t stress.