As social distancing restrictions continue, there are simple experiences we all miss—going out to your favorite restaurant, working out at the gym, or even seeing friends and family members. If you’re doing your part to help flatten the curve of COVID-19 by staying at home, you may have found yourself with some extra time to fill.
While staying at home is helping protect your physical health from the current pandemic, it is also essential to care for your mental health during this time. The CDC acknowledges that outbreaks can be stressful and overwhelming.1 Keeping your mind active by picking up a hobby may help fill your downtime and keep your spirits up. Now could be the perfect time for you to get back into old hobbies you haven’t had time for, but if you’re looking for something new to pursue, here are five hobbies you can try now without leaving your home.
While any hobby can get expensive, the ones mentioned here don’t have to be. They could help you through this time now, and help you cut back on future spending.
Hobby #1: Knitting, Crocheting, or Other Crafts
There are a wide variety of patterns for knitting, crocheting, and many other crafts that you can learn while staying at home. Not only are these fun activities to try during quarantine, but they can also be great stress reducers. These hobbies allow you to focus on a specific task and obtain a tangible result. Global sales for We Are Knitters (a brand known for its premade knitting kits) have been increasing more than 75% each week during the COVID-19 outbreak.2 There are plenty of organizations and businesses offering preassembled supplies for any type of craft. From cross-stitching to mask sewing kits, there are endless options and thousands of tutorials available online.
Hobby #2: Cooking and Baking
Learning to cook new recipes or even baking something as simple as chocolate chip cookies can be relaxing. Whether it’s about the process of cooking itself or eating that delicious end product, trying out new recipes can help prevent getting bored with your meals in quarantine. You can get recipes from friends on social media, a cooking show, an online cookbook—or revive one that has been passed down in your family for generations. As a bonus, if friends or family members are staying with you during this time, turning cooking and baking into a group activity can be an excellent way to bond and create memories together.
If you are cooking at home to avoid going out, it can be satisfying to track how much each ingredient costs and compare it to the cost of a similar dish at your favorite restaurant or bakery. (Remember to count the cost of the whole container of goat cheese even if you only use half in your recipe.)
Hobby #3: Gardening
Now that Spring has finally arrived, the weather can be too perfect for staying inside. Fortunately, Spring is the start of the gardening season in many regions, making now the ideal time to head out in the sun with your gloves and a shovel. If you don’t have the yard space for a garden, you can grow plants on your balcony, patio, or windowsill. Caring for plants can help lift your spirits; planting flowers can create a calming atmosphere for your home, while growing herbs is simple and useful in the kitchen.
Hobby #4: Painting and Drawing
This could be the perfect time to bring out the artist in you. Creating art can be a soothing way to express yourself or just make something beautiful for your home. There are lots of painting tutorials online if you want some guidance or inspiration, or you can order paint kits from local paint-and-sip companies. You can even make painting a social event by hosting a wine-and-design night with your friends or family over video chat.
Before you buy expensive paints or pencils, you may want to find out what you have already sitting around the house. Try those out first. If you like making art, you can always graduate to higher quality materials later.
Hobby #5: Reading
A good book offers a momentary escape from reality, which is something many of us probably want right now. With libraries and bookstores closed, where can you turn for a good book? Several sites offer free books online. Retailers, including Google Books, Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books and Audible, are offering a selection of free eBooks for readers. Many local libraries offer free books and audiobooks online. Also, there is a National Emergency Library, offering a large selection of online books during the pandemic.
If you prefer your books in paper form, you can support your local bookshop by buying through Bookshop.org. Or, to save money, you can talk to friends and family about doing a no-contact pick up of one of their favorite books in their personal collection. You are sure to find something to give you a respite from the news.
At this point, you may well have spent weeks inside your home. If you’ve grown tired of watching TV while eagerly waiting to return to your regular routine, consider trying one (or more) of these hobbies in the meantime. Not only will they keep you active and occupied, but you may even find a passion you never knew you had.