Looking after your mental health isn’t always easy, between work life and family life it can be hard to make space for yourself. Taking up a new hobby is a fantastic act of self care, it allows you to do something that’s just for you. If you’re not sure which kind of hobby to try, here are five of the best hobbies for improving your mental health.
1 . Painting
A BBC survey recently discovered that creative activities can help to lift your mood. This was especially true if you suffer from anxiety. The survey noted that, ‘ 76% of participants used creative activities as a “distraction tool” to block out stress and anxiety.’ Painting is a highly therapeutic activity, which allows us to unwind and create something beautiful. Buy a canvas or two and some paints, put on some relaxing music and let your imagination flow. If you prefer guidance, sites like Udemy offer some great online painting courses.
The NHS suggests that yoga has health benefits for people with depression. Whether you have struggled with depression or not, yoga is a fantastic hobby to improve your mental health. Yoga allows us to practice mindfulness, deep breathing, meditation, and to relax. When you practice yoga regularly you’ll improve your sleep, increase your flexibility, build core strength and improve your posture. Try Hatha yoga for a chilled down tempo style or Ashtanga for more cardio.
Writing in a journal is one of the best hobbies you can practice for your mental health, and there are many different ways to use a journal. You might use a journal to write down happy memories or list what you are grateful for. You might instead use it as a place to reflect and work out difficult emotions. Try researching a few journaling techniques to help you get started.
Foraging means going out into the forest, and searching for wild foods that we can eat. There are plenty of wild foods to forage including fruits, nuts, herbs, mushrooms and plants. It’s helpful to go to a foraging class, as here you can learn about the wild foods that are safe to eat. Some classes also include wild cooking, and provide you with wild food recipe ideas.
- Horse Riding
One study conducted by The BHS charity concluded that, ‘ horseback riding stimulated mainly positive psychological feelings, reducing depression by 30% as well as lowering the chance of dementia by 30%.’ The great outdoors really helps to boost our endorphin levels, and being around animals can improve our wellbeing. With this hobby you’ll learn so much, and have a lot of fun along the way. If you do decide to give it a try, check out Equi Supermarket for some top quality horse riding supplies.
With any luck, one of these hobbies will allow you to destress and feel more calm. Meditation can be another beneficial activity to try, and this overlaps somewhat with yoga. If you try yoga classes, you’ll find that the meditation element is especially helpful to boost your mental health.