One of the silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic is that, for many, it’s cracked our worlds wide open, allowing us time to peer within ourselves and assess how we’ve been living life and filling our free time.
For some, the pandemic necessitated a complete career or lifestyle change (which may have carried with it an identity crisis). Others had to find new ways to fill long, yawning hours stuck at home with nothing to do. And for others who may have lost loved ones, the pandemic made it tangible just how fleeting life can be, reminding us to make the most of every moment. While the recent past wasn’t fun for anyone facing these situations, quarantine forced a collective pause that became the perfect time to reflect and look ahead with a new perspective.
The beautiful thing about the human experience is our wonderful capacity for personal growth at any stage of life, despite and often because of setbacks. For lots of people, the struggle of the past year became the push needed to seek purpose, to find new passions, and to discover new ways to seize the day and even play...while simultaneously being put on pause. Those who took the time to gain new skills and find fun hobbies they could do on their own or with family members reaped countless benefits mentally, physically, professionally, and socially.
Sure, there are numerous superficial ways to fill time and quell boredom, and we’ve all fallen victim to endless social media scrolling, television binge sessions, or the cathartic impulse shopathon on Amazon. While these pursuits can certainly provide a quick dopamine rush, they’re consumptive rather than creative pursuits, and if you’re reading this article, you’re likely seeking something a bit more fulfilling. You're looking for your own new hobby! If you're seeking high-quality pastimes to improve your outlook and assist your mental health, you've come to the right place.
At Cratejoy, our passion is fueling your passion. We're here to help you find personal joy through hobbies you'll love and stick with. We give you countless new kinds of pursuits to explore...and beautifully simple access to them. If you’ve decided it’s time to reinvent an aspect of yourself with a good hobby, we’d love to help. It’s kind of our thing.
What is a hobby?
A hobby is a personal pleasure pursuit; it’s something you love to do and are passionate about. Imagine yourself at a cocktail party among strangers. What you choose to reveal about yourself is what you take pride in, what you find interesting about yourself, and what you hope leads to finding common ground with others. It could be your career, sure. But hobbies beyond what you do for a living are the ultimate expression of who you are and what you’re about. You are your hobbies.
Should I start a new hobby?
While it might seem daunting to take on a new pastime, you have every reason in the world to try a new hobby, even if you think you’re short on time, money, or energy. Hobbies are fun ways to charge you up! (They should never drain you out.) You have so much to gain, learn, and experience when you open yourself up to trying something new. And, great hobbies can help you refocus on what matters in life and take your life in positive new directions you didn’t think were possible. Below we’ve listed 4 important reasons we think you should try a new hobby.
1. Hobbies provide a creative outlet.
Feeling a bit overworked? Hard work deserves reward, and there's no better reward than recharging with creative outlets. Whatever creative outlet you choose (be it scrapbooking, origami, crocheting, or even something like woodworking) you'll find that creating something beautiful for yourself, just for fun, helps lower stress and creates a renewed sense of purpose, which will make you feel happier and more fulfilled.
2. Hobbies give you life skills.
The more you can do, the more you will do. Having hobbies, especially ones that have you learning versatile new life skills, will open doors, socially and professionally. For example, if you want to take up traveling as a hobby you might consider learning a new language. Suddenly you're able to communicate with a whole new group of people you couldn't previously. Or if you want to take up photography, you might do tutorials or find online courses to learn photo editing on Photoshop, which could assist you in your career. You might take up calligraphy for your own paper-crafting projects...and later find the skill useful if you start a business and need to create signs or write thank you notes for customers. Keep adding to your bag of tricks and the world opens up to you.
3. Hobbies improve your health.
This one's a no-brainer, especially if the hobby you pursue exercises your body. You will benefit both mentally and physically from pursuits like biking, hiking, and attempting next-level positions on a yoga mat. It's the ultimate form of self-care! But it's also worth reiterating the benefits to your mental health if you focus on calming pursuits like practicing mindfulness, soothing pastimes like coloring adult coloring books, or joyful pursuits like bird watching.
4. Hobbies connect you with others.
If you find yourself struggling to make friends as an adult, choose a hobby that helps you find your tribe. Join groups pursuing like-minded activities. Think about taking an art class. Go kayaking with a local meetup group. Hike trails with adventurists. Become a volunteer at a local animal shelter. Your people are waiting.
Creative hobbies also present wonderful modes of expression that can unite you with others digitally. Take up online journaling; become a blogger and start blogging or vlogging on social media (maybe even start a podcast); learn a musical instrument and post your songwriting journey online. You'll find that these endeavors allow you a positive way to share your personal world view and build connections with people all over the world.
What is the first step in starting a new hobby?
The most important first step in starting a new hobby is to release yourself from potentially addictive, time-killing pursuits you may turn to for self soothing when bored or anxious. Not only does banning yourself from social media time sucks or TV binges literally add hours to your day, it removes quick-access serotonin which will force you to find joy by other, more constructive means. Delete troublesome apps from your phone. Put yourself on a TV time out. You have to let go of crutches if you’re ever going to find new footing!
The second thing you have to do is decide what hobby avenue you want to explore!
What are some hobby ideas?
The kinds of hobbies you could pursue are limited only by your own imagination! And here on the Cratejoy Marketplace, we make it easy to navigate towards your new favorite hobby. Our suggestion is to take out a notebook and make a list of possible interests. There are no limits! Just be open to all possibilities as you consider many types of options. Then dive right in, starting with your top pick.
Our most obvious choice for those seeking new hobby ideas is to check out our Subscription Boxes for Arts and Crafts. The variety of crafts to choose from are numerous! Whether you're interested in painting or embroidery, sewing or paper-crafting, and beyond, you'll find options for each activity you can easily subscribe to and enjoy monthly. Or, if you can't decide which craft is the right one for you, there are craft subscriptions that expose you to a variety of project types so you can try different things and see what you like the most.
Most art box subscriptions come with all the materials needed for complete projects, which means you won't need to run to a craft store. Even better, the art subscription boxes include helpful instructions so you can try your new hobby on your own without outside instruction. Some even provide online tutorials as part of the package, so your subscription is like an art class in a box.
If art's not your thing and you're looking for physical hobbies to get you moving, see our Outdoor and Fitness Subscription boxes. There you'll find boxes to keep you motivated on a new wellness journey or to supply you with goods for new activities like camping, running, and way more. And, if your new hobby interest skews more towards self care, we have numerous ideas to keep you busy bringing your best, from self-help and motivational inspiration to DIY nail art.
What are some hobbies that can be done alone?
We see you, introverts. You want to branch out and try something new, but you might not want your initial attempts to be critiqued by more seasoned hobbyists while you decide if an activity is the right creative avenue for you. Or, you might find others exhausting and want to focus on recharging on your own.
The beauty of most hobbies is that they can be (and usually start out as) solo pursuits. (You can add a social angle later if you choose.) And, if you pursue your hobby via monthly subscription boxes, you don't even have to leave your house for a shopping trip to get started...everything you need is sent right to you.
If you're looking to get started with a new hobby on your own at home, we suggest any kind of DIY artistic or creative pursuit. You can also engage your brain with a book subscription. And, you might consider getting into home gardening as a solo way to grow...literally and figuratively.
What are some hobbies that can be done for people suffering from depression?
Most people go through ups and downs in life and we can all agree depression happens, and it's not easy to deal with. We empathize with you and understand what you're going through, but know that there's hope. One of the easiest, best ways to attempt to pull yourself out of a depression (aside from professional intervention, obviously) is to take up a satisfying new hobby that will help ease worries, calm anxiety, and give you purpose.
Art is good for the soul and it's good for self expression, so we highly recommend trying a painting or other art project at home that you can do solo. If that seems too daunting of a task, coloring in an adult coloring book is a well-known anxiety hack. Knitting or crochet keeps hands and your mind occupied. You can also try indoor gardening; surrounding yourself with greenery has the added bonus of boosting oxygen and creating a calming, vivid environment you'll find therapeutic just residing inside.
One of the best pastimes for people with depression is journaling. Track your mental progress, put your goals on paper, and write down what you're thankful for every day. (If you really want to motivate yourself, we suggest picking up the prettiest stationary for jotting down your daily wins.)
What are some tips for sticking with hobbies?
Starting a new hobby is easy. The tricky part comes later: sticking with it! Being at the beginning of something new can kick up feelings of discouragement, because we can't start out as experts after all. Here are some hacks for continuing on your path to self improvement, sticking with a hobby you love, and keeping yourself motivated in your new pursuits.
1. Be kind to yourself.
It's ok to not be the best at something. Mastery takes time and dedication. As you learn a new hobby, realize that there is nobody you should be competing with except yourself.
2. Find accountability partners.
In other words, pursue your activity with others. This is especially helpful on a sports or fitness journey; it's easy to slide back into slack without the honesty that comes with having others join you along the way.
3. Visualize the final results.
Imagine yourself awesome at something you've always admired: You playing guitar. You speaking another language. You biking every day and getting in your best shape ever. You with a successful podcast. You could also consider creating a vision board and keeping it posted somewhere you look daily. Goals in your view are goals that you'll do, after all.
4. Commit to growth.
We might be a bit biased here, but at Cratejoy we understand the power of a subscription box. Getting a physical box in the mail is getting a box of motivation; it's a box of fun that serves as a physical reminder to keep growing and keep going in your creative pursuits!
5. It's OK to move on.
So woodworking wasn't working. Or maybe crochet was a no way. It's ok to call it. If a hobby doesn't work out, more are waiting for you to try. Move on to the next hobby! Keep exploring and trying new activities and we know you'll find your passion and your favorite new forever hobby.