Our hobbies may be something that we just do in our spare time, but they can have major impacts on our lives, helping us learn new skills, meet new people, and feel accomplished and confident. This all goes double if you struggle with depression. While no hobby holds the power to completely do away with such a difficult disorder, you may find that they can help you to feel better and can give you tools and skills that you need to cope. Here are some hobbies that might interest you that are especially helpful in managing depression!
Of all the hobbies out there with benefits for your mental health, yoga is one of the most popular, and for good reason. It moves your body and gives you vital exercise, releasing hormones that can help boost your mood and energy. It has a heavy focus on deep and controlled breathing, which is great for regulating your mood and coping with anxiety and stress. It also encourages conscious awareness of your body and a focus on mindfulness and the present moment, which can all be incredibly helpful for your mental state. Adding a short yoga practice into your routine a few times a week can really help to lift the fog of depression!
Painting, drawing, sculpting, sewing, knitting, paper crafts, the list goes on, but any hobby that involves you being creative to craft something beautiful is great for your mental health. Even coloring in a coloring book can be good for your mind! Visual arts are a great way for you to express emotions, even if you aren’t doing it consciously, and working with your hands is helpful for releasing pent-up anxiety or stress, all around leaving you feeling better!
A journal is a completely customizable experience. Some people like engaging in the visual side of journaling, getting beautiful notebooks and creating elaborate layouts or illustrations, while others just like to write their thoughts out. Whatever your style is, journaling helps you to get your thoughts and feelings out of your head and onto a page, making them easier to process and think through and helping you to feel lighter and less stressed. You can even have a virtual journal if that’s convenient for you!
Hiking or Nature Walking
Depression makes it hard to appreciate the beauty in the world, and there’s something to be said for fighting back against that impulse by going out of your way to find wonderful things to take in. This is part of why so many people love hiking or going on nature walks. Not only is outdoor exercise incredibly good for you, mind and body, but experiencing the great outdoors is calming and centering, and helps you to feel happier, so find a park or a nature trail with some fantastic views and go explore! Your mental health will thank you.
Learning a New Skill
From learning how to cook to taking up an instrument or speaking a new language, learning a new skill has super-benefits for your mental health, and the health of your brain! Continuing to learn new skills throughout your adult life helps you keep your mental acuity through the years so that you stay sharp, and when you pick up a new skill with concrete benchmarks to shoot for (like cooking a new dish, playing a new song, or having a full conversation in another language) it helps to increase your confidence and make you feel accomplished, something that is great for combatting the low self-worth of depression.
Companionship and closeness with other people is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal as you work against depression, and any hobby that puts you in touch with a wider group of people can do wonderful things for your mental health. Whether you’re playing a team sport or joining a book club, building friendships and finding connections will make you feel less alone, and help to build up your support system that you can lean on during harder moments.
Picking up one or more of these hobbies can make a huge difference as you’re working on managing your depression. If you’re interested in learning other ways to fight back against depression, make sure you continue to read our blog here!