Overcoming depression is an ongoing war with the maintenance of diet, sleep, self-care, and its daily battles, requiring considerable personal strength and resolve.
If you are entering a season where you feel able to build on the basics and introduce a new dimension to day-to-day life, taking up a hobby could help you consolidate and improve your quality of life.
In this short article, we share 11 great hobbies that you may find supportive in your recovery.
If you are taking medications or participating in therapies, you may find it helpful to get advice about your planned pastime.
4 Reasons Why a Hobby Could Help You Fight Depression
- Taking up a hobby can help to increase hope and expectation for the coming days.
Depression is a pernicious and oppressive condition that robs people of anything to look forward to. Even when mild, it feels that the future is a bleak and obscure concept.
Hobbies, no matter how infrequently enjoyed, provide an expectation or plan for the next day, week, or month, putting the future in your control.
- A hobby you start to enjoy will become a great motivator.
When you are fighting depression, you need to find reasons, however seemingly small and insignificant, to keep going.
A pastime that is productive and engaging will hopefully draw you back, so you start to look forward to tending to your interest regularly.
- The right hobby can be a great escape.
Your choice of hobby may be able to take you out of your home, or even away overnight.
If this is something that you feel you can aim for, accomplishing travel and exploration with your hobby would be an amazing achievement.
- Hobbies are a great way of introducing the benefits of physical activity.
Physical activity may feel like the last thing you want to do but when you get moving, you will find that the aerobic and biofeedback benefits of hobbies, can really enhance recovery from depression.
Rather than slogging it out in the gym or taking an exercise class, doing a hobby can keep you active without even realizing you are working out.
Here is Our Selection of Some Great Hobbies to Help Fight Depression
Pursuing cooking as a hobby will mean that you will learn not only to feed yourself well but others too.
Nutrition plays a big part in depression and you may benefit from personal research into foods that may help your depressive symptoms.
Preparing a delicious meal for friends and family is a satisfying endeavor that may help alleviate negative thoughts as you are thinking about how you can best serve the people around you.
You may have thought that knitting was the preserve of grandma, but it is one of the fastest-growing hobbies right now!
We think that you will find knitting a surprising outlet for your creativity and you will savor a sense of accomplishment when you complete a project.
One of the great things about knitting is that you work on it little by little, as much as you want to do each day. The repeated movement of knitting is also relaxing.
Horses are amazingly calm and understanding creatures and if you have a love of animals, what better reason to get outside than to enjoy an easy hack (ride) at your local riding school.
Once you have mastered the basics of horseback riding, you will find that equestrianism provides many events and activities you may want to participate in.
Gardening provides a great reason to get outdoors and cultivating a garden space is also great physical work.
It is pleasing to watch plants grow, whether for food or pleasure. Get some inspiration and learn the basics by watching YouTube channels like Huws Nursery or One Yard Revolution.
Pottery is an excellent pastime where you practice making things with your hands, regardless of your ability or expertise.
Working with clay can soothe stress and anxiety and you can really immerse yourself in the creative process.
You may want to start your pottery projects at home with air-drying clay and consider attending a local class once you gain confidence.
Textile crafts are easy-going if you are experiencing variable days with your depression.
A loom can be set-up in your home, allowing you to gradually work on creating designs of your choosing.
Learn to create woven shawls or decorative panels to gift or sell to others.
If classes are not your thing, YouTube has plenty of tutorials and step-by-step guides to get you up and running with a weaving hobby.
Calligraphy is a great mental workout as you will be sitting and concentrating for a prolonged period.
It is great if you have good attention to detail and you will get great satisfaction from mastering the pen strokes and techniques involved.
It is affordable to start, and you can learn at your own pace with online courses, such as those by Skillshare.
Working with wood is a great escape from the pace of modern living. Learn traditional methods of furniture making, with classic hand tools that allow you to work freely at your own pace and ability.
Mastercraftsman Paul Sellers shares the benefits of being a woodworker on his eponymous YouTube channel.
When you take up a craft like woodworking that is broad in scope, you may find yourself spending hours researching different techniques curating ideas or visiting your local lumber yard or hardware store for tools, materials, and advice.
Walking is a hobby without barriers. Simply start and see how far you can go. Walking and hiking provide excellent physical activity and can be enjoyed at your own pace in both urban and rural areas.
If you want to walk with others, most communities will have local walking groups that you can join.
British entertainer and polymath Richard Vobes shares a real appreciation of the great outdoors and the simple pleasures of walking as he explores his locality.
- Creative writing
Many people who have battled depression, have found journaling beneficial, but if you are looking for a writing hobby that is not focused on your personal experiences, let rip your imagination by taking up creative writing.
You may want to try a short course online or as an evening class that may help you in disciplining your writing.
It can be hard to know where to begin with composing stories and poetry, but our best advice is simply to start building on your initial thoughts and ideas over time.
This may seem a little out there, but powerlifting has increasingly recognized benefits for both physical and mental health.
Strength and resistance training builds your muscles, so physical activities that once required exertion no longer require the same effort.
Weightlifting is also protective as you get older as you have more muscle to keep warm and better posture and balance. Beneficial endorphins are also released too.
To get the right results and avoid injury you will need to train with someone. You could join your local gym or hire a personal trainer to workout at home.
Some Last-Minute Tips for Success with Your New Hobby
Depressive symptoms can vary with their frequency and severity, so we understand that taking the step of starting a hobby can be a challenging one, and your ability to complete the tasks associated with it.
Here are some pointers and encouragement that you may find helpful as you get used to your new pastime.
- Set achievable goals
Your new hobby should be based around realistic and attainable plans to avoid disappointments that may set you back.
The targets or goals you set may initially seem simple, but by planning to do something and accomplishing individual tasks, you will build resilience for taking on bigger challenges.
- Keep social interaction optional
Sometimes, participating in a group activity can become overwhelming for anyone, so you want to give yourself the option of working on your hobby alone or alongside others.
That way you can maintain your hobby even if being around others is becoming difficult.
You may be struggling with anxiety at being around other people when attending a club or group for the first time. If so, why not invite a trusted friend or relative to come along with you?
- Aim to do a little bit of work on your hobby at regular intervals
Routines give you something to work towards and expect and can make a big difference in your fight against depression.
Even if you cannot do much, try to keep touching base with your hobby on a daily or weekly basis. Over time you will be amazed at how far you have come.
We hope that you have found this selection of hobbies to help fight depression useful.
They are simply suggestions, but we hope that they help you think about enriching activities that you may enjoy making a part of your life.