Healthy Hobbies to While Away the Winter

Sports Woman's legs in running movement

Winter is here and for many, that means more time spent indoors. But that doesn’t have to leave you feeling bored and restless. Use the time to engage in a hobby you enjoy. Hobbies can be a lot of fun and may even help your health.

There are many different hobbies you can enjoy indoors. You could spend time on arts and crafts, such as painting or knitting. Build models of planes or trains with your family. Learn to play a musical instrument. Try your hand at woodworking. Or take cooking classes with friends, and then plan fun dinners. If you don’t have a hobby, winter is a good time to pick something you think you’d enjoy and give it a try.

Beyond the fun factor, hobbies may also have health benefits. Spending time on a hobby can be soothing, calming, restful, and help to relieve stress. It’s not yet clear why or how hobbies help reduce stress, but these factors may play a role.

  • Self-expression. Hobbies can be a way to express and deal with emotions that you are feeling. You may have a hard time talking about strong emotions, like grief, anger, or fear. But hobbies can give you a different way to get in touch with what you’re feeling. They give you a healthy outlet for those emotions. This is true especially of creative hobbies. Heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure are often lower when people engage in artistic creation.
  • Repetition. Hobbies often require that you repeat certain actions or movements over and over again. You repeat stitches as you sew. You move sandpaper back and forth to smooth the rough edges of a piece of wood. And you play a song many times on the piano until you’ve mastered it. It may be akin to when you repeat a mantra as you meditate. This can soothe you and may help you relax.
  • Focused attention. Hobbies absorb your attention. When you’re focused on and engaged in a hobby, it may help clear your mind of thoughts and worries that may upset or distract you. Experts sometimes refer to this as flow. Flow is a state of being that combines mental focus and enjoyment. This state can help calm and soothe your mind and reduce feelings of stress.

Along with stress relief, spending time on hobbies you enjoy can also improve your mood. It may help you feel happy and fulfilled to do things that you love. And it can also help keep your mind active and engaged, which can be good for brain health.

The weather outside may be frightful. But rest assured that there are plenty of hobbies to help keep you happy and healthy during the winter months.