10 Brain-boosting hobbies to fill your spare time

Picking up new hobbies has helped us combat boredom, de-stress, and stay connected to loved ones from afar over the past year, but hobbies are not just pandemic pastimes. Recreational activities like baking, painting, and yoga have mental and physical health benefits. Many are even great for boosting memory, concentration, and creativity.

Still seeking a hobby you love? Here are ten that will keep you entertained and boost maintaining brain health. 

  1. Learn an instrument. Learning an instrument improves creativity and has even been linked to improved emotional health. With an endless supply of online tutorials, it’s never been easier to learn (or re-learn) an instrument, so what are you waiting for?
  2. Take on DIY home improvement. Taking on home improvement projects yourself is a great creative outlet and can save you some money. Seeing the results of your hard work every day improves your confidence and your beautiful new space can help reduce stress. 
  3. Tackle a puzzle. Puzzles have long been praised as a great way to protect cognitive function and improve problem-solving abilities. Jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, Sudoku, and online chess are all great choices. 
  4. Try tai chi. This ancient Chinese exercise provides similar benefits to yoga with long, slow, deliberate poses and deep breathing. It has been shown to reduce stress, improve strength, and boost self-awareness. Get started today with an online class!
  5. Get knitting. Did you know that knitting can lower your blood pressure? This calming activity keeps your hands busy and you can send your beautiful creations to friends and family as gifts!
  6. Go hiking. Hiking is so good for your brain we have a whole article about it. It improves mental health, physical health, and brain plasticity; Plus you can safely do it outdoors right now!
  7. Grow a garden. Gardening reduces stress and provides you with beautiful flowers for your home and fresh produce for your table. Getting your hands dirty has been shown to even improve immune function. Need inspiration? Start with our gardening tips for beginners.
  8. Paint. Anything creative helps reduce stress and you can display your beautiful creations in your home. From paint-by-numbers to watercolors, there’s something for all skill levels, so don’t be intimidated to pull out your easel. 
  9. Pick up pottery. Painting not your style? Pottery offers the same creativity benefits plus you’ll feel a sense of pride every time you drink out of your handmade mug. 
  10. Craft some candles. Candles are a soothing addition to your home or meditation space and they’re so easy to make. Just order some beeswax and wicks and scent them with whatever smells bring you the most joy. 

Hobbies give us a sense of purpose and pride outside of the professional world. If you’re looking for a creative challenge or just a fun activity for a lazy Saturday, this list is a great place to start!

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