After being cooped up inside for about 4 months, many individuals, including myself, are quickly running out of activities to occupy themselves with. In order to both enjoy the weather (socially distanced, of course) and distract myself from everything that's been occurring in the world, I've turned to immersing myself in various hobbies. Not only do hobbies ameliorate one's mental health, but they also promote eustress, a positive kind of stress that makes one feel excited about what they're engaging in.
Taking into account our current circumstances, below, I have compiled a bountiful list of hobbies that are both fun and easy to learn, so that the summer of 2020 will not go to waste.
Cooking and Baking
At first, cooking and baking may seem hard, but the trick to mastering the skill is all in the choice of recipe. If you're a newbie to this hobby, it's best to start off simple, with recipes that are both easy and delicious. For cooking projects, try making homemade, not-boxed mac & cheese or a twist on a classic, baked spaghetti to really wow your family for dinner. For baking projects, tackling homemade brownies and peanut butter cookies are the ultimate way to kick off your baking career.
Websites like Love & Lemons, The Food Network, and Allrecipes have a myriad of recipes suited for any type of cook or baker, no matter your skill level. Not only are these recipes both family- and kitchen-friendly, but they also include ingredients that are common in the pantry.
With the rise of technology in this day and age, it's rare to see people gather around a decorated cardboard square topped with plastic figurines; however, after rummaging through my cabinets and reliving my younger days, I've found board and card games to be quite entertaining.
Classics, like Monopoly, Sorry, and Trouble, are both fun and time-consuming, which, during this time is considered very advantageous and ideal. If you don't have any at home, another alternative, which is just as fun, is to create your own board game, using leftover cardboard boxes, some scissors, and any small objects that you may have lying around. thespruceCrafts has a great article that touches upon all of the possible board games that you could make at home.
Unlike board games, a deck of cards has endless limitations and possibilities. Games like Big 2, President, Go Fish, and War, amongst many, will last the whole afternoon without being cautious. Not only do cards function as playing cards, but they also double as stacking cards. If you eventually run out of games to play, you could stack the cards to build card towers and houses. One challenge to try is creating the largest and tallest card tower possible. Another is to try to beat Bryan Berg, the Guinness World Record Holder for the largest card stacking structure.
Proven to have health benefits, coloring is a great way to simultaneously have fun and relax. According to Beaumont Health, coloring relieves stress, improves motor skills, vision, sleep, and focus, just to name a few. This activity can be done in whatever environment, whatever weather, and whatever the mood.
Websites, such as supercoloring.com and mombooks.com, are a great way to access free, online coloring pages, which in turn, enables you to start coloring at any given moment. If printing is an inconvenience, free coloring apps, such as Pigment, Colorfy, Color Therapy Coloring Number, and more, are always available on the App Store and Google Play to let you color anywhere.
Crocheting and Knitting
If you are one of the many people that has balls of yarn and knitting needles lying around their house, then crocheting and knitting are perfect for you.
Crocheting, contrary to popular belief, is actually quite simple; it only requires one crocheting hook and a ball of yarn. With a repetition of easy, identical loops and hooks, crocheting produces results much quicker than knitting does. From personal experience, one scarf can be finished in approximately a day or two. Websites like craftyarncouncil.com, mybluprint.com, and thesprucecrafts.com provide easy-to-understand explanations on how to begin crocheting. For visual explanations, Bella Coco's YouTube videos do a wonderful job of describing the steps.
Knitting, in comparison to crocheting, is a bit more difficult: In exchange for the singular crocheting hook, two knitting needles are required. Although the technique is slightly similar, it's a bit more complex, with more additions of loops and pulls. Despite the struggles and more-complicated process, knitting projects are worth every string of yarn. For help on how to knit, reference these articles from sheepandstitch.com, marthastewart.com, and paradisefibers.com.
There is so much versatility in crocheting and knitting; you could create anything, from a scarf to a potholder to a cute sweater. There is also a variety of patterns that you could choose from in both crocheting and knitting, so the designs are endless. Anything and everything is possible!
As someone who dances almost every day, I can attest that dancing is one of the best ways to de-stress, relax, and have fun. To a lot of people, dancing seems like a tough activity to participate in; however, that is mainly due in part to the media who typically focuses on the cream of the crop. Anybody can dance, no matter who you are or what your skill is!
If you're just starting, I highly recommend using videos from TikTok as inspiration and reference — if you can find them on YouTube, that's even better as you can slow the video down to your liking! Dances like Say So (choreographed by Haley Sharpe), Any Song (Zico), and Hit Yo Rollie are easy and fun challenges to do either by yourself or with a family member.
For something a little more challenging, try learning one of the "Beginner's Class" dances on the 1Million Dance Studio YouTube page. If you're interested in Kpop, try learning one of these: TT by Twice, Bang Bang Bang by BigBang, or War of Hormone by BTS. For the pro dancers, try learning one of Sean Lew's or Kyle Hanagami's choreographies.
Before starting, always remember to stretch and believe in yourself!
Over the quarantine period, I've found sewing to be one of the best hobbies to pick up. Learning how to sew not only enables you to fix any rips that you may have in your pants, but it also allows you to stitch and create any piece of clothing that you want. Although this activity does require quite a lot of equipment and necessary items, it is definitely worth learning.
instructables.com, crazylittleprojects.com, and thesprucecrafts.com provide simple explanations and lessons on how to begin sewing, both by hand and with a machine. Similar to knitting and crocheting, there are many different stitches and techniques that you can use to embellish any of your projects, so the customization possibilities are limitless.
At this time, since there are so many unprecedented and momentous events occurring, what better way to document them than with photography? Photography is a great way to artistically express both your personality and your perspective on current events. Different camera models, filters, and landscapes each play a major part in setting the specific tone for the image, which allows for diversity and creativity in your projects.
Here are some of my favorite videos for photography tips:
Hobbies are always great mechanisms to distract ourselves from reality, transport ourselves to our early youth, and just relax. No matter what time of day it is, these hobbies will always be there to save us from boredom.