Using your extra downtime to start a hobby is a smart way to look after body and mind.
As we move into the second month of lockdown, the novelty has well and truly worn off. Some may have relished the opportunity to work from home in their pyjamas. All have definitely had their fill of boxsets. And while many will have diligently continued working on their body, live-streaming workouts to their living room, there’s plenty of untapped opportunity to boost your brain as well.
Hobbies and creative pastimes are too often viewed as an unnecessary luxury when compared to work and gym life. Thankfully, with all the extra time you have on your hands, that luxury can now become a priority – and you’ll be better for it. Hobbies allow you to work towards something. And when you succeed, no matter what it is, your brain is flooded with dopamine, that feel-good chemical that bolsters your mood and lifts your motivation.
Studies have even shown that a new hobby like journaling can craft a stronger immune system – something we should all be striving for right now. Although experts are unsure of the mechanics, writing increases your CD4+ lymphocyte count – a key component of your immune system.
And so, here we list five hobbies you can use to give your health a lift. Get creative.
Whether it’s doodling or just colouring in it doesn’t matter. Stance’s community of artists have created a drawing pack for you; there are seven print at home designs to choose from. Don’t have a printer? No problem, download them onto an iPad and colour them in using a free app like Adobe Sketch.
And that could be anything from baking to brewing your own beer or kombucha. You can join the throngs now using their loaf and following the Bread Ahead baking tutorials on Instagram. Borough Market offers online cooking classes and Wagamama has its own Wok from Home plan, too.
Journalling, as we now know, is a powerful tool for your immune health. It can also help to empty your head of anxieties and reduce stress. But there’s also plenty of room to get creative. The Masterclass app hooks you up with tutorials from the best writers and poets to ever do it. Why not learn to write a thriller from Dan Brown, author of the Da Vinci Code.
When this lockdown is finally lifted you’ll no doubt be itching to travel. Well, why not prepare and extend your vocabulary beyond what’s required to order two beers at the poolside bar. Duolingo is the self-proclaimed best way to learn a new language, and not only will it help to boost your creativity, it’ll prove there are more ways to get what you want on holiday than simply speaking English louder.
It’s the thing so many of us regret: giving up piano lessons after grade 3. Now is your chance to rekindle your passion. Learning an instrument relieves stress and also improves brain power and, just as with writing, the Masterclass app lets you learn from some of the greats. Learn to play the guitar like Carlos Santana, master Jazz with Herbie Hancock, or even produce a dance track with Deadmau5.