30 Most Relaxing Hobbies To Improve Your Mood And Well-being

We all need time set aside to relax and do something fun.

Speaking from personal experience, having a hobby is so significant to your well-being. The hobbies that have always come to my rescue in times of stress are writing and listening to podcasts. I attribute both of these hobbies greatly to my reduced anxiety and a better mindset.

My point is that doing things you enjoy can help you gradually creep out of depressive funks. Since many of us have been spending so much time cooped up inside our homes, finding ways to curb anxiety and boredom is needed now more than ever. 

1. Dancing

man jumping in street
Source: Unsplash

A study found that dance movement therapy can be beneficial in improving mood, body image, and well-being. For some, dancing comes naturally when it comes to listening to music, but others are a bit shy about it. One of the great things about dancing though is that you can do it in the comfort of your home and literally dance like no one is watching.

2. Scrapbooking

scrapbook photos
Source: Pexels

Scrapbooking is a fun way to preserve your favorite moments and showcase your creativity. In the age of online photo albums, it's nice to have something tangible to hold on to. Scrapbooks typically consist of photos with descriptions surrounded by various decorations like stickers or flowers. 

3. Gardening

man gardening
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Gardening therapy has become implemented in a variety of facilities, like prisons and mental health centers, for its rehabilitative properties; gardening can provide a sense of purpose and boost self-esteem. 

4. Painting

woman painting
Source: Unsplash

Engaging in hobbies that allow you to let your creativity shine can make a positive impact on your well-being. It can help you process painful emotions, reduce stress, and enhance focus. If you prefer painting that's a bit more tactile you can try finger painting. It can get messy, but dipping your fingers in cold paint and dragging them across the canvas can be more satisfying than painting with a brush. 

5. Jigsaw puzzles

Puzzle pieces
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Completing puzzles is a fun, yet productive way to kill time because many often find themselves not wanting to stop until it's finished, but it's also a very mentally stimulating activity. Other puzzles such as Sudoku and crossword puzzles are also addicting and relaxing to complete.

6. Macramé

Search on YouTube for Macramé, and you'll find hundreds of tutorials showing you beautiful DIY projects you can take on. You can make everything from necklaces to wall-hangings, and much more.

7. Pilates   

A lot of people think yoga and Pilates are the same things, here's the difference: Yoga is centered around improving flexibility and mindfulness, whereas Pilates focuses on muscle strength and the relaxing of tense muscles. Whichever one you choose, both are beneficial. 

8. Foraging

Hands holding berries
Source: Unsplash 

Love the outdoors? You'll likely enjoy exploring the wild for edible plants and berries. Foraging was an essential task for our hunter-gatherer ancestors. We don't need to hunt for our food anymore, but it's an activity that can teach you more about plant life in a hands-on way.

9. Pottery

hands doing pottery
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Pottery has been around for about 18,000 years, making it one of the oldest hobbies still in existence. I highly recommend that everyone try pottery once, there's nothing like the feeling of shaping wet clay.

10. Origami

Origami might seem complicated to do, but it can actually be quite simple and gratifying. I have bragged many times about my ability to fold a dollar bill into a shirt; it's a great conversation starter. 

11. Needlepoint & Cross stitch

Needlepoint and cross stitch are types of embroidery that are very similar but have a few differences. Cross stitch often uses cotton as thread and can be done on a variety of fabrics; needlepoint is restricted to only being done on canvas but has a wider selection of threads to use.

12. Kite Flying

kite flying
Source: Unsplash

Kite flying is said to have originated in China thousands of years ago. It's a great way for anyone to de-stress and get some fresh air. It's so peaceful to watch a kite dance in the breeze.

13. Dog walking

person walking golden retriever on street
Source: Unsplash

Whether it's walking your own dog or someone else's, dog walking is the ideal activity for an animal lover to get some vitamin D and build a connection with a furry friend. 

14. Journaling

positive journal with many drawings
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Studies show that writing down your thoughts and feeling may alleviate stress. The best part about journaling is expressing yourself through writing without having to worry about formality. My journal pages feature many stickers and drawings because that's what helps me keep positive when I'm writing about any anxious feelings.

15. DIY Crafts

Craft supplies
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I guarantee that there is a DIY version of nearly anything you can think of. Times are tough, and people are becoming savvier when it comes to saving money. DIYing is a frugal and creative hobby with endless possibilities. 

16. Baking

muffins going into oven
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Baking for yourself or someone else can instill a sense of comfort and pride Baking simply makes you feel good, associate professor of psychological and brain sciences at Boston University, Donna Pincus, told HuffPost "Baking for others can increase a feeling of wellbeing, contribute to stress relief and make you feel like you’ve done something good for the world."

17. Reading

woman reading book with mug in hand
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Reading is a beneficial hobby that allows you to submerge yourself in a whole other universe, or learn something new. It can assist with developing and maintaining a positive attitude, help you sleep, stimulate more areas of the brain. 

18. Whittling

man carving stick
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What do you get when you take some raw wood and a knife? A cheap and relaxing hobby. It's a pastime that requires a lot of patience, but it's worth it when the results make you happy. 

19. Yoga

yoga class
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There is so much therapeutic value in yoga; research shows that yoga can help with anxiety, depression, and even increase your pain tolerance. Yoga is an amazing relaxation-inducing hobby because it combines meditation with exercise, both of which already reduce stress on their own.

20. Hula-hooping

woman hula hooping
Source: Pexels

From Egyptians to Greeks, there are numerous accounts in the ancient history of people using hoops. The first plastic toy hula hoop came out in the U.S. in 1958, and it was a hit. Today we know that hula-hooping isn't just a fun kid's toy; hula hoops provide an excellent way to burn fat and relax your muscles, and also relax your mind by drawing your focus to the hypnotic rhythm of the hoop.

21. Frisbee

boy catching frisbee
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You can make playing Frisbee a real workout if you want it to be, but just tossing it back and forth to another person is generally relaxing. Overall, playing Frisbee is an easy hobby to play while enjoying a beautiful day.

22. Calligraphy

Calligraphy is an art style involving elegant handwriting and is a wonderful pastime that aids in developing better patience and focus. Steady hands are important in calligraphy, so it also trains you to have better motor skills over time.

23. Listening to Podcasts

woman with headphones on taking notes
Source: Pexels

Podcasts are perfect for all occasions. Cleaning? Listen to a podcast; Watching TV? Start listening to a podcast while the TV is on (what I end up doing). They can also be great for listening to before bed to help fall asleep. Listening to my favorite podcasts on evolutionary events in history keeps me going.

24. Bug Keeping

Not all bugs are ugly or scary, there are many beautiful bugs you can care for, like butterflies or mantises. Since bugs are typically easy to take care of, they make the perfect pet for someone looking for a low-maintenance pal.

25. Stargazing

silhouette of couple star gazing
Source: Pexels

Let the romantic beauty of the night sky put you at ease and go stargazing. It helps to have a telescope, but there's something magical about just lying in the grass staring at the stars.

26. Wax sealing

letter with wax seal
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Writing letters has kind of fallen out of fashion, but according to a poll conducted by Gallup, over 90% of Americans still enjoy receiving a personal letter. Wouldn't you agree that every letter deserves to be enclosed in an envelope that looks like it came from Hogwarts? I think that we can reverse the decline of letter writing if we all promise to wax seal our envelopes from now on.

27. Terrarium making

Source: Unsplash

Terrarium making is one of the most economical, calming hobbies out there. Requiring only an occasional spray of water, terrariums are also very easy to maintain. 

Basic Terrarium Supplies:

  • A container that you are able to reach into
  • A few rocks or stones
  • Moss
  • Potting soil

28. Coloring books

Hands coloring in
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Sometimes you just need to pick up a coloring book, and color in a unicorn. Coloring has been scientifically proven to increase your creativity and minimize stress.

29. Cycling

woman riding ride bike
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Bike riding has so many benefits; some of which include lowering blood pressure, weight loss, and better sleep. I ride my bike once a week and can say that it does make a difference in my anxiety and general mood. 

30. Knitting

hands knitting
Source: Unsplash

It's easy to lose yourself in the rhythm of knitting, so naturally, you might forget about what's troubling you. Depending on what you're knitting, it can take time, but time and effort are what make something really special. I always admired my grandmother for the hours she would spend diligently knitting away.

Many of these hobbies provide a creative outlet of some sort because self-expression is another major factor that can affect well-being. I hope this list has given you inspiration on what you can try to help you unwind, and that you find an activity that piques your interest.

Just a night owl and podcast nerd who loves to write.

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