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Hobbies are important because they help us to grow and develop a better relationship with ourselves. They can also relieve stress and anxiety. If you’ve got stuck in the same routine of work, eat and sleep, you’ll probably notice that it’s had a negative impact on your mental health too.
The truth is we need to have hobbies in order to maintain good health and wellbeing. Ironically, when we struggle with our mental health, we neglect to do some of the things that we love. You might not think that hobbies are always important but they make up a big part of who you are.
Hobbies are particularly important for those who experience chronic anxiety and stress. The reason why you need a hobby is it allows your mind to focus on something other than your current state of mind. It allows you to escape, which is something that you will really benefit from.
So, what kind of activities should you try? Well, there’s quite a few to choose from, but I’ve picked some of the ones that work best for me.
These activities work really well at relieving stress and anxiety.
When you’re suffering from anxiety it can be hard to focus on anything. Sometimes picking up a book isn’t an option when your brain won’t let you relax. You need something where you don’t need to concentrate too hard, which is why painting is a really good option.
You don’t have to create a masterpiece. It’s just about finding a distraction and keeping your mind occupied.
I use Pentel oil pastels from Amazon. They are really affordable and blend really well. A great option for beginners!
Becoming a volunteer was one of the best things I ever decided to do for my mental health. It can seem really scary at first and that’s understandable, but just know that you can go at your own pace. You don’t have to do anything that you aren’t comfortable with. For example, when I started volunteering at a charity shop I didn’t want to serve customers straight away, so I simply chose not to. I waited until I was ready. I’m still not overly confident with serving customers but it’s something that I’m able to do now without having a panic attack. Small steps lead to big things.
Some ideas for you:
- Charity shop volunteer
- Library volunteer
- Phone support volunteer
- Social media volunteer
- Care home volunteer
- Events volunteer
- IT support volunteer
This might sound like an obvious suggestion but let me explain. When you are extremely anxious or stressed, you need to let some of those feelings out rather than bottle them up. Letting those feelings build up inside is what often causes people to have a breakdown. You need to release some of them in order to function and one of the easiest ways to do that is to walk.
I understand it’s not possible for everyone but if you can try to go outside for a 30 minute walk every day. I find that listening to music while I’m walking helps me to relax a little bit because that way i’m not forced to think about the negative thoughts in my head.
If you’re not aware of ASMR, then let me tell you what it is and why it’s become one of my favourite methods to relax. It stands for Autonomous sensory meridian response and it can only be explained as a tingling sensation that occurs while watching or listening to certain things.
Here are my recommendations:
- ASMR Glow
- FredsVoice Asmr
- Matty Tingles
- Gibi ASMR
There are so many different types of ASMR videos on YouTube and each one is very different from the rest. So if one type of video isn’t for you, then you might find a different type of video that helps to relieve your stress and anxiety. I usually watch 1 or 2 videos in the evening to wind down but some people find it relaxing to watch ASMR early in the morning before they start the day.
One of my favourite ways to de-stress is through baking because it doesn’t require as much effort and concentration as cooking. A lot of the time I lack the energy to cook dinner but in comparison, baking is incredibly relaxing.
Try to go for a straight-forward recipe that won’t end with you feeling more stressed than you did to begin with. My favourite kind of recipe is when you simply throw everything into the bowl and ta-da! Easy, simple, and aesthetically pleasing.
Hopefully, these activities help you to relieve stress and anxiety, even if only temporarily.
Remember to keep your hobbies as they are so beneficial to your mental health and you will see the difference over time.