Four creative hobbies to cheer yourself up while staying at home

Image by bridgesward from Pixabay

So lockdown has forced most of us to stay at home and if you are struggling to find a new hobby then I have got you covered. Lockdown shouldn’t be a time to put extra pressure on yourself, so pursuing your hobbies and interests can be a good way to escape from the boredom of staying at home.

My social feed is buzzing with activities people are trying while staying at home and I am just covering a few of them today with some interesting variations. So let’s begin…

Cooking

  • There is a resurgence in cooking and baking since the government started asking people to stay at home.
  • Chef Pati Jinich, the host of the PBS series Pati’s Mexican Table says “If you’re at home, cooking is a way to nurture yourself and learn things and stay active. It’s also therapeutic because when you’re following a recipe, you put your brain to work and you’re focusing on that instead of thinking about the other worries you may have.”
  • Baking or cooking can be a great stress reliever at home. You’re using all five of your senses, and when you’re using all five senses, you’re present and at the moment.

Unconventional Way:

  • So how about we add a little twist and start cooking with homegrown herbs, spices, and vegetables grown at our own homes?
  • Growing and raising your produce is both exciting and satisfying. You can grow some of your food because you can make healthy and delicious meals using freshly harvested, seasonal ingredients.
  • Some of the herbs, spices, and vegetables that can be easily grown within the space of the kitchen are- Ginger, Garlic, Lemongrass, Coriander, Mint, Tomatoes, Wheatgrass, and Potatoes
  • Check out this fantastic video from Garden Up youtube channel to learn the basics of home gardening and also other important stuff about maintaining these plants at home.

No seriously…Go ahead and watch it if you haven’t yet…

Painting

  • Taking up a hobby like painting is not just for creative types. The more analytical left-brains can stimulate and nurture their creative growth by practicing painting as well.
  • Painting boosts memory recollection skills and works to sharpen the mind through conceptual visualization and implementation. People who frequently use creative outlets such as writing, painting, and drawing have less chance of developing memory loss illnesses when they get older.
  • Stress is a problem everyone deals with to some degree and it can become quite a serious issue while we all have to stay at home for extended periods. High levels of stress and anxiety contribute to mental health issues. Painting and other artistic pursuits provide an emotional release for people that struggle with stress. Focusing on painting allows a person’s mind to relax and let go of all the problems and demands that have led to a high-stress level.
  • Creating beautiful work through painting encourages a more optimistic approach to life which we all need to have right now.
  • Also, people that paint experience an increase in their emotional intelligence level. Experimenting with different painting forms helps you understand what triggers feelings such as happiness, sadness, love, or anger. Often, the emotions you feel when creating a work, get projected onto the people that view your paintings.
  • While painting may not contribute much to physical fitness, the benefits to overall health are incredibly valuable. Given all the beneficial attributes to this artistic hobby, it is clear that painting builds strong mental health in individuals of every age so taking it up as a hobby can be quite useful in these tough times.

Unconventional way:

  • You can add a little twist to this hobby by drawing painting with cultural references or sketch some paintings to inspire people during this current lockdown period.
  • Both of these will not only improve your mood but also of those who see your paintings and sketches.
  • For example, Abhini Shetye who was my classmate recently started making paintings inspired by tribal art and folk painting styles from various states of India. The result was a series of paintings that portrayed our rich culture in a new light.
  • Here’s a brief glimpse of her work:-
Image source: Abhini Shetye
  • The rich cultural diversity of India is well reflected in such vivid, distinct, and enchanting folk art and crafts. Various painting styles are prevalent across various regions, each representing tradition, customs, and ideologies passed on from one generation to another. And some of us can take efforts to carry such traditions forward via painting.

Photography

  • Photography is a hobby that offers so many possibilities for creative expression, technical expertise, and sheer variety of ways to capture an image. Age is not a barrier to learning this hobby and you can start with the camera on your phone if that’s what you have available.
  • Photography allows us to create images of events, times, and places. To both record what happened and allow us to share them with friends and family, either in digital format or more permanently with prints or photo books.
  • By being able to capture a special moment in time, we carry the memory of that event forward with us, allowing us to share it and remember it with those that were there. Those memories become part of our history, perhaps family lore, like images passed down through the generations.

Unconventional way:

  • So one of the ways to add a little twist to this hobby is by restoring old family photographs
  • We all must have some old family photos lying around in old albums somewhere in our homes. Some of these photos might not last long since they are in paper format.
  • We can take initiative to digitize these old photos so that they stay with us a little while longer and we too could share it with our future generations.
  • Google recently launched the Photo Scan app which allows digitizing such old photos with ease. It reduces the glare which comes in while capturing images of glossy paper photos. Also, if we capture the paper photo on a white background then the app automatically removes the white background section to give us a properly captured image.
  • You can find more info about the app here:-
Google photo scan app

Origami

  • Origami is the art of paper folding most commonly associated with its tradition in Japan, with similar traditions in Europe, China, and Korea. It transforms a simple, flat sheet of paper into a three-dimensional sculpture through folds and creases.
  • Whether you’re looking to impress a dinner date or just looking for a cheap way to decorate your dorm room, origami can be a rewarding pastime with practice and patience.
  • ‘Mindful’ origami is a concept conceived by Samuel Tsang, who’d been an origami artist for many years before realizing that every time he folded a model, he was practicing mindfulness too.
  • There’s no doubt we could all do with slowing down and relaxing sometimes especially while staying at home for long periods of time, origami could be quite helpful to just ‘be in the moment’ and incorporate mindfulness into everyday life.

Unconventional way:

  • Now you can even add an unconventional twist to this hobby by practicing 3D origami.
  • 3D Origami or Golden Venture Folding is a type of modular origami. Here, the paper is folded into a simple triangular unit. Hundreds of these units are inserted into one another to create elaborate sculptures. The number of units needed to depend on the level of complexity and the size of the model.
  • Typically it would take 250 to 500 units to make a swan or a pineapple.
  • I found this penguin made using 3D origami quite cute so sharing the link for creating one at home:
3d Origami Penguin

I am pretty sure you will find it interesting to watch too, so watch it till the end if you haven’t yet 😄

Learn from a new online course

  • Online courses are ideal for staying active and engaged during the lockdown. Learning a new language, for example, is a great way to use your time to learn a new skill.
  • Most online courses are available at discounted rates during the lockdown and you can make use of this golden opportunity to learn something new which catches your interest.
  • You can learn many things like
  1. Learn a new musical instrument with Fender or Yousician. They are offering courses to learn guitar, bass or ukulele. Their easy-to-follow, instructor-guided videos are sure to help new musicians as well as those further along on their musical journey.
  2. Learn a new language: Apps like Duolingo promise to teach you how to read, write, or speak a new language, all from your phone. Most of them have a gamified experience due to which learning a new language becomes fun and addictive.
  3. Learn Photography From Official Sites: Always wanted to pursue photography as a side hobby but never got the time to? Quite a lot of official online schools are offering up its entire photography course for free during the entire months of lockdown.
  4. Learn Anything of your interest from Online Course Websites: From animation to business to music you can pursue a lot of these courses online at discounted rates made available during the lockdown. The courses are taught by experts in the fields, giving you in-depth knowledge about a topic.

Unconventional way:

  • When we are trying to learn something new it becomes quite easier if we try to teach the same concepts to someone else. Also, we have the satisfaction of teaching something new to our students.
  • Not only does this help in a better understanding of the topics but also it gives us a new perspective on every topic which we might miss out on while learning by ourselves. Also, we learn quite a lot of different things while trying to solve the doubts of our fellow students.
  • So if you can find someone else who is interested in learning the same topics as you want to then learning together and teaching them on the way is a good way to learn during these troubling times.
  • Also, it will give you a chance to have healthy communication with others while staying alone at home during the lockdown period

Before I sign off I would like to stress on another point which is…
You don’t have to be good at art to benefit from an artistic hobby

  • When we were growing up all of us tried new activities and pursued various interesting activities without the fear of being judged, failing it, or not being good enough at it. As we grow we tend to lose many of these interests and settle for mundane activities like watching Netflix or scrolling through Instagram.
  • Also, there seems to be more pressure on us to do things well which actually stops us from enjoying the process of doing these things. We’re afraid of being bad at our hobbies and have become too serious about such fun things.

I would like to quote Author and Columbia University law professor Tim Wu who says

“Lost here is the gentle pursuit of a modest competence, the doing of something just because you enjoy it, not because you are good at it. As a result, we’re missing out on the benefits that leisure activities can deliver — like making us more creative, happy, calm, and empathetic. Even more benefits emerge when it comes to hobbies that involve the arts.”

Research studies have shown that expressing ourselves through art can help to ease a wide range of illnesses and afflictions, from anxiety and depression to dementia and even cancer. Also, making art, or pursuing hobbies can make us feel happier and more relaxed.

So start something today if you haven’t yet probably on weekends or just an hour each day where you are not working seriously but working on improving your inner self through the pursuit of something which you find deeply interesting and meaningful.

Side note: Donate to charities in these hard times

The current pandemic has impacted quite a lot of businesses and employment rates have dwindled along the way. But the most brunt and struggle is borne by people from lower-income groups. So if you are one of the lucky few who is still earning decently and your income is not impacted by the current situation then please consider donating a part of your monthly salary to local or national charities who are actively working to help and feed people from lower-income groups.

And if you liked this article and feel a bit inspired you can connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn

Disclaimer: All the apps mentioned in this article(PhotoScan, Duolingo, Yousician) are used by me personally and I mentioned them because I really liked them. I am in no way affiliated or promoting them for any kind of commercial gains.

References:-

  1. Painting: Quora
  2. Photography: Digital Photography School
  3. Painting: Mojarto Blog
  4. Origami: Blog
  5. Importance of hobbies: Artsy

Blogger,web and hybrid applications developer