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During the worst period of depression I’ve ever experienced, I didn’t feel like doing anything. At all. Ever.
I would literally lay in bed and sleep for most of the day. It was awful.
I plan on sharing a post soon about all of the things that helped pull me out of a deep depression that I never thought would end. But for today, I wanted to talk about one of the biggest things that helped me: finding new hobbies.
Studies show that people with engaging hobbies are less likely to suffer from stress, low moods, and depression. They’re good for our mental and physical health.
I believe that everyone is creative in some way. And I can say from experience that finding a creative hobby that I’m super passionate about (painting) has helped me in so many different ways when it comes to depression and anxiety.
Being able to express yourself, distract your mind, and create something is seriously so therapeutic.
Even if you’re currently in the depths of depression or the grip of anxiety and you don’t feel like doing anything, try your hardest to make yourself engage in a hobby. It can put you in a sort of meditative state and it can even begin to train your brain to stop thinking so many depressing or anxious thoughts.
If you’re someone who wants to try a creative hobby but you don’t know where to start, that’s what I’m here for today!
Here are 30 creative hobby ideas for better mental health:
1- Hand lettering.
This is a pretty popular hobby right now! Hand lettering is the process of creating decorative letters and fonts. There are endless possibilities when it comes to hand lettering because you can use pretty much any writing utensil and any surface so it’s fun to get really creative with it. You can also monetize this hobby by selling home decor signs, cards, or printables based on your designs.
- The Ultimate Guide to Modern Calligraphy & Hand Lettering for Beginners
- How to Hand Letter YouTube channel
Writing has always been an interest for me and there are so many different types of writing you can get into. There’s poetry, short stories, novels, nonfiction, songs, plays, and so much more. It all depends on what is most interesting to you. You can start by writing short stories or reviews and submitting them to websites. Or you can jump right into trying to write a novel. You can even self-publish your own novel or poetry collection. There are endless options. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is a great way to jump into writing a book!
3- Making music.
Music is a huge passion of mine and it can be a great way to relieve stress and help your mental health. You use almost every part of your brain when you play music too! You’re never too old to learn a new instrument or learn to sing. I used to play the flute in high school band and I’m currently learning guitar. If music is something you love, there are tons of instruments to choose from!
So many people who have gardens say that their garden is like a safe space. It brings a sense of peace to their mind. There’s also so much satisfaction and happiness that comes with caring for something and watching it grow. There are also many options for gardening: a big garden or small garden – flowers or vegetables. There are also many beginner-friendly options out there!
5- Crafts or DIY.
Making DIY projects or crafts has always been something I’ve wanted to try doing and hopefully I do someday because I’ve seen some amazing results on Pinterest and Instagram! You can work on improving things you already have in your home or upcycling trash items into something beautiful or useful. You can also buy supplies from craft stores or even Dollar Tree and make something out of nothing.
This is one of my favorite hobbies! A lot of people that I’ve talked to find drawing intimidating, but literally anyone can draw. You don’t have to be Picasso to be able to pick up a pencil and doodle a cat or flowers or your favorite cartoon character. It’s so therapeutic for me to just listen to my favorite podcasts and draw. I like to sketch out my drawing with a pencil and then trace it with my Micron pens and color it in, but some people like to do more detailed pencil sketches instead. There are unlimited possibilities when it comes to drawing!
I know we live in a digital world, but I personally still love having physical copies of my favorite photos of my family and pets, and friends. I just have a photo album for my photos but scrapbooking is a much more creative way to keep your memories in physical form. Creating scrapbooks for others is also such a thoughtful and creative gift idea! It’s also nice to know that your memories can be passed down to future generations too. And this hobby definitely isn’t dead; if you check your local craft store or even Amazon, there are tons of cute scrapbooking supplies for you to choose from!
8- Bullet journaling.
I keep a bullet journal for making lists – to-do lists, blog post ideas, movies I’ve watched, and more. Because bullet journals are great for helping you stay organized, but they’re also great for helping you unleash your creativity! There are endless ideas for pages you can create in your bullet journal, from mood trackers to coloring pages to calendars, and so much more.
- Bullet Journal Kit
- Over 100 inspiring journal layouts plus 500 writing prompts
- Cindy Guentert-Baldo YouTube channel
This has got to be my favorite creative hobby! I just started painting last year (2020) but I’m already obsessed with it. I even started an Etsy shop to share my favorite hobby! I’ve read that painting can help you improve your motor skills but for me, it also allows me to just block out my troubling thoughts and let my creativity just flow. I love painting my favorite characters, like Sailor Moon, but I also love just creating whatever comes to mind. There are different types of paint – acrylic, oil, watercolor – and there are also tons of YouTube tutorials to teach you how to paint with each of them!
You might like: The BEST Paint Pens/Acrylic Markers Ever
I’ve been blogging off and on for about 5 years now and I have to say that it’s a fantastic creative outlet for so many reasons! Running a blog is a complicated endeavor and it requires creativity in several ways – writing posts, designing social media templates, coming up with ideas, and more. You also have to constantly be learning new information and new skills. It’s challenging but so rewarding too. If you’re someone who has a topic that you could talk about over and over again, or you have something that you want to share with the world, blogging is definitely something you should look into!
11- Collage art.
In my opinion, collage art is probably one of the easiest ways to get started with art and boosting your creativity. Like so many of the other hobbies I’m talking about here, collage art has endless possibilities! You can use cutouts from magazines or newspapers, photographs, books, stickers, and anything else you can stick to the page. I don’t have any experience with collage art myself, but I’ve seen some amazing work from other artists!
12- Crochet or knitting.
Crochet and knitting are traditional art forms that are still super relevant. Crochet has always been my mom’s favorite hobby so I’ve seen her crochet tons of things throughout my life. I also started crocheting myself pretty recently and I love doing it from time to time. Knitting is an alternative to crochet but both activities allow you to create so many amazing things from scarves to swimsuits to stuffed animals and so much more! There are awesome crochet/knit gift ideas for every occasion too!
Quilting is another traditional art form that’s still relevant today! Quilting allows you to play with color and math to create amazing designs. I’ve always been sort of envious of people who quilt because they create some seriously gorgeous pieces of art, but it’s an activity I’ve never been interested in learning. But if the idea of making quilts is something that appeals to you, it’s definitely worth trying out this timeless hobby. There are so many amazing ideas from traditional vintage-styled quilts to more modern ones.
14- Cooking or baking.
I wouldn’t say cooking or baking are hobbies for me, but I do know that cooking dinner at night while listening to a podcast can definitely help me de-stress. Trying out new recipes is always exciting for me too. But the best part about cooking or baking is watching people taste and react to your delicious creations!
15- Adult coloring.
I used to be obsessed with adult coloring books, and for good reason! They are so helpful for people struggling with anxiety. Coloring has actually been proven to relax the amygdala or fear center of your brain. So if you’re looking for a creative hobby to help your mental health, you can’t go wrong with adult coloring books. Plus, there are so many gorgeous adult coloring books out there!
- Worlds of Wonder: A Coloring Book for the Curious
- Abnormality: Horror Coloring Book for Adults
- Joyful Inspiration Adult Coloring Book
If you really struggle with negative thoughts or spiraling, pottery might be worth a look for you. Pottery will take up all of your concentration because if you make one mistake, it can ruin your work and make you start over. Pottery is such an interesting art form and what makes it extra cool is that it’s sustainable, which is an extra good thing in our wasteful era. You can make lots of things like bowls, mugs, vases, plates, planters – you can even make ceramic jewelry! This is a hobby that allows you to be really creative.
Dancing is a creative hobby that is equally as good for your physical health as it is for your mental health. I enjoy dancing around my house once in a while but it’s definitely not a creative hobby for me, haha. But if you’re looking for a creative hobby that can also be an exercise routine, dancing might be for you! You can check your local gyms for dance classes if you want to do it in a group setting, or it’s a hobby you can pick up at home. There are many different styles of dancing from hip hop to belly dancing.
I love taking pretty photos but I’m definitely not a photographer. As someone who’s kind of obsessed with Instagram, I’m constantly seeing beautiful photos from actual creative photographers and it’s so inspiring! When you take beautiful photos, you’re not only creating artwork but you’re also capturing and immortalizing memories. And as a photographer, you have the power to explore different ways of viewing the subject you’re photographing and allowing others to see through your unique view.
- The Photography Storytelling Workshop
- Canon EOS Rebel T7 Digital SLR Camera
- Photo Genius YouTube channel
19- Digital art.
Digital art is something that I want to learn eventually because it seems so interesting to me. You can do so many different things with this skill or hobby, too. You need some kind of program like Corel Painter, Procreate, Artweaver, or whatever software looks most appealing to you. Other than digital art software, all you need to get started is a tablet and a stylus.
20- Jewelry making.
There are so many ways to make jewelry – beads, crystals, charms, resin, and more. But no matter what form you choose, it’s a way to be creative and make something beautiful. It’s also a great way to make money at craft fairs or online on sites like Etsy! One tip is to shop local when looking for jewelry-making supplies or charms because there’s a bigger chance that you’ll find unique items to add to your pieces and make them more one-of-a-kind!
21- Candle making.
Candle making is actually one of the first creative hobbies that I ever tried because I lovelovelove candles! If you also love candles, making your own is one way to get creative and make sure that you never run out of them. It’s also a pretty easy hobby to get into and coming up with new scent ideas and colors is so much fun.
Sewing is such a great hobby because if you know how to sew, you can create pretty much anything. Clothes, toys, home decor items, accessories, and more. There are tons of great sewing lessons, tutorials, and ideas on Skillshare if it’s something that interests you!
23- Cross-stitch or embroidery.
Cross-stitch or embroidery is another hobby that is super popular right now. I’m constantly seeing people on Instagram sharing their cross-stitch projects and I’m also seeing a lot of Etsy shops selling cross-stitch creations and patterns. This is something that I even do from time to time and it can be really therapeutic. You can purchase cross-stitch (or embroidery) kits that have a pattern and all of the supplies that you need to make a project, or you can purchase supplies and patterns separately. Or you can make your own patterns!
- Cross-Stitch Kit for Beginners
- How to Start Cross Stitching for Beginners
- Free cross-stitch patterns
24- Nail art.
Nail art can be an exciting hobby because it’s constantly evolving, maybe more than any other hobby on this list. There are always new trends and tools and things to learn. When you’re doing nail art on your own nails, it’s also a great way to express yourself through your appearance. There are tons of ways to get started with nail art for beginners but as you gain more and more experience, the designs can become super intricate and even more creative.
25- Seed beading.
Seed beading is another great creative hobby! With seed beads, you can make bracelets, necklaces, earrings, rings, key chains, figurines, or pins. You can get creative with it and use your creations for whatever you want. There are many patterns out there for seed beading, or of course, you can create your own.
This is a hobby that might be a little more difficult to learn but it would be awesome to know how to make things out of wood. This is something that a lot of men in my family used to do. I remember my grandpa making furniture and my dad built me a playhouse when I was a kid. Although you can create some pretty amazing things with woodworking, I recommend starting off small as a beginner.
- Woodworking: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Skills, Techniques, and Projects
- A Total Beginner’s Guide to Woodworking
27- Cake decorating.
Baking something is something creative in itself, but decorating baked goods is something different. I always love seeing all of the pretty cakes and cookies when I’m in a bakery and the people who decorate them have some serious skill! You can learn to decorate cupcakes, cookies, donuts, and other desserts. I know that Michael’s and Skillshare offer cake decorating classes, and places local to you might also offer them. This is a great hobby that can help you start a business because whether it’s birthdays, baby showers, or weddings, lots of people need beautiful cakes for special occasions.
28- Making films or videos.
Along with photography as I talked about before, videography can be another great creative hobby. Whether you film short films of other people, film yourself talking about one of your interests or even try to film an actual movie, there are so many different ways you can go with filming. All you have to do is learn the basics of videography, start a YouTube channel (TikTok or Instagram work too) and you can share your videos with the world.
- YouTube Secrets: The Ultimate Guide to Growing Your Following and Making Money as a Video Influencer
- 5 Videography Tips for Beginners
29- Flower arranging.
Flower arranging is a creative hobby that I feel like a lot of people don’t think about. Along with cake decorating, this is another hobby that would make a profitable business. People are always looking for beautiful flower arrangements to gift their loved ones or decorate for special occasions. Some flower shops offer flower arranging classes so I would definitely look into that if you’re interested.
- Flower School: A Practical Guide to the Art of Flower Arranging
- Flower Arranging Tutorial For Beginners
I’ve worn makeup since middle school but believe it or not, I’ve only recently taken the time to learn more about it besides just using eyeliner, haha. But like nail art, makeup is another creative hobby that is constantly changing and evolving. I like the idea of this hobby because makeup is such a great way to express yourself through your appearance. If you’re really talented with makeup, you could even start offering to do other people’s makeup as a business or start a YouTube channel about it.
- How to Become a Professional Makeup Artist
- AFFORDABLE MAKEUP ARTIST KIT BASICS | Build Your Kit On A Budget
What would you add to this list? What’s your favorite creative hobby? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!