Practical hobbies to pick up in your spare time

I, along with the rest of the country, heck, the rest of the world, have a rising sense of panic that the next few months could potentially be completely wasted time, precious moments stolen from our lives that we just won’t get back. But perhaps this mindset is unnecessarily negative and in itself a waste of time. I think, in circumstances such as these, rather than moping in a pool of self-pity we instead need to hang on to the opportunity that could be delivered.

Now, I know it’s a cliché, but the coming months could give us the perfect opportunity for some self-improvement, perhaps by teaching yourself a language that you have wanted to learn for as long as you can remember. Memrise and Duolingo are great apps to help you pick up basic communication skills. As well as being an impressive skill, learning a language is a fantastic way to keep your brain lively and active, as well as providing a mental diversion from the worries and concerns that are ever present in our minds.

I’m sure, like me, there have always been certain books that you’ve had on your mental book bucket-list or sat on the shelf gathering dust for the past few years, that you’ve always been intending to read. So, whether it is a Bronte classic or Michelle Obama’s autobiography, why not pick up a book to pass the time? I think reading is a hobby that we’ve maybe neglected slightly as a society, or at least I have. I really do enjoy reading and always get back into it when I’m home for the holidays, but at University, it just doesn’t seem to have a place in my lifestyle. But with ample time available, perhaps this is something that could be perfect for providing escapism from the horrors of the real world.

 The pandemic could provide an opportunity to practice mindfulness and its associated activities such as yoga and meditation. It has long been an ambition of mine to become more at one with my mind and body, but in our usual hectic lives I just can’t seem to find the time. With few other things to do, this could perhaps become a priority. The practice of mindfulness can provide superior mental strength and, at this challenging time, would be of help to us all. Check out the YouTube channel Yoga with Adriene, if your keen on reaching out to your inner yoga guru, her videos are incredibly supportive with a focus on mental wellbeing and meditation. So embrace the yoga journey guys – namaste!

 This period could allow people the opportunity to build a social media platform on a more professional level. As a design student, I recently set up an Instagram account solely dedicated to my discipline. However, after the initial two weeks of setting it up, the novelty had worn off and it just became another chore. Perhaps this time out will allow me to spend more time on creating a stronger social media presence so that when we get back to normal (hopefully) it’ll be more of a habit, or potentially a hobby, rather than something I just have to do. I think for creatives, this could be a really great way to spend time, as it encourages the continuation of creativity for an audience.

 I recently finished reading Kate Humble’s Thinking on My Feet, which was an autobiographical account of her walks over one year. On turning the final page, I couldn’t help feel inspired by the mental and physical well-being that the simple act of walking bought about. Since then, I have been trying to take time out to make the effort and go for a walk much more often. The pandemic ensures that rather than having to take time out to go for a walk, a walk could be a way to structure your day and escape the house whilst maintaining the social distancing advice.

 These are hugely stressful times and the uncertainty of the next few months is overwhelming. But wouldn’t it be great if, come September, you could honestly say that you have achieved something, whether that’s being able to hold a ten minute conversation in Spanish, reading every single Austen classic out there, or harnessing that elusive ‘om’. I don’t think there’s ever been a time more appropriate for the phrase: when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. So guys, get juicing those lemons!

Image Credit: Erin Dollar via Craft Images Alliance

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