This article contains 12 suggestions if you are looking for hobbies to relax and unwind. I have personally tried all of them and can highly recommend each and every one!
This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you use these links, at no cost to you. I only recommend products that I find value in myself. See my full disclosure here. Thank you for your support!
The hobbies I am about to mention come from various categories. Some will get you out into nature, some are more suited for being practiced at home. Some require almost no brain power and are therefore especially great after a long, exhausting work day. Others are perfect to release your creativity and get into flow state. What they all have in common is the fact that you
- need only a small amount of supplies to get started – or none at all
- can practice them either by yourself or with other people
- don’t need to commit to any subscription or membership
Let’s have a look at these twelve calming hobbies and get you inspired, shall we?
Hobbies to Relax and Unwind in Nature
As much as I love spending time at home, there is something special about being in nature. As the US EPA states, we nowadays spend about 90% of our time indoors. The Outdoor Foundation study from 2019 even found that nearly half of the U.S. population doesn’t participate in any outdoor recreation at all, and only 17.9 percent got out at least once a week in 2018. But being in nature is so beneficial for humans! There are numerous scientifically-proven physical and psychological benefits of spending time outside. To name only a few of them, being in nature increases life expectancy, reduces stress and can event prevent various diseases.
With that in mind, why not give one of these hobbies a try?
This is not the first time I have written about gardening but it is simple too wonderful not be mentioned again! You can find my blog post about our approach towards sustainable gardening here. And I also recommended gardening in my article about learning as a lifelong skill.
Did you know that gardening actually makes you happy? This has been scientifically proven – see this article for more information. And if you decide to grow vegetables, you can literally eat the fruits of your labor! Personally, I recommend a mix of vegetables/fruits/berries and flowers. I love the romantic, old-world look of a cottage garden. And it has the added benefit that it doesn’t require high maintenance because the slightly wild look is part of its charm.
And in case you’re reading this during a season when gardening is not possible: planning what do grow in the garden come spring and summer is a wonderful way to spend your time when you are stuck inside due to colder temperatures.
#2 Walking or Hiking
I am a huge advocate of both of these activities. Nothing gets my creative juices flowing like my daily morning walk. Ideas and inspirations just come naturally when I start walking. I usually simply walk around my neighborhood for about 30 minutes.
Whenever we have free time on the weekends, we like to go hiking in the woods. It doesn’t have to be a physically demanding hike! It can be, if you want it to, but the simple act of spending time walking through the woods can instantly calm you down.
And while walking or hiking through the woods is especially beneficial for your health (see this article for more information), you can of course also hike in a totally different environment. Not everybody lives near a forest, after all.
Handworks to Relax and Unwind
Next up is the category of handworks. This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a couple of hobbies from the wonderful world of the fiber arts, would it?
A day without knitting is like a day without sunshine.– The Art of Knitting
Knitting is awesome. It is meditative, calming and you even get a useable product out of it! Even the New York Times recognizes the multiple benefits of knitting in this article. If you don’t know which handwork to try, I encourage you to learn how to knit!
I have written lots of articles about different aspects of knitting. You can find the all in the knitting category of the website.
Do you want to give knitting with sustainable, all natural sock yarn a try?
In this free guide you will learn everything you need to know about knitting sturdy socks with plastic-free, all natural sock yarn.
Similar to knitting but with only one needle, crochet is a wonderful fiber art as well. Personally, I especially enjoy the relaxing effect of making blankets over long periods of time. I have even written a blog post about my favorite blanket patterns called Simple Crochet Blankets for Beginners.
Spinning might be one of the most meditative fiber arts – omce you got the hang of it. It takes some time to get used to but once you learn how to draft the roving and control the amount of twist you add, it gets really fun.
You can get started with only a drop spindle and some roving. And if you enjoy it, you can purchase a spinning wheel later on.
#6 Embroidery & Cross Stitch
Embroidery is another favorite handcraft of mine. I find it especially relaxing and meditative, the slow motion of the hand stitching and the freedom to improvise the motif while you go.
You only need very few supplies to get started. If you are interested in giving embroidery a try, check out the embroidery category of the website. I have written several blog posts which are especially helpful for beginners.
I haven’t practiced cross stitch in a very long time. But I wanted to mention it nonetheless, because it is very similar to embroidery and another great relaxing hobby to try.
I am not sure why, but the slow process of making blankets appears to be an especially relaxing craft. Quilting can be done in several different ways. You can sew together the different pieces and quilt the top with a sewing machine or do it completely by hand.
Another interesting option is the English paper piecing method. It involves the use of paper templates which stabilize the individual pieces that come in geometrical shapes. It is done completely by hand.
If you are looking for inspiration, I can highly recommend Rita vom Red Pepper Quilts. She really is the queen of quilting, in my opinion.
Further Hobbies to Relax and Unwind
There are numerous options when it comes to choosing painting as a hobby. You can decide between a vast number of different mediums and paints.
I recently started learning how to paint with ink and watercolor. And I enjoy it so much that I wrote a blog post about it where I share all about the supplies I use and which beginner tutorials I can recommend.
While it is possible to do pottery at home, this might be the one hobby on the list that I would recommend looking for a course. Generally, there are three different ways to create pottery: using a pottery wheel, hand-building and slip casting.
If you are interested in pottery, have a look at this beginners guide from The Potter Wheel.
Similar to a lot of the hobby suggestion I have mentioned above, pottery is not only relaxing while you are in the process of creating, you also get a product out of it.
Reading is absolutely wonderful and I am always a little shocked whenever I hear people saying that they don’t like to read. I am strongly convinced that there is a genre for everyone.In case you are not into reading, maybe you just haven’t found the right genre that appeals to you (yet).
If you like to read fiction, you can immerse yourself in a completely different world and forget everything around you. If you like to read non-fiction, you can educate yourself on pretty much any topic you might be interested in.
And if you are just not into books, I can highly recommend giving audiobooks a try.
This one of my favorite joint activity with my kids. We love to pull out one of our 1000 pieces puzzles and work on it whenever we feel like it. It sometimes takes us weeks to finish a puzzle but the whole process is simply so enjoyable. Slowing down, focusing all your attention on finding matching pieces and the satisfaction of seeing the motif come together is just wonderful. And there are so many beautiful motifs to choose from. I have collected a couple favorites of mine here:
Last but certainly not least on my list of hobbies to relax and unwind is writing. This can be anything you like, be it creative writing or journaling. Putting your thoughts, feelings or dreams on paper can be a beneficial experience for anyone. You don’t have to write with the goal in mind to publish your work. Sometimes it is not what you create but the process of creating that holds the biggest benefit.
If, however, you do intend to write a novel with the plan to share it with the world, you should have a look at NaNoWriMo. If you have never heard of it before, NaNoWriMo is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1999 with the goal to encourage people to write. They host community challenges several times a year to encourage people to achieve their writing goals.
While writing this blog post in September of 2023, I plan to participate in NaNoWriMo for the first this November. Let me know if you plan to join as well, so we can encourage each other!
And there you have it, my list of 12 hobbies to relax and unwind. What are your favorite hobbies? Do you have a suggestion to add to the list? Come share in the comments below!