Taking up one of these new hobbies to do at home will not only help you develop a new skill, but could also improve your overall health and wellbeing significantly.
Taking some time to disconnect from the daily grind isn’t just beneficial, it’s essential. Burnout is all too often a symptom of hectic modern life, so it’s important to carve out time to unwind. Many reach for the remote, or like to curl up with their best eReader. But while we’re not judging anyone’s preferred method of R&R, engaging with new hobbies and interests brings some additional benefits for your mental wellbeing.
Research has shown that hobbies can be a lifeline when it comes to managing stress - a concept which family psychotherapist Jay Perkins reiterates. “Hobbies are a way to detach ourselves from the anxieties of everyday life. People with hobbies are less likely to struggle with depression, stress and low moods.”
Poonam Dhuffer, a meditation practitioner, told us hobbies are a great way to practice mindfulness: “Crafting calms our nervous systems as we’re using our hands and brains together, being fully aware of where we are and conscious of what we’re doing. We’re born to connect, to touch and engage. When we engage with craft, DIY or learn a skill, we create a balm to heal us and bring us back to ourselves.”
The case for hobbies is clear, but how do you pick the right new hobby for you from a long list of hobbies and interests? The last thing we all need is another thing to add to the to-do list, so we’ve weighed up the most popular hobbies for women and what you need to get started.
Our favourite hobbies to do at home
Become a master yogi
- Will improve fitness levels
- Boosts mental wellbeing
- Increased flexibility
- Teaches valuable life lessons
- Can be difficult to master at first
- Classes can be expensive
Yoga is about so much more than simply honing your technique on one of your best yoga mat - it's a whole lifestyle and the more you learn about yoga and its ancient principles, the more it will benefit you off the mat. "Yoga isn't just about the yoga postures themselves, the practice takes us on a journey of self-discovery," Lauren Brady, yoga teacher and founder of Lauren Brady Yoga, told w&h. "Firstly connecting us to our bodies and breath, and then taking us deeper. We learn to see ourselves more clearly on and off the mat, to witness our thoughts and reactions, and ultimately it guides us to see that we are part of something greater than ourselves, connecting us to our spirituality."
Yoga is one of the most popular exercise forms in the world. Last year the Yoga Alliance reported that around 36 million people were regularly practicing yoga in America alone and 56% of those were classed as beginners. With so many tutorials online, yoga is a hobby that you can get started with very easily. Yoga with Adrienne is used by over seven million people worldwide and offers a great starting point on YouTube on yoga for beginners. The benefits of yoga are clear; not only will you feel stronger and fitter, yoga can also help reduce stress, increase happiness and improve memory function.
All you need to begin practicing yoga is a mat, which you can use in the house or garden, and some workout clothes. Comfort is key, so make sure you choose activewear that fits well and feels great. The best leggings should feel soft, yet secure, while the best sports bra will allow you to move with confidence and reassurance - no matter which position you're mastering. If sore joints are an issue, you could try one of the best thick yoga mats.
Make your own jewelry
- You're left with a unique finished product
- Can generate great gifts
- Encourages mindfulness
- Provides a creative outlet
- Can be expensive
- Patience is a must
- Labour intensive
The best jewelry making kits will include everything you need to take up this rewarding hobby, including any necessary tools and detailed instructions. Kits usually come with everything you need, including wire, string, needles, hooks, lobster claws and clasps. And if you're still not sure, there are so many online jewelry making classes that will help you perfect your craft - it's never been easier to learn how to make jewelry at home.
Crafting your own jewelry has long been considered a therapeutic and creative outlet - it's time consuming, but produces a beautiful result. You could start with something really simple, such as learning how to make a bead bracelet and then work your way up to intricate, one-of-a-kind statement pieces. Learning how to make earrings is also a good first step, as a simple style can still look really effective.
Jewelry making is one of the most popular hobbies for women. Make unique pieces to update your look, or create homemade gifts for loved ones. Before you know it you could have a covetable collection, whether you want to set up a store on Etsy, or keep your creations for yourself.
Have a go a fermenting
- The finished product is tasty and edible
- Can be as time-consuming as you like
- A little messy
Gut health has placed itself firmly at the forefront of our health agenda, with the numerous benefits of eating fermented foods clear, from clearer skin to better organ function, as well as having a significant impact on our mental health. They don't call the gut the 'second brain' - a term coined by medical experts - for nothing. Thanks to our new-found respect for gut-loving foods, fermentation has become a popular at-home hobby, with many heading to the kitchen to cook up kefir, miso paste, sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha.
Kombucha in particular is having a health-food moment, with sales skyrocketing in recent years and many eager to create the experience at home. "At Lo Bros we sold more than 2 million bottles in 2020, with online sales growing 127%," Natalie Stanton, head of sales at Soulfresh told w&h. "Brewing your own kombucha has also seen a resurgence, with sites like Happy Kombucha selling everything you need for a home brew kit; it’s a fun hobby with a delicious outcome."
Kombucha isn't too labour intensive to attempt to brew at home, as long as you have the correct tools; sugar, tea and living bacteria culture called a scoby. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi are also easy enough to whizz up in your best blender or best food processor. To rustle up some kimchi, all you need is a diced crunchy vegetable, salt and a jar with a well-fitting lid - so it's a great one to start with.
Dr Clare Bailey, wife of Dr Michael Mosley, who is famous for his No Sugar Diet, is a big fan of fermented food kimchi. She has incorporated it into their Fast 800 intermittent fasting plan and the couple praise gut-friendly foods as a whole in their book, The Clever Guts Diet. If you want a hobby that will boost your health from the inside, it looks like fermenting is the way to go.
Get outside with Nordic Walking
- Will improve fitness and muscle strength
- Aids weight loss
- Promotes eco-therapy
- Can be expensive if you don't already own good walking boots - but they're a sound investment
Nordic Walking uses poles that propel you forward. This means you engage your upper body more than by rambling or trekking. It's also great for those with joint problems, as the poles mean you're applying less pressure when walking. “Public Health England (PHE) and the Centre for Ageing Better recently said it’s one of the best activities for strengthening muscles and balance,” Dr Melanie Wynne-Jones told w&h, “which is essential, as this tends to deteriorate as we age, making us more prone to falls.”
Nordic walking poles cost from around £30 and you will also need a pair of the best women's walking shoes. Then it's worth getting in touch with a Nordic Walking instructor to find out about walking routes near you. You can find out more at Nordic Walking UK.
Try knitting, embroidery or tapestry
- Mindful activity
- Beautiful finished product
- Can be difficult to master
- Time consuming
Taking up embroidery, knitting or tapestry can be as simple or complicated as you like. If you want to try basic embroidery, all you need is some fabric (like cotton or calico), an embroidery hoop, embroidery needles and thread. You can order all you need online from a craft store such as Hobbycraft - just look for the section on basic stitches.
If you want to hone your craft further, you could teach yourself how to stitch with one of the best sewing machines via online tutorials, to create beautiful textiles at a quicker pace (our guide on easy sewing machine projects is also a great place to start!) Having said that, there's something to be said for the slow and mindful pace of embroidering or knitting, methodically working towards a finished product. It's meticulous work, but deeply satisfying when you're left with the finished item.
You might like to start with embroidering a name, simple pattern or a floral design. To begin, simply draw on your cloth with a pencil and stitch on top. Adding buttons and sequins is an easy win. And if you’re a confident artist, try doing a portrait in stitch. There are plenty of online tutorials to get you started, like this video that walks you through seven basic embroidery stitches, or this knitting video, that will teach you the basics.
Discover a new passion and find some time for yourself with our list of hobbies.
Research on hobbies reducing stress from the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Jay Perkins is a child, adolescent and family psychodynamic psychotherapist and founder of Partisan UK.
Lauren Brady is a yoga teacher and founder of Lauren Brady Yoga - classes, events and retreats to calm the mind & awaken the spirit.