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New Hobbies To Improve Your Mental Health This Spring

08 February 2022

The Joy of New Hobbies

Developing a new hobby can not only increase your enjoyment of daily life and give you a break from daily stressors, but it can strengthen your neural networks, too. If you’ve felt exhausted, overwhelmed, or low on time you can actually enjoy away from work or daily chores, it might be time to try out a new hobby this spring!

 Adding some new activities into your life can really make a difference to your stress levels, and your outlook. Let’s take a look at some new hobbies that might take your interest this year.

Play A Musical Instrument

Learning to play a musical instrument can seem like a lifetime’s commitment, but even learning the basics could be an enjoyable and rewarding practice for you - with some musical benefits to boot!

Playing a musical instrument can help develop analytical and fine motor skills, alongside creative, lingual, and mathematical capability, and develops a sense of rhythm and musicality. Studies have found that those who develop the ability to play a musical instrument have strengthened brain functions, particularly in the areas that help forge new neural connections, develop learning, focus, problem solving, and executive skills.

So whether it’s the piano, violin, harmonica or double bass - why don’t you book a few lessons this week and see how things unfold?!

Get Into The Garden

Whether you have the luxury of a big private garden plot, or you’re considering investing in a window box or a corner for house plants, tapping into your gardening talent could be the start of your favourite new hobby.

Not only could you tend some delicious fruit or veg, or enjoy the beauty of some summer flowers, there’s some wonderful other benefits to nurturing a hobby in gardening. The sense of achievement from seeing something grow from a tiny seed to a blooming plant - all from your efforts! - can be remarkable. The process of gardening in itself can also reduce levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, meaning lower stress levels and, even, reduce incidences of dementia by over 30%

Whether you have plenty of resources or you’re starting from scratch with minimal space - get your hands into some dirt and make nature part of your life.

Cook Up A Storm!

Flexing your culinary muscles can not only teach you a new talent and treat your tastebuds, but also improve your health. Kimberly Snyder, a qualified nutritionist, has reported that people who are in the habit of actively buying ingredients for a recipe they’re keen to try out are more likely to have a healthy diet, avoiding processed and overly sugary or fatty foods.

From tasty roasted veggies and ragus to juicy steaks, stews, and soups, there’s so many meals, and different cuisines, to explore. Or perhaps baking’s more your bag - who doesn’t love the smell of freshly baked bread or the occasional buttery croissants!? Roll up your sleeves, pull out the pots and pans, and give it a whirl!

Unleash Your Inner Bookworm 

When was the last time you picked up a book?

The stresses of daily life, chores, and work can leave us feeling we don’t have the time to get pulled into a good narrative. But whether you’re into science fiction, popular science, or prefer to get stuck into the Financial Times, stoking a passion for reading can be deeply rewarding, and good for your health.

Reading can relieve stress, invoke imagination, strengthen empathy, and increase self esteem and self confidence. Feeling connected with other human stories or the innate human curiosity can help create a positive sense of self and understanding of relationships, whilst also improving focus, analytical understanding, and information retention.

Hit The Gym

We know that inviting exercise into your daily routine - whether that’s a run round the block, or taking up a martial art - can be a huge benefit to your physical health.

More than that, it can also be incredibly fun, help reduce stress, and improve mood! When exercising regularly, proteins are also released into the body that help develop memory, learning, focus, concentration, and understanding. What’s not to love?! Rethink that gym membership or take the plunge and invest in some new classes - who knows what you might find?

Learn A New Language

 Learning a new language can open you up to new experiences, friendships, and a greater enjoyment of travel and literature. French, Hawaiian, or Norwegian - whatever language takes your interest, learning can give you a great sense of achievement and cultural curiosity, which connect you with the great wide world beyond the culture you know.

 Language learning can make your brain better at solving puzzles or problems, and strengthen the areas of your brain responsible for learning and memory. Why not sign up for a conversation class or download one of the many apps now available for language learning, and see where it takes you this year?