In our daily lives, there may be times wherein we may feel down and stressed. However, it can be difficult to take care of our mental health when so many things can take up our time. One simple way to take care of ourselves is by doing hobbies. Whether you do these occasionally or regularly, these leisurely activities can help you improve your mood and help you destress. If you need some ideas, here are five hobbies that you can try to improve your mental health.
Our physical health is connected to our mental health. By being physically active regularly, you can reduce your stress and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Exercise can also improve your mood since it makes your body and mind feel good. It can distract you from negative thoughts or give you a boost of self-esteem and self-efficacy. On top of all that, it can reduce the risk of chronic diseases and cognitive conditions (Mikkelsen et al., 2017). Exercise can be anything physical, whether it be engaging in sports, doing yoga, or even something as simple as regular walking or jogging. However you do it, regular exercise can help you feel good, both physically and mentally.
Art is a form of expression or a way to show our thoughts and feelings. Making art can help you experience catharsis which is the release of strong and repressed emotions. By letting go of your negative thoughts and feelings, you can relieve yourself of that burden and tension and make way for more positive emotions. Making art can also put you in a ‘flow state’ which is when you get so engrossed in whatever you’re doing that your mind is taken off of anything weighing you down (Holt, 2018). Creating art can also give you a sense of accomplishment which can boost your self-esteem. Art can be done however you want, whether it be through drawing, making music, dancing, and many more. What matters is you can express yourself creatively and let your feelings go.
Journaling is another way to release your thoughts and feelings. It can be difficult or uncomfortable to share your experiences with others; as such, writing down your experiences on paper is a great way to let them go privately. Documenting your experiences can also help you process them better as you're able to reflect on what happened or understand whatever you are feeling. This can then help you address the source of your problems or burdens directly. Journaling also has the added benefit of improving your communication skills, insight, and self-reflection (Canada et al., 2015), and it can help reduce your stress and negative affect.
Gardening is a relaxing and peaceful activity, so it’s also a great activity to reduce stress and depression and improve your mood. In fact, being exposed to nature itself can be relaxing. It can provide an escape from urban life especially if you’re always working from your desk or on your devices all the time. Gardening is also an activity that can be shared with others. If, for example, you grow your own farm, you can share your harvest with others which can bring about happiness and a sense of accomplishment (Beavers et al., 2022). Since gardening also involves plenty of physical activity, it could provide similar benefits from exercising. Overall, despite the labor that goes into it, gardening is a relaxing activity. Doing the labor and spending time in nature could calm you down and make you more appreciative of the world and of life.
Reading can both relax and relieve us while also building up our mental abilities. Reading can immerse you into the world of the story which can give you a healthy escape from reality and make you feel less lonely. Immersing yourself in the story can also give you experiences you have yet to go through. As such, you can strengthen your resilience since you can prepare yourself for similar situations. Reading can also make you more empathetic and understanding towards others since you can view the perspectives of different people through the story (Pike, 2022). Basically, by getting into a good book and immersing yourself in it, you can come out feeling refreshed and stronger than before.
Overall, whatever they may be, hobbies can help you unwind and feel happier even for a little while. If you’re unsure what your hobbies are, don’t be afraid to explore what you enjoy and what works for you. Try to allocate some time, at least 30 minutes a day, to do these hobbies so you can refresh yourselves. Doing these activities every once in a while, no matter how simple or small they may be, can make strides for your mental health.
We at Fidecita wish you the best in your mental health endeavors. Click here to know more about Fidecita HR Advisory’s Mental Health Care services.
Beavers, A. W., Atkinson, A., Varvatos, L. M., Connolly, M., & Alaimo, K. (2022). How Gardening in Detroit Influences Physical and Mental Health. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(13), 7899. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19137899
Canada, K. E., Brinkley, A., Peters, C., & Albright, D. L. (2015). Military veterans: Therapeutic journaling in a veterans treatment court. Journal of Poetry Therapy, 28(2), 113-128. https://doi-org.dlsu.idm.oclc.org/10.1080/08893675.2015.1011373
Holt, N. J. (2018). Using the experience-sampling method to examine the psychological mechanisms by which participatory art improves wellbeing. Perspectives in Public Health, 138(1), 55-65. https://doi.org/10.1177/1757913917739041
Mikkelsen, K., Stojanovska, L., Polenakovic, M., Bosevski, M., & Apostolopoulos, V. (2017). Exercise and mental health. Maturitas, 106, 48-56. https://doi-org.dlsu.idm.oclc.org/10.1016/j.maturitas.2017.09.003
Pike, N. (2022, October 7). 7 reasons why reading is good for your mental health. Cundall. https://www.cundall.com/ideas/blog/7-reasons-why-reading-is-good-for-your-mental-health