Hobbies provide us with the space to switch off from the stress of everyday life. According to Positive Psychology’s article, “taking a break from the mundane to engage in creative activities you find enjoyable can boost self-esteem, increase motivation, and enhance well-being”.
But keeping up a hobby can become expensive as you invest more of your time in it and start to improve. So here are five hobbies that don’t get more expensive over time:
This may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of hobbies, but it’s worth looking into if you love nature and being outside. Getting back in touch with this ancestral skill isn’t as primitive as you might think. Understanding the plants, fruit and greenery that inhabit our land is a great way to learn more about nature, respect it and get yourself out in it.
A scientific report by White, M.P. et al found that people who spent over 120 minutes a week in nature reported consistently higher levels of health and wellbeing than those who had no exposure to nature. But not only is it a mood booster, foraging is also great for the planet. Foraging means less plastic packaged goods from across the globe landing in your trolley at the end of the week. It’s also a great excuse to try out some new recipes with ingredients you wouldn’t otherwise have used.
It’s advisable that you hire an expert to go out with you when you first start out to ensure you don’t mistake any poisonous foods for button mushrooms. There are also some great resources online such as the Woodland Trust’s foraging guide and The Outsider’s foraging Youtube series.
The more you get out there and experience foraging, the less expensive it will become as you begin to pick it up (literally).
Whilst most of us enjoy a game of chess, not many of us can truthfully say we’re good at it. After watching ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ on Netflix, you may be persuaded to take up the game that still haunts after-school clubs. If you’re purely taking it up as a hobby, then you can become an advanced player through avidly studying tactics, strategies and openings. With Youtube channels like Gotham Chess and libraries full of resources, you can delve deeper into the world of the checkered-board.
If you happen to be an unearthed chess star, entering competitions and attending them will cost you a lot more than your late-return library fees. However, if you’re happy to keep it at a hobby level, chess is a great way to while the evening away.
And anyway, who doesn’t feel like a MENSA member after winning multiple chess games?
For many of us, cooking is a chore that takes higher priority than doing the dishes but lower priority than binge-watching a Netflix series. We cook because we have to eat. But, we can all admit, cooking provides an immense sense of satisfaction when a meal is enjoyed by others. We’ve all been bashful when accepting compliments over a meal we’ve slaved over hours, following it up with, “oh, it was nothing. I just threw it together really!’.
Well now’s the time to accept that you can cook and it may actually turn out to be a lot of fun. Personally, I get all my inspiration from BBC Good Food as they have a wide variety of recipes accommodating all manner of picky-eaters.! Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free or bored of eating spag bol (BBC Good Good has THE best spag bol recipe if you’re ever craving some), there’s a recipe for you.
Cooking doesn’t just have to be ham, egg and chips. Working with new ingredients, trying different cooking methods and tasting food from various cultures makes cooking a whole lot more fun than I ever thought it would be.
Give yourself time to prep, enjoy the cooking process and revel in the mistakes you’ll inevitably make. It’s all part of the fun!
I have found writing to be an incredibly freeing experience. Learning to sit with yourself and put pen to paper, giving your thoughts a chance to emerge into living words on the page is a beautiful experience. You might have always dreamed of writing a novel, short story or collection of poems. But even if you haven’t, writing is a brilliant tool to de-stress.
If you’re not sure where to start, you can find resources on Youtube, specialist websites and at your local library. To improve my writing I’ve been reading ‘Write To The Point’ by Sam Leith and can’t recommend it highly enough. Ultimately, the more you sit down to write, the better you’ll feel about staring at a blank page.
If you’ve read the books, watched the videos, written your heart out and still want more, then competitions are a brilliant way to up your game. They can be found online or through monthly publications such as Writing Magazine which provide details of the upcoming month’s competitions.
Don’t need to wait for the perfect moment to write. As I detailed in a past article, you have a voice that deserves to be shared with others. Who knows, you might have the next Pulitzer prize novel floating around in the back of your brain.
Tracing your family back in time is like a 1500-piece jigsaw puzzle, except without the soul-destroying moment of breaking it apart once it’s complete. Fitting the pieces together of who lived where, when did they get married, why did they leave their hometown – it’s a real life puzzle, completely personal to you.
With many reputable genealogy sites at your fingertips such as Ancestry and resource sites like the National Archives, you can search back through the ages and find out how you came to be without even moving from the sofa. The cost is usually a membership fee, but once in, you can get searching.
You never know what you might find out about your ancestors, you may even be of royal descent!
Relax Whilst You Hobby
Hobbies are a great way to de-stress, relax and be present in the moment. The benefits to your mental health, wellbeing and continuous need for learning make it well worth the investment in time.
The ideas above should provide you with inspiration for new hobbies that won’t leave you worrying about increased costs over time. No matter what hobby you decide to take up, the most important thing is that you relax and enjoy it!