Blogger | Teacher
Starting a new year means embracing change, creating resolutions, and learning new hobbies. Each new year is a chance for new opportunities and a clean start, and while it can be overwhelming to consider all the unexpected surprises ahead, it can also be incredibly relieving to think about what amazing experiences may come next.
While Christmas and the holidays can be incredibly fun for people all over the world, it’s no surprise that the end of the year can leave you feeling heavy and worn down after all the hardships and struggles you’ve experienced over the last few months. For this year’s New Year’s resolutions, I want to offer some amazing new hobbies that you can consider taking up not only for how fun they can be but also for encouraging stress relief and relaxation as you begin a new page in your book of life!
While many people put “weight loss” or “dieting” on their list of New Year’s resolutions, yoga is one of the best new hobbies for both improving your physical health and finding a form of stress relief. The benefits yoga has for your physical health include increasing flexibility and muscle strength, improving respiration, and boosting energy and endurance.
But did you know that yoga has amazing benefits for your mental health as well? Not only does it help relieve depression and anxiety, but it can also help boost concentration and focus, reduce the effects of PTSD, and improve your mood.
If you’re someone who feels anxious easily or can hold a lot of stress, taking up yoga in the new year could benefit you in a multitude of ways and encourage a more well-rounded you this year!
Knitting / Crocheting / Cross-stitching
For those people out there looking to start new hobbies this year that are more hands-on and creative, choosing to learn a skill like knitting, crocheting, or cross-stitching could be the best option for you! Knitting and crocheting are known to relieve depression and stress because they encourage us to concentrate our energies on something positive and productive rather than negative, cyclical thinking.
The repetitive nature of hands-on hobbies like these has been shown to release serotonin, which is a natural anti-depressant created inside the body. More serotonin production creates a more positive mood and encourages a sense of calmness. It’s no wonder our grandmothers were always so calm and relaxed when they were crocheting!
Knitting, crocheting, and cross-stitching can also have amazing physical benefits, like increased concentration and hand-eye coordination. Not to mention, your new skill will also create amazing products that will be the perfect gifts throughout the year!
For those crafters, like myself, who want to be creative but may not have the patience for knitting or crocheting, trying to find new hobbies through traditional artistic outlets may be the best choice for you! Art has so many forms – painting, drawing, sculpting, pottery, etc. – so there’s no shortage of methods and types to try!
Not to mention, art has some amazing mental health benefits that can help relieve stress and reduce anxiety. Whatever form you choose to pursue your art, it can help you to feel more engaged and productive, and can even increase the happiness in your life through the release of dopamine (the natural chemical inside our bodies that make us feel happier).
And, much like with knitting, crocheting, and cross-stitching, the positive feeling we get from producing something amazing or cool can really help boost confidence and creates a sense of accomplishment. Art therapy is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety and is used by professionals and people everywhere to improve mental health problems.
If you’re more of a physical person and are looking for healthy, active new hobbies to start this year, maybe dance is the activity for you! There are so many great exercise routines and workouts that are amazing ways to reduce stress and anxiety, but dance is by far my favorite. Plus, the mental health benefits of dance are amazing ways to improve your mind alongside your body!
Dance is a form of exercise that you can do not only by yourself but also in a group, which means it can help improve social skills and makes it easy to bond with others. It’s also great for your confidence and self-esteem – even if you’re not as good as some of the other dancers in your class, practice can make a world of difference and you’ll definitely see your improvements from week to week.
Other positive side effects of dance include increased endorphins, reduced loneliness, and improved mood. What is there not to love about this amazing activity?
Coming from a family of librarians, it may seem a bit biased for me to introduce reading as one of the new hobbies you should consider if you’re looking to decrease stress in the new year. But, trust me when I say that it really does work! Reading is a great way to improve your mental health alongside challenging your critical thinking skills.
Reading – whether it be books, manga, or comics – is known to reduce stress and provide the reader with a mental escape when life can seem a bit exhausting or overwhelming. It also encourages more empathy and understanding for the people around us, improves creative thinking, and expands your communication skills.
So, if you’re looking for relaxing, yet thought-provoking hobbies to start this year, consider increasing the amount of reading you do each month. Maybe keep a list of all the books you’ve read with a review or rating system to help you learn what you like and what you don’t. It’ll not only be a great way to improve your mental health, but it will also give you more conversation topics to bring up at your next party or friendly dinner.
Whether you want to create music or simply listen to more artists and jam out more frequently, music is one of the top new hobbies I encourage everyone to consider when looking for ways to relieve stress. Music has some fantastic mental health benefits that will really help to improve your overall mood and encourage relaxation.
Studies have shown that music is great for lowering blood pressure and stress hormones, and it’s been found that people who listen to music after a stressful experience are able to calm down more quickly than people who don’t. Not only that, but music also helps elevate and improve your mood, ease depression, and even boost your immune system!
Personally, I have playlists for every emotion I may experience, and whenever I feel incredibly stressed or overwhelmed, I turn to songs that can almost immediately put me at ease and make me feel calm and happy. It’s done wonders for my overall mood and mental health, and I encourage everyone to consider listening to or creating music as a way to help improve their stress and anxiety throughout the year.
Do you know of other new hobbies that can help us reduce stress this year? Tell us in the comments!
About Draven Jackson
Draven is an avid writer and reader who enjoys sharing her opinions on movies, books, and music with the rest of the world. She will soon be working as a teacher in Japan and hopes to use her experience to connect with other teachers and students around the globe. Draven spends most of her time at home with her family, her dogs, and her ferret.
To see more, view all posts by Draven Jackson here.