Monday, 17 May 2021

5 Hobbies That are Good For your Mental Health

Mental health can be many things, often it is all about dealing with issues but there is the other side of it which is about being mentally healthy! Everyone is super busy, we are all stressed and life really isn’t that easy for many people and often we forget about good old fashioned hobbies and pass times. These things can seem small, indulgent and something “other” people do but getting into a hobby can really help you keep a healthy mind and even help deal with some of the mental health issues you may be struggling with. With hobbies its often about focusing on something so much that you have very little room in your head for day to day worries and issues. Whether the hobby is an intense one or something relaxing, it can still give you some mental space. It is also really positive to fall in love with a hobby and really get immersed in it. You can find it’s a great way to make new friends, often stay physically fit and doing something you like is really good for you!


OK, so for a lot of people this may initially seem like something they would not do but give it a chance. There are lots of different types of fishing from river fishing to sea fishing, you can go to a lake and fish for carp, or learn how to fly fish…or even sea fishing on a boat! Part of the appeal is the time outside and in nature. This can be brilliant for the brain. Spending a few hours on a quiet river bank can be a wonderful way to just be part of nature, but getting out onto a beach can really blow the cobwebs away. For a lot of the time you have to focus on the rod or float to see if you have caught anything, you then have the task of bringing whatever it is in. It really is something you can really fill your mind with and it is that kind of thing that’s great for mental health. You may also find it’s a much nicer way to eat fish because its far more sustainable. It is also a great family hobby that doesn’t cost a huge amount to get going. On the down side you may not like the idea of catching animals or tying knots so it isn’t for everyone. If you do fancy it there are lots of online tackle shops like Brighton Angling who can help you get the right set up to start you off and help with info about where to go.


This is another one that some people will be put off before even thinking about it properly. It is really important to say cycling does not automatically mean lycra and riding on roads. Nor does it automatically mean riding up or down mountains. Of course, some cycling does involves these things and it can be great fun. Mountain biking in the UK is huge and there are hundreds of facebook groups and clubs for beginners of all abilities and locations. Its an amazing way to be out in nature, get fit and focus on something other than day to day worries for a couple of hours. Road cycling does involve lycra but as with mountain biking, its often about group rides and can be very social. But cycling can also involve simply exploring your local area on two wheels. Jumping on a bike and heading to a nice café can be really rewarding and as you get more confident with it you can try going further. Bikes can also be taken on holidays in the UK and can really add some extra things to do. It is all about feeling the wind in your face and giving your mind some time off! Bikes can range in price from a few hundred pounds to a few thousand. It all depends on what you want to do with it but you should always wear a helmet so factor that into the cost. Shops like Evans offer lots of advice and have some good value starter bikes of all types.


Surfing has become massive over the last couple of years. Lockdown saw an enormous influx of new surfers of all genders and ages. It is a great way to get fit and there is simply nothing like it to clear the mind. There is no room to think about day to day things, it is all about the “now” and that is a very good thing for mental health. Don’t feel its all about huge waves and gnarly dudes either. These days there are some great foam boards you can ride small fun waves on and have a blast. There are plenty of places to get lessons, there is even an inland wave pool in Bristol where you can learn to stand up with no experience needed! Surfing, again, puts you into nature and it really can change your life. It is really important to respect the sea and take suitable precautions, go with other people, take some lessons and never go out unless you feel confident.


For something more sedate hiking/walking can be a fantastic hobby. The brilliant thing about it is baring any physical issues it is really open to everyone. The cost of walking is very low and you can do it from your front door in most cases. Of course, some good walking boots can help but there is nothing stopping you going for a good yomp in a pair of trainers. Urban walking can be great but nothing beats getting out into the countryside. The space and time can be great for mental health. It can be a solo hobby or one to share with others, it can be something to do as a family or, by joining a club, something that can lead to new friends. Walking can be something you expand into holidays and discovering amazing scenery, wildlife and more.


For those who are not so keen on the great outdoors art can be a wonderful hobby to improve mental health. Having any ability is almost not important, it is really about your own enjoyment and exploration. A lot of people find something project based like art can be excellent for their mental health. Painting, for example, can also be really expressive and a great way to deal with negative and positive thoughts. Art can help with anxiety and depression but it can also simply offer that elusive focus needed to give your mind a rest. Try painting, pastels, sketching or even sculpture there are lots of options. As a hobby you can join classes and make friends or just use YouTube to learn new skills, you may even just want to go your own way from the start and that is just fine! There are lots of online art shops where you can get everything you need!


Even if none of these hobbies appeal the concept of a hobby to support mental well being is an important one. Get out there and see if something floats your boat, it could be wild swimming, cross stitch, poetry, playing the bongos…there is a hobby or two for everyone!

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