If you are dealing with stress, it might help you to know that everyone else is, too. You are not alone! The good news is that there are plenty of ways that you can enjoy yourself and spend some time getting away from the things that stress you out. Check out this list of 10 hobbies that combat stress and see if any of them look appealing to you!
If you’re athletic, you know what it feels like when endorphins kick in after a good workout, game, practice. You don’t have to be on a sports team or invest in any expensive equipment to boost your level of feel-good hormones. Just get a pair of supportive running shoes and start jogging.
If you aren’t particularly athletic, start off slowly by walking first. You can stick to walking or begin introducing short spurts of jogging or running. One popular program is called Couch to 5K. Exercise of any kind can reduce stress levels, so if running is not your thing, consider tennis, dancing, ice skating, or whatever sounds appealing!
Yoga is an activity that is known to help combat stress. The great thing about yoga is that anyone can do it. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be athletic, you can go at your own pace and enjoy the increased flexibility, strength, and even heart health that goes along with this relaxing hobby. Join a class or follow along with videos you find online. Either way, yoga has a way of helping people feel more calm, so if you’re stressing out over homework assignments or your best friend is driving you nuts, see if a few yoga poses will help you de-stress.
3. Drawing or Painting
If you like art, you probably appreciate the way your troubles seem to melt away when you’re drawing, painting, or sculpting. Losing yourself in your creativity is a great way to relieve stress. Whether it’s experimenting with different media or pounding clay, indulging in artistic pleasures can distract you from your worries and might even help you see situations from another point of view. Let your creative juices flow and combat stress at the same time by creating something beautiful.
Writing down your worries can actually help you worry less. Part of the reason is that the act of writing allows your brain to relax, knowing that you won’t forget whatever it is that you’re worried about (as if that was a concern!). You can either keep your writing to look back on later or throw it away, symbolically letting go of your worries.
Another way to combat stress using journaling is to start a gratitude journal. By concentrating on what you’re thankful for each day, you will naturally begin to focus on the nice things in life as you go about your day. This can help you turn your attention away from situations that are making you feel stressed.
5. Doing Puzzles
Have you ever sat down to put together a 1,000-piece puzzle? It takes focus and concentration. It’s not hard work, but it does require some mental power as you look for the right colors and seek out the shapes that will match the spaces left in your unfinished piece. Putting together a jigsaw puzzle can relieve stress by giving you something to focus on while your brain works out your troubles.
Getting out in nature, soaking up the sun, breathing in the fresh air, and getting exercise, too? Hiking sounds like a great recipe for reducing stress for a few reasons. First, exercise is known for its stress-busting qualities. Secondly, getting some sun can increase your vitamin D and serotonin levels, which, in turn, reduces anxiety and can help you stay calm. Finally, just being in nature allows you to literally get away from your troubles and enjoy the scenery.
Cooking is a way to be creative that results in something delicious. If you like art, food, or doing things with your hands, cooking is a good way to relieve stress. Chopping vegetables, kneading dough, and watching raw ingredients transform into a meal or dessert gives you something to focus on. It involves all of the senses, and it can allow you to share your food with the people you love.
You might have liked to color when you were younger, but chances are good that you’ve given up the coloring books. There’s no reason for that! If the thought of coloring in pictures of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or My Little Pony doesn’t appeal, there are plenty of adult coloring books on the market. Look for mandalas, flowers, nature scenes, or anything else that looks interesting. Choosing a color, applying it, and looking at the finished product can be a relaxing way to spend a few free hours.
9. Spending Time With Your Pet
If you have a dog, cat, guinea pig, lizard, or any other pet, spending time with them can reduce your stress levels. Even watching a fish swim back and forth can be therapeutic. You can tell your pet your troubles and they will react without judgment. Whether your pet is snuggly, scaly, or covered in feathers, try spending some time with them and watch your stress melt away.
10. Knitting, Crocheting, or Quilting
Sometimes teens think of hobbies involving needlework as old-fashioned, but they’re actually a great way to combat stress. The repetitive movements don’t require much thinking once you get the hang of them, and it can be nice to watch a project come together. Ask an older member of your family such as a parent, grandparent, or aunt to teach you how to quilt, crochet, or knit. If you enjoy it, you might find that you are able to pass on your knowledge to the younger generation in the coming decades.
Choosing a hobby that helps combat stress is a great way to feel calmer and gain a new perspective on what’s bothering you. If simple lifestyle changes like exercising more or spending time on hobbies do not help your stress levels, talk to your parents or another trusted adult about seeking help. There’s no need to suffer from high stress levels, and a professional can help you reduce your stress and anxiety.
Paradigm Malibu is an adolescent mental health and drug treatment center dedicated to identifying, understanding and properly treating the core issues that impact teens and their families.