What do you like to do for fun?
How many times have we been asked this question and how often has sleep, watch TV, or surf the net, become our immediate response? Is that really how we define “enjoyment” nowadays?
Other common replies include photography, gardening, and listening to music. They’re undoubtedly fun, help us pass the time, and give us something to do. But there’s more to hobbies than just flipping through channels, alternating websites, and catching up on sleep.
“In our leisure we reveal what kind of people we are.” –Ovid
Here are a few inexpensive yet creative hobbies you can indulge in while stimulating your brain and body.
1. BOARD GAMES, PUZZLES
As if life wasn’t already puzzling enough!
Board games are the most common brain stimulator among adults. You don’t even have to buy the physical sets to enjoy this pastime activity. You can find crossword and Sudoku puzzles in your daily newspaper, or download digital, free versions on your phones and gadgets.
Games like chess, Battleship, and Monopoly boost your strategy-making skills and bring out the child in you. You can also choose from word games like Scrabble, Pictionary and Taboo.
Although it’s more of a party game than a strategic one, there’s also the trending Cards Against Humanity for more mature audiences, where whoever has the most horrible, silly, or bizarre thought combination wins.
Playing board games is one method of instilling the value of fairness to kids at a young age. You may not realize it, but kids can be pretty good teachers too, not just opponents. Board games double as family bonding time and it’s one of the top creative hobbies for all ages.
“People are three times more likely to learn and retain knowledge through playing games.”
– Alvin Topfler
According to a study done by the University of Illinois, college students’ ability to quickly and accurately process information improved after just 20 minutes of doing yoga.
Ronald Duman Ph. D. from Yale University also adds that regular aerobic exercise can stimulate neurogenesis (new neuron growth) which is beneficial in battling chronic stress, anxiety and depression.
For those who are time restricted, making your routine walks to work or the bus stop brisker than usual can get your heart pumping faster without losing valuable time. In fact, this can even cut down your commute period.
Remember to take care of your feet by wearing the appropriate shoes for your physical activities as well. Who would’ve thought sweating it out did as much good to our bodies as it does our brains?
As Friedrich Nietzsche says, “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
3. DO-IT-YOURSELF (DIY) CRAFTS
Here’s one way to do the Earth some good.
You declutter, recycle and personalize at the same time, depending on your project of choice. Grew out of your favorite shirt? Cut out its patterns and designs then use it as a patch to cover up the hole in your backpack. With just a bit of cutting and knotting you can also upcycle it into a tote bag.
Not only do you revamp something old, you can also add personal touches to your projects to make it more “you”. Create a sense of ownership without indicating your name anywhere.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
– Maya Angelou
4. MUSIC CLASSES/PLAY AN INSTRUMENT
Aside from sports, this is another way to practice your hand-eye coordination. Reading notes while plucking on strings or pressing down on piano keys are harder than they look. Making your own music is the perfect outlet for releasing stress.
The researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital conclude that children and adults with extensive musical training show enhanced executive function when compared to non-musicians, especially for cognitive flexibility, working memory, and processing speed.
5. WRITING/KEEPING A JOURNAL/READING
Your writing doesn’t have to be made public. Just write. As you go on, you will develop and discover skills you didn’t even know you had. Imagine the amusement when you read back on your journal entries five to ten years from now.
Remember a time you read a book and DIDN’T learn something? I thought so. Whether it is a novel, a magazine or an article, reading will always teach you a trivia or two.
“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”
6. LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE
Apps in the mobile market like Duolingo make bilingualism an easy feat. There’s always the good ‘ol Google Translate for more specific word translations. You don’t necessarily have to travel to be able to use your newly acquired accent and Italian skills. It’ll come in handy when you come across tourists in your town. Being a flexible linguist makes you a great conversationalist as well.
Plus, how great would it feel to finally not utilize the subtitles feature of a foreign film? Two tongues, I mean thumbs, up!
“With languages, you can move from one social situation to another. With languages, you are at home anywhere.”
–Edmund de Waal
Handling a needle and thread or yarn requires total concentration. One wrong knot or loop and your “flow” is ruined. This will help you practice your precision skills, develop better focus and improve your attention span, especially if you’re a professional multi-tasker. It’s also a form of hand-eye coordination on a much smaller scale.
It’s a beautiful feeling, witnessing those little knots and threads finally come together to form one big picture. Endless possibilities are just waiting to be unraveled from a few balls of thread and yarn.
Sewing: A creative mess is better than tidy idleness.
– Author Unknown
We all need something to pour our energy into aside from our routine responsibilities. If you’re lucky, you might even manage to turn your pastime into a full-time profession.
Professional board game player, anyone?