So you’re on the road of self-improvement – writing in a journal, meditating, and trying to be more conscious of your actions every day. But what about down time? Is there a way to keep improving yourself even through hobbies, while enjoying yourself? The answer for me is yes.
Here are some hobbies that I enjoy in my spare time that provide several benefits to both the body and mind that are also extremely enjoyable!
When I picked up my first 3x3x3 Rubik’s cube, I fumbled around with the thing and had NO idea how to solve it. After grinding through a beginner’s tutorial to get my first solve down, I was hooked. I started timing every solve, looking up algorithms and solutions to become faster, and it became an excellent hobby that stimulated my mind in ways it hadn’t been stimulated before. Taking up twisty puzzles like the 3×3 cube, 4×4, 5×5, and even 6×6 variants has a load of positive benefits:
- Improved memory for remembering solutions
- Developing reaction time and mental reflexes
- Hand/eye or hand/mind coordination developed from improving your solve times
- A meditation-like activity that is very relaxing and calming when you focus on it
- Here’s a guide on getting started with speed cubes
Playing an Instrument
My instrument of choice is the guitar – first starting out it’s difficult to get the hang of it, but once you get down some basic chords and are able to read tabs online you can get good quite quickly. Playing an instrument is a worthwhile hobby that allows you to develop a skill, improve your hand strength, coordination, and dexterity with both hands. You also work on your memory, and creative skills by remembering songs and also creating your own music which untaps a side of the brain often forgotten.
- The guitar is a common choice due to the correlation with modern music. Here’s a quick guide on how to start playing guitar.
Reading, obviously a very educational hobby that provides you with endless amounts of information on literally any topic. I find reading therapeutic and relaxing as once you’re into a good book be it fiction or not, you’re reliving that moment and very present with the words on the page. Through reading you can improve your vocabulary, knowledge, and also develop a great pre-bedtime hobby that’s very relaxing and puts me to sleep almost every night. My top tip to you is to read every evening before bed to give your eyes a rest from the screens and phones that plague our everyday life. Gain some knowledge, rest your eyes, and relax so you can have a restful night.
The previous three activities are mainly solo-hobbies so let’s go with a group hobby that has the added benefit of being social. Board games, and strategy board games in specific are a great way to develop your mind. Some games are extremely in-depth and have multiple strategies to employ so you can really develop your tactical self while playing – and also enjoy yourself of course! Some of my favorite games include Catan, Carcassone, Puerto Rico, and Chess. I put together this compilation of the best strategy board games that you can check out – I think strategy games are the most stimulating.
Another potentially group hobby, but is done in a social environment, is lifting weights. Out of every single hobby on this list lifting weights and exercising has by had the most positive influence on my life. Lifting weights releases testosterone in the body for males which is a large indicator for confidence. You can improve your physical condition, and appearance which are both extremely beneficial for leading a successful life. Working out is one of the most effective stress-management tools I have in my arsenal, and it’s a necessary activity for me almost every day to be effective in my daily life. You can even check out an interesting article here where resistance training is linked to improved mental health.
It’s not necessarily the easiest hobby to get into and dedicate yourself to, but once you do you’ll never look back. Dedicate a bit of time each day, or every other day to get into the gym and exercise your body and you’ll soon be hooked. Do adequate research to make sure you lift properly and safely, and make the most out of your time there whether you need to be gaining or losing weight – also make sure you eat right.
There you have five of my favorite hobbies that allow me to enjoy, and improve myself at the same time. Some are more social than others, and some are easier to get involved in – pick a few that seem appealing to you and give them a try! Maybe you’ll find your next favorite thing.
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.