When we’re kids, we’re often encouraged by our parents and peers to find hobbies that we enjoy, whether that’s a new sport, a fun outdoor activity, a favorite reading genre, or something else. However, as we enter into adulthood, we tend to fall off of the “hobby train” so to speak. Why is that when hobbies seem to make us so happy?
For many of us, we suffer from a lack of hobbies because our work takes up most of our lives. Money is the most critical object, of course, and so our desire to master a new sewing pattern or go fishing down by the river tends to fall by the wayside. Believe it or not, though, having several stress-reducing hobbies that we frequently enjoy does make us happier – and healthier!
Science even backs this up – people that participate in leisure activities that they enjoy feel stress less, weigh less, and even have lower blood sugar. They feel more accomplished and content with their lives, too. In a way, setting aside enough time for proper leisure activities makes us better workers when we do return to work.
If you find that you’re one of those people who has fallen behind with their hobbies in favor of working more, listen up! No need to be ashamed; this is something that nearly all of us fall victim to at some point in our lifetimes. Take some time to pick just one adult hobby back up that you’ve been neglecting over the past few years. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, try something brand-new. If you can try multiple hobbies, that’s even better!
If you can find the time to bring a few of your happiest hobbies back into your life, you might be surprised at how much better you begin to feel. In this guide, we’ll show you some examples of the best adult hobbies to try and the upsides and downsides of each. We’ll also explain how to go about finding new hobbies for yourself in your adult years.
The Great Outdoors
The great outdoors has a wealth of things to do that you can turn into hobbies. If you’re looking to spend some time in nature, you can start by just taking a walk on a nature trail or even down the street, or you can quickly get a bit more ambitious with camping, canoeing, or hunting. You could spend every day for the rest of your life out in nature and still never run out of things to do.
The only problem with outdoor hobbies is that they tend to be location-sensitive. Some people live in the city and don’t have many options for outdoor activities without needing to drive a great distance. While it’s still possible to entertain outdoor hobbies this way, it requires a little bit more dedication than someone who lives near nature trails and public parks.
While your favorite choice of outdoor activity may not always be close by, there are so many options that there’s sure to be something available where you live. If the one you want is too far away from you, consider other options like:
Cooking is a beautiful hobby to take up for yourself for multiple reasons. Health benefit is the most obvious reason; if you’re cooking for yourself consistently, you know the ingredients that are going into what you eat, so you can plan healthier meals as a result. The financial incentive is another, as preparing your meals tends to cost far less than buying prepared meals or fast food.
Cooking your own meals is an especially useful option for picky eaters, as they can substitute ingredients that they don’t like in recipes with ones that they do. By doing this, they can enjoy a wider variety of foods without having to worry about picking around ingredients or asking them to be left off. The same is true for food allergy sufferers, too.
Cooking offers a level of self-expression, too, though it is limited. This is especially true for baking, which frequently ventures into the realm of art instead of just confection. However, there is a bit of a skill wall to overcome, but surmounting this comes with time, patience, and practice.
Art and Coloring
Coloring is an adult hobby that has seen a resurgence in recent years because of its reflective properties. It’s not just for kids! Whether you prefer to make your own art or follow a guide, coloring is a profoundly therapeutic and stress-relieving activity. “Adult coloring books” have surged in popularity because of this.
Coloring or drawing can be done with many different media, too. While markers and colored pencils are the most common, paint-by-numbers is another relaxing coloring activity that has been around for years, and it’s just as accessible.
You don’t need to limit yourself to just coloring, either. Most forms of art are excellent ways to express yourself and release stress. The greatest thing about art is that your style of expression doesn’t need to mean anything to anyone else but yourself. In this way, art is a profoundly personal way to spend your time.
Not everyone likes to spend this much time deep in their thoughts and emotions. As such, art may not be the best full-time hobby for some people.
If you grow bored with coloring, there are plenty of alternative art options for you to try, too! Consider giving some of the following activities a go:
- 3D modeling
- Digital artwork
- Painting with different mediums
- Informing Yourself
While some people might not think of informing yourself as a hobby, per se, keeping yourself up-to-date on current events, discoveries, and trending issues is an excellent way to keep your mind sharp and relevant. When you keep yourself up-to-date, you can relate better to others, especially younger people.
Informing yourself and staying on top of current issues is also very good for your brain. Activities such as watching documentaries, reading online encyclopedia articles, and keeping up to date with the latest news are all great ways to arm yourself with information. If you’re a person who enjoys learning and growing as a person, devoting an hour or two per day to stay on top of current events is an excellent way to expand your horizons.
Creation is fundamentally similar to art, and in many places, the two categories can overlap. However, for this guide, we mean creation in a more literal sense. Think building things, changing things, and making something out of nothing.
Upcycling is a popular type of creation that’s been gaining a large following in recent years. Upcycling involves taking objects that would usually be thrown away and giving them a new purpose. Some examples of upcycling at work include:
- Turning cardboard tubes from paper towels and toilet paper into biodegradable plant starter pots
- Using fabric scraps to create clothing, quilts, or accessories
- Turning wood scraps or pallets into furniture
Your creations don’t need to start with something else, though. Writing, for example, turns your thoughts, ideas, and emotions into reality by putting them on paper. Pottery and chemistry both turn one material into another through careful manipulation. Very little else in this world satisfies us down to the soul the way that creation does.
Animal companions provide support for us when we’re feeling down or lonely, and they give us unfettered companionship that other humans can rarely match.
Pets, while more of a responsibility than a hobby, are excellent because they open us to so many other things. Dogs, for example, require regular exercise to be happy and healthy, and this forces us to go out and exercise with them, too. Horses provide a similar exercise outlet. Any pet will also help teach responsibility, which is especially valuable for growing children or immature adults.
However, owning animals is both a financial and emotional responsibility, and it should never be done on a whim. You should only adopt an animal if you intend to care for it for the duration of its natural life. If you’re looking for animal companionship but can’t afford its care or don’t want one for the long-term, Look into other options like smaller, shorter-lived companions, fostering, or volunteering at an animal shelter.
Music is an intriguing hobby because of the way it affects the brain. Scientific studies have shown that learning and playing music uniquely sharpen our brains, regardless of our age. The effects of listening to music on happiness and stress levels are well-documented, too. Anything to do with music, whether it’s creating it, playing it, or listening to it, is an excellent hobby to add to your repertoire.
Another side benefit of learning and playing music is the mental stimulation that comes with it. While learning anything new is great for your mind and body, the act of learning and playing music has unique preserving effects on the brain that can keep it healthy and active for longer. If you’ve never played an instrument, we highly recommend doing some research or starting some lessons to see if it’s something that interests you.
While travel is widely regarded as a rich man’s hobby, it doesn’t have to be if you do your research! If you’re a well-off adult with a healthy sense of wanderlust, an expensive, multi-month trip around the world might be an excellent thing for you to consider. However, if you don’t have that kind of money to spend, renting or borrowing an RV and traveling around your home country can be just as fun of an experience.
Any savvy traveler knows that every city, town, and landmark the world over has something unique to offer. Whether you’re interested in only the most significant bucket-list milestones or you’re looking for hidden, subtle gems, traveling can have amazing restorative and growth-promoting effects on your soul. If travel is your passion, you can even work towards landing a career that will let you travel, such as:
- Nature photography or filming
- Travel blogging
- Acting or dancing
- Any remote work
Learn a Skill
Learning a new skill is an excellent way to both supplement your existing knowledge and gain a new hobby! Learning and mastering new skills is an excellent way to keep your mind and body relevant. It doesn’t have to be a skill in something work-related, either, although this is a unique way to kill two birds with one stone.
An excellent way to get started with this is to choose something you’ve always been interested in. No further reasoning is necessary – as long as you have the interest, you should give it a try! There’s nothing that says you need to keep going with the new skill if you’re not a fan, so don’t be afraid to try new things on a whim.
Take archery, for example. Unless you’re also into bow hunting, archery is a skill that’s purely for fun – it doesn’t have much of an effect on your day-to-day life. However, the point of a hobby is not to find functional skills all the time; it’s to have fun in your off-time!
Take Some Risks
Some of us are natural-born risk takers and enjoy getting our adrenaline pumping regularly. Others of us, however, are not such fans of that feeling. While It’s okay to reject skydiving as your next hobby if that’s too intense for you, it’s still a good idea to try things that are a bit out of your comfort zone.
Doing things that make you uncomfortable or that get your blood pumping is an excellent way to spur your personal growth. When we try something that makes us uncomfortable and then come out successfully on the other side, it boosts our confidence and self-esteem, not to mention our skill in the activity in question.
If you’re not a fan of adrenaline-boosting activities, something as simple as joining a club or going to a public meet-up can be enough to push your boundaries. However, if you crave that adrenaline rush, you may have to get a bit more adventurous! In practice, both of these scenarios are helpful and respectable. The thing that matters is the act of pushing those boundaries and growing as a person because of it.
Finding Adult Hobbies
When we haven’t had the time to entertain hobbies for a while, we sometimes find ourselves lost when we start thinking about them again. Where do we begin? Sometimes we feel like we can’t get started with something if it’s not something that we began to learn as a kid. This is especially true for any lesson-based hobby, as no adult likes taking lessons alongside younger kids.
It’s important to realize that there’s no real barrier to us starting and enjoying new hobbies, though. If we let embarrassment and inability hold us back, we’ll never end up trying anything new or exciting!
With that being said, sometimes even when we’re comfortable trying new things, we don’t know where to start. Other times, we can’t seem to find anything that piques our interest enough to go for it. In the remainder of this guide, we’ll go over different tips and tricks that might help lead you to your next favorite hobby.
Revisit Past Hobbies
Often, things that we enjoyed doing when we were kids can carry over into our adult years. If you had a particular interest in drawing and coloring when you were a child, for example, you might want to think about revisiting that to see if it still holds your attention. The things we do as children shape who we grow into as adults, after all.
Sometimes, we just plain forget about the things we enjoyed doing when we were kids. Sometimes this happens because our memories have just faded with time, or other times it’s just because we eventually moved on to bigger things. Whatever the case may be, do your best to make an effort at remembering what it was you used to enjoy.
One thing you can try to help dredge up some of these memories is to look at pictures from your youth if you have access to them. Images are perfect for pulling up old memories that you might not otherwise have access to, and if you’re lucky, some might even depict you doing the hobby that you once enjoyed. While not every hobby we enjoyed as a kid will be suitable to bring into adulthood, it’s an excellent place to start.
Instead of looking to other people for inspiration about your adult hobbies, you can try looking inward instead. To do this, consider some of the things that you would like to improve about yourself. Do you wish you were a bit more confident? Perhaps you would be more comfortable if your math skills were a little better? While this seems counterintuitive, turning your weaknesses into hobbies instead of your strengths is an excellent strategy for self-improvement.
Think about this concept for a minute. While turning your strengths into hobbies will boost your self-esteem, your overall improvement is rather low since you started from a superior spot already. However, if you start from an inexperienced or inept place with your new hobby, you have so much more room for improvement! Not only do you have the opportunity to turn a weakness into a strength, but you’re improving yourself much more overall, too.
While it may feel embarrassing or downright humiliating to subject yourself to something you’re not good at, we encourage you to give it a try. The results are worth it in the end! If you’re having trouble getting started, think about weaknesses you might have in places like:
- Academics, such as math or English
- Physical coordination, such as sports or dance
- Personal growth, such as leadership and communication
- Self-limitations, such as procrastination and self-esteem
Before you begin any hobby, especially one that requires a commitment, you should be sure to do plenty of research into the subject. This includes things like the best techniques, if applicable, the best way to learn, and any clubs or teachers that might be able to assist you. Moreover, research will help you decide what level of dedication and involvement that the hobby requires.
You don’t want to decide on a new hobby just to find out down the line that it’s too much work for you. When you’re looking for a new adult hobby, you should already have an idea of what sort of involvement level you’re looking for, how difficult you want it to be, and how much it should cost. This will help you narrow down your list significantly, and it will help you avoid things you’re not ready for, too.
Consider two clubs that you might join, such as a knitting club and a club sports team. While the knitting club doesn’t require much in the way of dedication or involvement, the others on your sports team depend on you to help them play and win. You would likely be expected to show up to games and do well. A knitting club, on the other hand, is far more low-key and doesn’t work through competitions.
If you’re lucky, you may be able to research a specific club before you join if it’s big enough, but if not, investigate the activity as much as you can instead. Doing so will likely save time and effort down the road, not to mention pain if you end up not liking it after all.
Check Your Bucket List
When you’re looking for a new hobby to try, it’s always a good idea to check your bucket list first! What things have you always wanted to try, but never felt like you had the time or inclination to do so? Now, while you’re searching for a new hobby, is the right time to cross one or two things off of the list.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you could even turn your bucket list itself into a hobby. Why not try crossing off things on your bucket list every so often? How successful this might be, depends on the length of your bucket list, but it’s an idea!
If you’re not inclined to turn bucket-listing into a hobby, start with just one thing instead. Bucket lists are excellent tools to inspire ourselves to work harder and try new things, and even if the things we try don’t end up being our favorite activities, it at least enables us to cross them off the list. If we try enough things, we’ll eventually stumble upon a winner!
While researching on your own can gain you some good results, it can sometimes be even more helpful to ask other people directly about their hobbies. Asking friends, family, or even acquaintances about their hobbies, how they got into them, and how they’ve affected their lives is an excellent way to inspire yourself to do the same.
One of the issues with searching for adult hobbies on our own is that we sometimes don’t know what to look for. We can do all the internet research that we want, but sometimes we end up looking in the wrong places. By introducing an unpredictable human element to this research, we end up exposed to possibilities that we may never have even considered before.
Think about someone you know who you admire. Do they seem fulfilled in their everyday life? If so, try asking them what they do in their free time and what their favorite hobbies are. You might end up surprised by what you hear!
Follow Your Interests
If you already enjoy doing something, the chances are that you can expand upon that level of interest and turn it into a hobby! There are a lot of things we do or love every day as adults that don’t entirely fall into the realm of “hobbies,” but that could still make it there with just a little push. These examples help make this relationship clearer:
- If you love to watch sports, consider joining a sports team
- If you like to cook, consider taking cooking classes (or teaching them!)
- If you love animals, consider volunteering at an animal shelter
- If you love sweets, consider learning how to bake
- If you love fresh fruits and vegetables, consider planting a fruit or vegetable garden
While it’s always good to branch out and try new things, starting with your established interests is an excellent way to get the ball rolling, especially if you’re feeling a bit low on confidence. Additionally, starting with something your interested in is a unique way to build new connections and spark interests in new things.
Since you’ll most likely be meeting new people and experiencing new situations along the way, you’ll end up exposed to things that you might have never considered before. Making new friends is an excellent way to do this! If your activity is on the solitary side, like gardening or baking, we encourage you to join a club or a group that shares that passion with you. This way, you can meet like-minded people while expanding your horizons at the same time.