What do you do when you’re bored around the house? Taking up a new hobby is an excellent way to stave off cabin fever and build useful new skills. It can transform a day spent at home and help break up your usual routine. So, where should you start?
How to choose your hobby
The perfect at-home hobby is something that interests you and that you can do regularly. It might be a relaxing activity to take your mind off a stressful day or something to keep your mind and body active. Either way, it’s a learning curve.
Whether or not you believe in beginner’s luck, most hobbies take time and patience. That’s why we’ve included handy hints and useful resources below to help you get started. And, of course, if you start a hobby you don’t enjoy, there’s no reason you can’t simply try something else instead!
1. Grow your own fruit or vegetables
Although gardening seems like a summer-based activity, there are things you can do to get your garden or vegetable patch in tip-top condition at almost any time of year. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has an interactive list of tasks to do each month, helping beginner vegetable growers to get the most out of their plot.
For example, in January you can plant bare-root fruit and nut trees/bushes, while September is the perfect time to plant garlic cloves. The RHS website also has an A-Z list of fruit and vegetable types with advice on how to grow each.
When deciding which plants are right for you, Gardener’s World’s beginner advice recommends only growing what you have space for. They suggest using window boxes, pots, and bags if you're short on garden space.
2. Wildlife gardening
Gardening doesn’t have to be about perfectly shaped hedges and giant home-grown vegetables. Wildlife gardening can transform a garden into an urban oasis for little visitors.
The idea behind wildlife gardening is to create good habitats in your garden, encouraging refuge and pollination. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) says there are three main characteristics of a good wildlife garden:
- Natural feeding opportunities
This doesn’t just mean incorporating bird feeders but also plants that naturally provide sustenance. For example, bees and butterflies need nectar-rich plants, while small birds enjoy feeding on seeds from sunflowers.
- Places to shelter
Your new wildlife neighbours will need safe places to hide away. You might have bushes that provide day-time shelter to small birds or log piles that mimic fallen trees for insects.
- Areas to breed and rear young
In order to be appealing, your garden should have areas for wildlife families. A small pond is ideal for frogs, newts, and dragonflies.
If you've spotted a certain animal nearby and want to make it feel more at home, the RSPB can help. Their website has dedicated pages for specific species, including how to attract new wildlife.
Are your shelves stocked with well-worn pages or pristine, never-been-opened covers? Either way, it’s never a bad time to find the joy of reading. Reading as a hobby can provide escapism, help you make sense of the world, or just provide a very entertaining story. So, what’s the best way to get into it?
E-books vs print books
E-books rose in popularity during the 2010s, creating controversy. Would the paper book die out? How would readers fare without the distinctive smell of a new book? But, the hype seems to have died down somewhat in recent years; everyone has already taken a side.
If you haven’t tried an e-book, you might find that the approach makes reading more convenient. You don’t have to leave the house to buy a book, in fact you can choose, pay, download, and start reading within minutes. It’s also a good alternative for people who prefer larger font; you can usually choose how big you need text to be.
E-books are an obvious space saver, too. There’s the added bonus for people who like to look up words as they read, the inbuilt dictionary will take care of that. Can’t get into the first few chapters? You might even be able to give the book back for a digital refund.
But, some people still prefer to hold a book and physically turn each page as the story unfolds. Either way, you can find new book recommendations from our books articles.
4. Listening to music
Listening to music is a somewhat unique hobby, in that you can do it in isolation or play it in the background. You can spend time on music blogs and 'best of' lists, find out more about your favourite bands, and engage with others who like similar genres. Or, you can simply hit play to fill your house with music as you go about your daily tasks.
If you find yourself stuck for what to listen to, curating and finding playlists is an engaging way to discover new music. For example, you could search for playlists based on mood or genre on your favourite streaming service. Some platforms even learn what you like and create dedicated playlists just for you.
If you’d prefer to create your own playlists, Spotify has a great function that can help. There is a “fans also like” tab on each artist page. This lets you discover what other music fans listen to alongside that band. You can browse similar artists and create a playlist with new music that suits your tastes.
We recently launched our very own Spotify playlist, have a listen here.
Every hobby has its upsides in terms of building skills and alleviating boredom. But, researchers have found that taking up a hobby has wider mental and physical benefits, too. To find out more, have a look at our hobbies section. We also regularly publish ideas for home and garden improvements and new recipe ideas.