It’s easy to start to feel a little cooped up or even anxious as we all adjust to our temporary “new normal” at home. There’s a lot of uncertainty right now, and many people are feeling some extra stress. Fortunately, there are lots of relaxing and rejuvenating hobbies that people of all ages can use to step away and decompress when cabin fever starts to settle in.
Looking for some calming hobbies you can pick up at home? Here are a few soothing ideas to start working into your routine:
Mindfulness meditation is well-regarded for its ability to help reduce stress, control anxiety, and promote emotional health. All it takes is a few minutes per day and a quiet environment to get started. Curious about how you can start working meditation into your daily schedule? Here are a few handy resources to check out:
- Mindful has a “How to Meditate” guide for beginners
- MindWorks offers “Five Meditation Techniques for Beginners”
- Apps like Calm, Headspace, and Insight Timer offer courses, resources, guided sessions, and more, right from your smartphone
2.) Yoga and Stretching
For centuries, people around the world have turned to stretching and breathing exercises, including yoga and pilates, as a way to reduce stress. Whether you’re an experienced yogi or just getting started, there are lots of virtual resources out there that can help make it easy to let loose in no time:
- Health.com presents “15 Stretches You Should Do Every Day”
- Real Simple offers “6 Stretching Exercises to Help Your Whole Body Loosen Up”
- Check out the “Yoga for Everyone” guide from the New York Times
- Chicago Magazine has a list of local resources on “How to Sweat, Stretch, and Breathe During Social Isolation”
3.) Knitting, Crochet, and Needlepoint
When you’re feeling stressed, taking up a repetitive, tactile activity like knitting, needlepoint, or crochet can help clear your mind and narrow your focus. As a bonus, you may end up with a cute scarf or a beautiful new blanket after a few days. Ready to try your hand at these classic pastimes? Here are a few resources for getting started:
- Good Housekeeping has a guide to “15 Stress-Reducing Activities You Can Do at Home, According to Experts”
- The Spruce offers “9 Beginner Needlepoint Basics to Get You Started” and a list of “Essential Tools for Beginning Knitters”
4.) Puzzles and Brain Games
Oftentimes, feeling stressed puts our brains into “problem solving” mode. One way to distract yourself and direct your energy may be to take on a project that will keep you engaged — like completing a jigsaw puzzle or working on brainteasers, such as word searches, crossword puzzles, or sudoku.
You can order books of puzzles from your local bookstore, or find many free options online.
It’s hard to overstate the benefits of busting a move. Dancing is a proven way to reduce stress and give your mood a lift. It’s also a great form of exercise that engages your whole body, which the entire family can enjoy together. Need some more inspiration to start dancing around the house?
- Dance Magazine has a guide to getting training online
- Dancing Alone Together shares at-home classes and dance events from teachers here in Chicagoland and around the country
- CNN lists “5 reasons why dancing is good for your health”
Getting your hands dirty can help seriously improve your mood. Studies have shown that working with plants and spending time in nature can have significant benefits for your health and well-being over time — whether you’re filling up planters on your back patio, or adding a vegetable patch to your front yard. Here are a few easy ways to give your green thumb a leg up:
- Check out our guides to growing your indoor garden, giving your vegetable garden a hand, and tackling fun outdoor projects
- Lifehacker names “Top 10 Ways to Bring a Garden into Your Small Space”
- “What to plant in Chicago for a thriving garden this spring,” from Curbed Chicago
7.) Coloring and Painting
Want to get in touch with your creative side? Find a few minutes each day to devote to your attention to an artistic pursuit. Coloring, painting, and sketching can all be a great way to relax and unwind. Looking for some resources or ideas to get started?
- You can order coloring books from your favorite local bookstores or craft stores, or find downloadable books from Curbed, the Chicago Reader, and other great resources
- The Spruce has a handy list of “Easy Things to Paint for Beginner Artists”
- USA Today presents “15 popular arts-and-crafts kits adults will love”
Baking is a scientific process that involves lots of measuring and careful time management, as well as physical actions like kneading or rolling. It’s a great way to shift your focus for an afternoon or evening, helping you to get your mind off things and relax — while also leaving you with a tasty treat or two to enjoy.
- On HuffPost, psychologists explain “The Benefits Of Baking For Other People”
- Taste of Home shares “100 Recipes to Help You Relax and De-stress”
- Food & Wine presents “15 Recipes Every Beginner Baker Should Master”
- Olive Magazine lists “34 easy baking recipes ready in under an hour”
9.) Writing and Journaling
Journaling has been shown to help with stress relief, and is a popular treatment for helping to manage anxiety and depression in people of all ages. Taking a few minutes to write down your thoughts can give you clarity and perspective. Plus, you can be as creative as you want — so feel free to dabble in poetry or short stories when you feel inspired! Ready to turn over a new page and fold writing into your daily routine? Here are a few resources that can help:
- The Muse presents 8 ways to “Actually Start Journaling”
- SELF explores “How to Start a Journaling Practice That Can Help You”
- U.S. News & World Report explains “The Health Benefits of Expressive Writing”
Crafting can be a soothing way to feel productive, and make use of things you already have around the house — whether you have a shelf full of construction paper, a camera that’s been begging to be put to good use, or even old household supplies and packaging hanging out in the garage. Get creative, work with your family, and see what incredible projects you can create together! Looking for a few ideas to get started?
- Check out our blog post, “10 Creative Projects for the Whole Family”
- POPSUGAR lists “14 Indoor Art Projects That Are Super Easy to Pull Off”
- Country Living shares “100+ Craft & DIY Projects” to try at home
- House Beautiful counts down “27 Easy, Impactful DIYs for When You’re Stuck at Home”
How Are You Making the Most of Your Time at Home?
This is the time to remember what’s truly important — health, family, and the bonds that tie us together. Whether it’s now serving as a school, office, playground, or simply a safe space, our home has never been more important. We know this is as well as anyone. At Baird & Warner, Chicagoland has been our home since 1855.
We understand that you still have important real estate decisions to make, and our mission is to make achieving those goals easier. At Baird & Warner, our agents are hyperlocal experts who are committed to using every resource available to help you get where you’d like to be. We’re adapting and innovating to help find new, safe ways for buyers and sellers to move forward with their real estate plans — while making the process easier, at every step of the way.