1. Upcycle everything you own.
Crafting can be hella theraputic, and upcycling means turning the trash that’s sitting in your house into treasure. Once you successfully upcycle one thing you own, you’re bound to want to continue with everything in your possession.
To get started, look through your house for items for which you have no current use. Instead of tossing them, look through this list of 33 Impossibly Cute DIYs You Can Make With Things In Your Recycling Bin to find a potential project.
2. Make cooking fun for yourself.
It’s simple math: The more you enjoy cooking, the better your food will be.
To get started, try simple services that make it less work for you. Blue Apron delivers fresh ingredients and recipes for the meals of your choice to your home, and you can choose how many people you’ll be cooking for (2-person or family-size meals). Or if you know the kind of dish you want to make, Epicurious will give you an instant list of recipes to choose from, complete with ratings and nutritional info.
For online resources that can teach you how to cook, LetsFeast.com is a platform aimed toward teaching even the worst cooks what to do in the kitchen in 30 days.
3. Paint something beautiful.
Paint a mug. Paint a canvas. Paint anything. The best part? You can make painting a big, messy, daylong event, or you can paint small details while you listen to music. It’s downright theraputic.
To get started, familiarize yourself with Dick Blick’s brush chart and find the brushes you want to work with based on the kind of painting you want to do. Acrylic paints are ideal for beginners because they dry fast and can be used either straight from the tube or thinned out with water. Then grab the canvas size of your choice.
4. Or bust out an adult coloring book.
If you want to get ~artistic~ but need a bit of help with the actual art, restore your faith in coloring books. The outlines are done for you, which means you just have to focus on creating colorful beauty.
To get started, look into coloring books for adults, like Secret Garden, the book (above) from Johanna Basford. You always have the option to revert to childhood with action-hero books, but venturing into the adult coloring book realm means more intricate pages that will keep you busy for hours. If you’re a marker person, take a look at this Pentel set of 36 colors. For a colored pencil vibe, opt for the Crayola Twistable colored pencils, which don’t require sharpening.
5. Get into podcasts.
There’s a podcast for everyone. You can learn a foreign language, sit in on interviews with your favorite comedians, listen to captivating radio shows, and basically anything else you can think of doing with your ears.
To get started listening to podcasts on your phone, download the (free) Podcast app then search for topics or people you’re interested in hearing more about. If you love Louis C.K., listen to his interview with Marc Maron. To learn Spanish on your commute to work, listen to Discover Spanish. You can download podcasts directly to your phone so that you won’t need Wi-Fi (or data) while you’re listening.
For online resources, take a look at some of the most popular podcasts, like Another Round and Internet Explorer (from BuzzFeed), or Invisibilia, which usually suggests similar podcasts during the show.
6. Become a documentary buff.
Chances are if you have an interest in just about anything from religion to true crime to women in the media (and anything in between), there’s a documentary on the subject. Once you start watching solid, compelling stories, your interests will expand and you’ll become more curious about the world around you.
To get started, figure out what it is you’re interested in, and search for a documentary on the topic using the Categories section on TopDocumentaryFilms.com, where you can stream all of the documentaries for free. Or take a look on Reddit to search for the best documentaries recommended by users.
For more online resources, head to the Documentaries section on Netflix. For recommendations on which ones are worth watching, read 25 Documentaries That Will Make You Cry Uncontrollably, or 13 Chilling True Crime Documentaries To Keep You Up At Night, or 13 Wonderfully Weird Streaming Documentaries To Watch ASAP.
7. Start a club with your friends.
Whether it’s a book club, a writing club, or anything else, getting a group of friends together regularly for something besides brunch can be ridiculously fun.
To get started, talk to a few of your friends and get a sense of what everyone would be interested in. Once you’ve decided an activity, decide on the frequency of meetings and block out your time.
For online resources take a look at Doodle, a program that simplifies scheduling problems for groups of people, to find meeting times that work with everyone. Look through 14 Nonfiction Books Your Book Club Needs To Read Right Now for book suggestions. Here are a few tips for leading a book club discussion. Or, if you’re more interested in a writing club, read 21 Creative Writing Prompts That Will Unleash Your Creativity.
8. Take up hiking.
Hiking with friends (or solo) doesn’t have to mean that you’re a mountain climber. Tackle local parks that have hiking trails with your desired exertion level, or look into more challenging paths to make a day of it. Either way, you’ll get some quality time with friends (and yourself!) and your body — and mind — will thank you.
To get started, get yourself a well-fitting, sturdy pair of sneakers or hiking shoes, depending on how involved you want to be. REI has an in-depth breakdown of the best kinds of shoes for each trail. Next, look for hiking trails or parks in your area and grab a couple of friends.
For online resources, go to Backpacker.com, which gives tips for all kinds of hikers from what to wear to when you should start a hike. For group trips that you can join, explore Discover Outdoors, a group of professional outdoor guides who lead both day and multi-day adventures.
9. Try your hand at calligraphy.
There’s a deep satisfaction that comes from being able to scrawl incredibly beautiful lettering. Plus, it can come in handy when you’re sending out invitations, cards, or letters.
To get started, you’ll need a nib (the pointed metal piece of the utensil), a straight pen, black ink, some tracing paper, a practice grid, and any other kind of paper you want to practice with before you move on to heavier cardstock.
For online resources, read through Julie Blanner’s “How To Learn Calligraphy” blog series or take an introductory calligraphy class through Skillshare. Then, follow @Seblester on Instagram for inspiring calligraphy videos.
10. Start taking photos with a real camera.
iPhone pictures with an Instagram filter can only take you so far. Getting into digital photography will give you a project to dive into, and if you get really good at it, you can use your new skill for extra cash on the side.
To get started, find a digital camera you’re comfortable with. (The Sony NEX-5R is an excellent digital camera for beginners.) Once you’re comfortable with your first camera, you can graduate to different, separate lenses that can be attached for higher-quality photos. Sign up for a photography class in your area or online to get a handle on the basics. Then, choose one kind of environment to start photographing — lighting outdoors will be different than lighting indoors — and begin learning firsthand.
11. Embroider everything.
Embroidery is surprisingly meditative. Bonus: Once you know what you’re doing, you can stitch while you’re watching Netflix (or whatever it is that you watch).
For online resources, watch tutorial videos from YouTuber TLCInspirations (like this hand embroidery for beginners video). Craftsy.com is a huge resource for learning stitches, shopping for patterns, and classes for more advanced techniques.
12. Become a Wikipedia editor.
History buffs, grammar gurus and people who have vast knowledge in niche areas are just the kinds of people who are ideal for editing Wikipedia. Anyone on the Internet can become a Wikipedia editor. The best part? You don’t need to register. Any person can edit any unprotected page, no matter how big or small of an edit they make. By editing the site, you’ll be contributing to making Wikipedia what it is.
To get started, take a look at Wikipedia’s Help:Editing page. There, you’ll find guidelines on how to make edits, the kind of tone to use, adding references, and more. Once you comb through Wikipedia pages you’re interested in and you want to make edits, you can submit edit requests and get to fixing!
For more online resources, read Wikipedia’s guide on editing for the first time.
13. Channel inner peace with meditation.
Meditation is shown to improve concentration, will power, and will boost your immune system. Plus, it can decrease stress, depression, and anxiety, among other things. Basically, it’s an excellent hobby to adopt for anyone who needs a little zen.
To get started set aside time for yourself to meditate. No amount of time is too small, so don’t get overwhelmed by thinking that you need to devote an hour a day to meditation. Next, get into a calming environment to quiet your mind. You can be on a park bench, or on the beach, or on your couch. Just make sure you’re somewhere where you feel at peace. Start small with a short, guided meditation, like this 2-minute video of Deepak Chopra’s method.
For online resources read through Here’s Why You Should Learn To Practice Mindfulness. Get the podcast Hay House Meditations for audio guided meditations specifically targeted towards helping you to fall asleep, focus on peace, and more.
14. Join a community sports league.
As an adult, it can be difficult to get all of your friends together for weekly ball games. But when you join a community sports league you’ll get the thrill of playing without worrying about not having enough people for a whole game. Pick a sport you love playing for fun, and find your local league. Bonus: You’ll meet a bunch of new potential friends.
To get started, decide which sport you want to play on a regular basis. Then look at the community sports leagues in your area to find the right fit for you. If you’re intimidated by joining a league alone, ask a friend to join with you.
15. Send physical letters to people.
Receiving a physical piece of mail that’s handwritten is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Start by sending letters to your family and friends. Then, branch out and send postcards to strangers who may need a boost: prison inmates, military personnel, or senior citizens in nursing homes.
To get started, grab stamps from your local post office, grocery store, or on Amazon.com then get some postcards or stationery. Make a list of who you’d like to write.
For online resources look through this list of nursing home addresses. Go to WriteAPrisoner.com for a complete guide on how to write letters to inmates. To send letters to military personnel, go to AMillionThanks.org.
16. Become a gamer.
Go old school with chess, get deep into the world of online gaming, or invest in a gaming system. Added bonus: Studies have shown that casual gaming leads to reduced stress.
To get started, focus on one specific game that interests you and learn the rules. Play chess against a computer online at SparkChess.com (this way, you don’t need to rely on a friend to learn the game too). Check out the iTunes Popular chart for games you can play right on your smartphone.
For more online resources, go to the Subreddit /r/gaming for user recommendations on online games.
17. Learn to DJ.
DJs do a lot more than press “play.” Learning to DJ will give you the basics of scratching, mixing, and spinning music. Even if you’re not planning on making it a professional gig, you’ll get a handle on how to DJ all of your parties.
To get started, learn the basics with this guide from Passionate DJ. Then, look into Scratch DJ Academy, which has DJ locations in major cities across America. Download Virtual DJ, a free program that allows you to digitally DJ with any music on your computer.
For online resources check out DJCoursesOnline.com for, you guessed it, DJ courses you can take online!
Now that you’ve got a hobby, here’s how to dive in:
Enroll in online classes.
Learning a new language or skill on your own can be daunting. Before you get in over your head, look into taking a free class online. If you have a larger goal in mind, enroll in credited classes to work toward a certification or degree. The options are endless!
To get started, take a look at Skillshare, which is a platform for learning for creators. Take classes in anything from DIY crafts to drawing faces to writing personal essays. For smaller online lessons you may be interested in, search YouTube for tutorials.
For online resources in intellectual classes, head to edX.org, where you’ll be able to take free online courses from the world’s best universities. If you’re interested in learning a language, look into the DuoLingo app that doles out small, challenge-based language lessons on your phone or computer.
Or sign up for a class IRL.
Depending on what you’re interested in, you may want to sign up for one mega session, or you can choose to enroll in a program with weekly classes. Either way, getting yourself to a physical class is an excellent way to tackle your new hobby head on.
To get started, check out Course Horse, a site that curates learning opportunities and classes in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Even if you’re not in one of these major cities, sifting through the class offerings will give you an idea of all of the different kinds of options out there. Then, search for a class about your interest in your area.
For more online resources, go to Groupon and look through the Things To Do section for your area to get a deal on a class.
Give yourself weekly challenges.
It’s kind of like making a New Year’s resolution, but it’s much smaller and you only have to push through for 7 days, not 365. If you’ve decided on a goal-based hobby like learning a new skill, break down your goals into digestible pieces throughout the week (or month if that better fits your schedule).
To get started, make a blank, week-long calendar for yourself. Decide what you want to accomplish by the end of the week, and fill in each box with a daily goal and a reasonable amount of time you’d like to spend on the task. Put the calendar somewhere you’ll have to see it on a daily basis, like your bedside table, so you’ll have a blatant reminder to keep the challenge going.
For online resources, check out Pinterest for free, printable weekly calendars. To get an idea of the kinds of challenges you can start, take a look at BuzzFeed’s Spring Cleaning Challenge or BuzzFeed’s Better Skin Challenge.
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