Developing a hobby is fun, that’s the point, right? But, in our ever-busy lives our having a formal distraction has become an essential tool of self-preservation. It’s how we loosen up, seek out rest and relaxation.
So, put aside your e-mail and your mental to-do lists. We’ve put together a list of 10 fun, productive hobbies to try in the new year.
Urban gardening (think succulents, air plants, etc.) is all the rage right now. Pop by one of your local plant shops to learn more about caring for houseplants — and then buy some. There may even be a class you can take: The Vintage Garden in Boston and McCue Garden Center in Woburn often host all types of plant-based events.
Mix up your Duolingo routine by learning a new language from a native. Sites like italki allow you to video chat with native teachers in other countries. Plus, you can fit in classes whenever is best for your schedule.
If you need a little relaxation guidance, try a meditative yoga class at your local gym. Or, use an app like Headspace to practice guided meditation at home. Even a few minutes of clear minded stillness makes a huge difference.
Good for the environment and your wallet, upcycling is easier than ever with a never-ending supply of Pinterest and YouTube tutorials. Go big by refinishing that hand-me-down dresser that’s been sitting in the basement for years, or take things slow with easy clothing alterations.
Whether you want to streamline your Instagram, take portraits of your pets or capture natural beauty after a snowfall, photography offers you endless creative possibilities. Experiment with apps and editing on your own, or sign up for a local class. Boston Photography Workshops offers one-day workshops, classes and day trips, and New England School of Photography hosts extended sessions from studio lighting to developing in a darkroom.
Nothing brings perspective to a busy life like helping others. Running a charity race, spending a few hours with an afternoon school group or donating to a food bank can be easy ways to give back to your community and nourish your soul.
2020 is the year to get out of your comfort zone. Taking an improv, acting or stand-up class is not only fun, it can improve your confidence, public speaking skills and comfort in social situations. Improv Boston in Cambridge and CSz Boston in Roslindale both offer classes, or you could search online for a meetup near you.
Don’t let the winter weather keep you from trying a new sport. Rock climbing has exploded across the Northeast. Hone your skills now and by spring you can test out what you’ve learned at a local mountain. There are many, but one local climbing gym with three locations is MetroRock in Everett, Newburyport and Littleton.
Circuit theory is the new jewelry making. Take your tinkering to the next level at an electronics-making workshop. If you’re already a pro, a lot of organizations host open DIY electronic nights where you can build while meeting other enthusiasts. In Somerville, Artisans Asylum offers a Hands-on Basic Electronics session class, and Lowell Makes is a great resource.
Men have been doing it for years, but more and more women are finding this hobby interesting. The home-brewing process requires very few materials. You can find a ton of step-by-step guides for free online. Have fun, and experiment with new flavors if you’ve got the hang of it. Or, sign up for a local class or join a home-brew club like the Cape Cod Lager & Ale Makers.