By: Thamar Jones
Someone asked me the other day, “So what do you do besides work?”
“Well I like to…” And I drew a blank.
What do I do besides work? And that’s when I realized that I needed to get a hobby or two which is harder than ever with a pandemic, a curfew and limited funds. Sigh.
Outside of work, I enjoy going out with friends, cooking and entertaining inside my home, and some good quality reading but with the extreme Covid-19 protocols and restrictions most of my fun past times are no longer possible. So unfortunately, I spend a lot of my spare time watching TV. Not very fun! So I decided that it’s time to get serious about doing things that I enjoy, that spark joy and create happy memories. This is what I came up with:
Get adventurous: Explore Belize!
Schedule some fun and adventures into your weekends. Have you experienced the mystique of the Crystal Cave? The Rio Frio? The thrill of the ATM? The joy of cave-tubing, the rush of parasailing? Get on Facebook and search for affordable tours that you can book along with friends. There are numerous specials that you can take advantage of. Not to mention that going with a small group means you get to share the cost, which means that a low budget is no problem!
Even on a zero budget, you can still get active and take a walk around your neighborhood. Seek out local trails and reconnect with nature. If walking isn’t your speed, hop on a bike and bike around your city.
Get intellectual: Read!
Reading forces you to focus on something meaningful. It can serve as an escape, and can spark creativity or inspiration. If you’re reading nonfiction, you probably will learn something new. If you’re not the page-flipping type, try audiobooks. They’re like podcasts and you can take them anywhere and listen to them on a walk. You can also try borrowing them from the library.
Awaken your inner poet: Write!
You probably don’t think of writing as a hobby. You may already be well aware that keeping a journal can be good for the soul, and that writing down your thoughts can help you make sense of it. But beyond that, writing poetry, a rap song, a short story, or even a novel can be an amazing creative journey to undertake. All it takes is a pen and paper, or software like Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
Do you have a specific message you want to spread to the world? Blogging can be a great way to get it out there, and many free blogging sites are available on the internet.
Cooking and Baking
The thought of experimenting with different ingredients to make the perfect dish is exciting to me! The best part about cooking or baking is that so many recipes are available online you don’t need a cookbook at all. You can choose to follow recipes or adapt ones to make them your own. The price is whatever you pay for the ingredients. (Actually the best part about baking is the bragging rights and brownie points you get when your dish is a hit 😉
The thing I love about board games is that it can add layers of fun to your social events with friends. Most board games are timeless, so it’s just a matter of finding one everyone can enjoy.
Alternatively, many classic board games have online versions available free or for very little money that allows you to play with friends or family in other locations. This can be a great way to stay in touch with loved ones who live in other cities or states.
Some might not consider volunteering a hobby, but it’s certainly an activity people can enjoy in their spare time. It has a lot of benefits, too. You feel good when you’re able to give back, especially to a cause that matters to you. You also may get involved in a friendly community of volunteers and make new friends. Plus, you might be able to volunteer at a place where you’d love to work that’s specifically run by volunteers. It’s the next best thing to being employed there. On the other hand, volunteering at an organization also can help you develop new skills you can use to boost your resume.
This one is wide ranging. From up-cycling vintage clothes to DIY-ing cool home décor, painting, drawing- the possibilities are endless. And the best part is that you get a valuable personalized product out of it! You also take your hobby to the virtual world and design graphics on the computer. There are a number of programs available for free or for a small price.
You might not think of learning as a hobby, but the possibilities are endless here. You can choose to learn a new language or a new skill that you can put to use at work. Or maybe there is a topic specific to you that you’ve always wanted to research. None of this has to involve formal study; you can follow your own path at your own pace.
The pursuit of knowledge is a worthy one, and there are tons of free resources online and at local libraries that you can use to learn more.
Have you ever wanted to learn how to play the piano? Guitar? Violin? Just because band class is over doesn’t mean you can’t pick up an instrument and learn. You don’t need a private tutor, either, unless you learn better from having a mentor. Many tutorials for beginners are available online.
Instead, try and shop for an instrument or see if you can borrow one from a friend until you can decide how committed you are.
Exercising is a great hobby—and habit—to have. It will get you into better physical and mental shape than by sinking into the couch while snacking. You don’t need a gym membership, but if you choose to get one, many offer low-cost packages.
Get your own weights or learn how to do bodyweight exercises. Or do yoga—you just need a mat. Again, there are plenty of free workouts on YouTube, and your phone probably has a few free fitness apps as well.
If none of these hobbies speak to you, look to your friends and family for ideas. Do any of them have interesting hobbies you want to learn more about? Ask them about it, and they might help you bring down the cost by letting you borrow certain things or letting you partake in their hobbies with them.
By: Thamar Jones