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5 in 5: Stress-beating hobbies

You’ve had a rough week at work. Your unit was extra short-staffed, your patient load was to the max, and you got guilted into an overtime shift. You’re exhausted and can’t wait to get home. All you want to do is pour yourself a glass of wine and catch up on your favorite shows that are beckoning you from your DVR.

Put down your remote. (Just for a minute, I swear.)

There’s something else you can try that will relax you without numbing you. It’s an old-fashioned idea that’s gotten lost in an age of technology and “Dancing With the Stars.” It’s called a hobby.

Leisure activities fall into two categories: Those that require some structure, engagement and result in the acquisition of new skills or knowledge, and those that provide pleasure without demanding too much energy or brain power.

These five hobbies fit into one or both of these leisure categories. Give one a try and feel the stress evaporate.

1) Knitting

Knit one, pearl two. Knitting has enjoyed a renaissance in the last decade. It’s no longer just something your grandmother once did in a rocking chair. Knitting can be learned solo or in a class setting. And likewise, the act of knitting can be a pleasurable solitary activity or a group chat session.

2) Jewelry Making

I wrote a post about making lanyards a few months back. I was delighted to find what a soothing activity it was. Jewelry making is inexpensive and easy to get started. The rhythmic stringing of beads can put you in a trance.

3) Drumming

Recreational drumming has shown promise as a therapeutic tool that can improve stress and promote a sense of well-being. This study suggests that the steady rhythm of shamanic drumming activates the same area of the brain associated with visualization and altered state of consciousness. See if you can find a drum circle near you. Or check out a drum audio to transport you to another world.

4) Mandala coloring

Coloring books aren’t just for kids. Research shows that coloring mandalas, or circles with complex geometric designs within its borders, can reduce anxiety in individuals. The authors posit that coloring mandalas can induce a meditative-like state. You can find unlimited mandala designs in Google Images. Choose one (or five), print, and color away.

5) Birdwatching

Get back to nature in your own backyard. Just being connected to the outdoors is beneficial for your overall well-being, and bird-watching is a great way to do that. Birding doesn’t require much; some binoculars, maybe a bird feeder or bird bath. All you need to do is watch and listen to the drama unfold. Find a bird guide relevant to your area so that you can refer to it whenever you see a new species.

By | 2020-04-06T11:03:07-04:00 May 30th, 2013|Categories: Archived|9 Comments

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