8 therapeutic and fun hobbies to reduce stress

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Life can get really tough. Sometimes you need a hobby that will help you to relax completely. Here are some you can try that are fun (and surprisingly trendy)

Our lives can get really hectic and buy. Sometimes it gets really hard to find time to completely switch off relax. If you’re struggling to find some peace, try out these gadget-free and therapeutic activities which are sure to help you reduce stress.

1. Knitting or sewing

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Knitting and sewing may seem like skills your grandmother knows. But the “yarn arts” have become very trendy lately, with crocheted and knitted clothes popping up all over fashion runways.

Celebrities who proudly show off their knitting and sewing projects include singer Demi Lovato, actress Sarah Jessica Parker and actor Russell Crowe!

It’s because there are actually a whole host of benefits that come along with knitting and sewing. For one, these hobbies train your brain to be more creative.

Other than that, the repetitive movement of the knitting or sewing needles helps you to relieve stress and to enter into a calm state. Plus, you can make some great fashion gifts for yourself or your loved ones!

2. Walking

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Going on walks or hikes can be an incredibly beneficial hobby. Not only does it increase your fitness levels but it also allows you to get out of the house and into some fresh air.

This is especially great if you spend most of your day at home or in an office. Simply find a park or walking trail and get moving! You can find maps to all the walking and cycling parks around Singapore at NParks.

3. Colouring

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Colouring may seem like an activity reserved solely for younger children, but with the new wave of adult colouring books, more and more adults are starting to see the benefits of it, regardless of age.

Colouring in has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety levels. This is because your brain enters a meditative state and experiences relief from that. Colouring in is also great because it forces you to put down your electronics and be truly present in the moment.

ALSO READ: Down time - should you use it for mindless or mindful things?

4. Gardening or caring for potted plants

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Most people think gardening is all about getting dirty and sweaty in the hot sun. Thankfully though, gardening isn’t all about back-breaking work. If you are new to growing plants, you can start with succulents or plants such as a Money plant or Boston ferns. These plants are hardy and don’t usually require much sun or attention for them to thrive in Singapore.

Of course, if you do decide to engage in more complex gardening, you will be benefiting from the sun and fresh air which will help you appreciate your surroundings more and calm your mind.

If you want to start a Community Garden from scratch, you can approach your Residents’ Committee or ask your Neighbourhood Committee for permission to cultivate a roadside garden or to start your garden in your neighbourhood. Click here to get a more detailed guide to the process.

5. Journaling

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Journalling has been proven to be a great stress reliever and can positively impact your mental health when done regularly. Incorporating a daily writing routine also sharpens your communication skills and helps you to learn more about yourself.

6. Baking

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Baking is a great hobby to help you relax especially over the weekend when you have more time. There are some very simple recipes that you can follow if you aren’t an experienced baker, so everyone can enjoy this activity.

The best part is that you can enjoy the fruits of your labour right after!

7. Reading

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Many people complain that they love reading but just don’t have the time to do it. Here’s the secret though. You need to make time to read if that’s what you want to do. Even if it’s only a page or two a day, it takes discipline to pick up a book instead of your phone.

Try setting aside some time before bed and commit to reading a number of pages everyday. Not only will this calm your mind down enough for a good sleep, but it will develop your knowledge. Not sure what to read? Start with these novels by local writers!

ALSO READ: Make money doing what you love: 5 hobbies you can monetise

8. Puzzles

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You probably haven’t touched a puzzle since you were much younger. However, puzzling is actually a great hobby to pick up if you have very little time. All you need is a table (or a large tray if you are short on space) and a puzzle. Set up your pieces and get to work.

You could choose to sit with your puzzle for some time till you finish it or you could finish it slowly. Try dedicating time to fit a couple of pieces into your puzzle every day.

It will calm your mind, develop your brain power as well as give you a great sense of accomplishment when you are done.

This article was first published in The Singapore Women's Weekly.