You’ve been diagnosed with depression and your doctor has told you to get a hobby. Once you’ve restrained yourself from screaming in said doctor’s face, I advise you calmly leave the building and take yourself home for a lie down.
Being told this by your GP can feel extremely patronising. Do they think we can just knit our way out of depression? Take a photography course and all is well again? It’s not that easy and I’m 100% on your side with that one.
But there are a few hobbies that are worth trying out on those days where you can find the energy to try your hand and something different. I’d love to know if you’re willing to give some of these a go…
Doctors will regularly recommend yoga for those with depression, and although it’s not for everyone I personally find it very helpful when I’m finding it hard to relax. I wrote about it in more detail last year when I started going more regularly to help ease my symptoms when I moved away from home.
It might sound like your idea of hell, but many people claim running has been a major factor in their recovery from depression. I took up running after going to fitness classes for a year or so, looking for a new challenge to test my abilities. Although I don’t enjoy it as much as other forms of exercise I can see why many enjoy the solitude and fresh air that comes with the hobby.
If running seems a little too advanced then I highly recommend trying walking instead. Either alone or with a friend, the benefits of walking are well-documented and can give you a sense of achievement on days when you feel unmotivated.
This is a pastime that was always encouraged when I was a child, and I can see why. It’s good at keeping you distracted without the use of TV or video games and it’s a great creative outlet.
Obviously I’m biased about this one! I started blogging a few years ago when I was unfit for work and felt the urge to be creative. You don’t need to write about depression; write about whatever pleases you and do it under another name if you don’t want anyone to know it’s you.
If you still want to write but not necessarily hit ‘publish’ online, then journaling could be for you. Grab a notebook and just explain how you’re feeling. I know from experience that trying to explain or even experience emotions when you have depression can feel like an impossible task. There are lots of good advice posts and prompts available out there to get you started.
After years of restricting my food intake and binge eating junk food, I’m learning to enjoy all types of food again for their health benefits. I feel at my best when I’m eating lots of fruit, vegetables and some sweat treats for good measure (Oreos are food for the soul) and cooking plays a big part in that. I like the satisfaction of cooking a meal from scratch, especially if I know it’s going to make me feel good.
I think people who want to ‘get a hobby’ often forget about the simple joy of reading. It’s basically free (remember those places called libraries?) and most people can do it. There are a million different genres be it fiction or non-fiction, self-help or fantasy; there’s sure to be something to keep you occupied.
EXTRA BONUS TIP! When you want to read but you can’t concentrate (a common problem with depression) then listen to podcasts.My current obsessions are My Favourite Murder, Desert Island Discs, Pro Blogger, Ctrl Alt Delete, Generation Why, Unsorry and Standard Issue Magazine.
The thought of tackling an overgrown garden might be a bit much, but some light weeding or planting some flowers in pots could be a good idea. This is something that you can dedicate 30 minutes to everyday and see progress over time, which should give you a sense of achievement.
10. Play an instrument
If you can already play an instrument then why not set aside some time to practise a few times a week? It’s a good way to create some focus for short periods of time and gives you a physical and creative outlet. Also find singing along to my favourite music has the same effect.
Have you found a particular hobby that has helped ease the symptoms of your depression?
Blogging, pilates, walking. I have done yoga before I got into pilates, so I can recommend either, but I seem to get on better remembering pilates moves better.
Gardening will be my thing this year, as I create my haven. If you you have not seenthat, then do take a look.
I have done some drawing behind the scenes and did a sharpie drawing post for my blog recently.
I occasionally like to read, but with me reading books to do with my studies at the moment, reading any other book seems to be on a hold.
Crochet is another for me, but this seems to have gone on hold. Must get back to it.
I wish I enjoyed gardening, but to be honest it just aggravates my anxiety! It plays on my mind and I put it off until there’s so much to do it’s overwhelming x
When I first moved in here, I wasn’t going to bother with the outside, as I’d thought I visit local parks etc.. for that. But later, I kinda was getting the urge, but at that point, the neighbour who used to live there I felt uncomfortable with. So I avoided the yard altogether. But now, with new neighbours, I knew I wanted to enjoy, but still craved privacy first. Fence option was expensive, so the trellis planters are the next best thing. 🙂 It will still be minimal though, when done.
I enjoy all of those except gardening.
My favorite hobby that I have ever had was roller derby!
Oh wow that’s a cool one!
Volunteer for an organization you care about, whether it’s the local Habitat for Humanity or community library, and allow yourself to make new friends and develop camaraderie with your fellow volunteers. Activities that require constant use of your hands help fuel creativity and motivation, along with producing tangible progress.