The outbreak of COVID-19 means that the best thing for not just yourself but others is to stay at home to keep yourself healthy, stop the spread of the virus, save lives, and ease the pressure on health systems.
You may be able to work at home or need to look for alternative options that you can do from home. Or you may have nothing to do now you can’t go outside.
So, how should you spend your spare time? How do you keep your mind occupied when you can’t go out? Instead of whiling away the hours scrolling through social media (which has been shown to have a negative impact on mental health), why not try something new? Hobbies are a great way to keep your mind (and often body) healthy, and an enjoyable way to spend your time.
List of Hobbies to do Indoors
Arts and crafts hobbies
Sewing is a highly versatile hobby. You could tailor clothing and put your own stamp on accessories, or create these items from scratch. You can make art pieces or decorative items for your home. Hand sewing and machine sewing both have different benefits.
If you’re in the market for a new sewing machine, we highly recommend checking out Sewing Machine Plus. They’re an award-winning retailer with a large range of machines at great prices.
Knitting has truly made a comeback in recent years, with knitwear coming back into fashion and knitting rising in popularity as a hobby. Whether you knit socks, blankets, hats, or sweaters, once winter rolls round, you’ll be super cosy. Knitting also has the benefit of being a pretty cheap and easy hobby to get started on.
You can weave from a whole bunch of materials – wicker, fabric, and even recycled plastic! You will need a loom – which is a kind of frame for weaving. You can order one online, or try making your own. Check out tutorials online for creating a loom and learning how to weave.
4. Making stuffed toys
You might think this falls under the sewing category, but making stuffed toys doesn’t necessarily have to involve sewing. So, if you don’t like the idea of needlework, how about making toys with felt and a glue gun instead? Stuffed toys could also make great gifts for cheering up any younger ones in your family.
A scrapbook is a kind of journal that includes photos, souvenirs and momentoes. You can use a journal to tell your own story or that of your family. If you are stuck indoors, it could be a good way to cheer yourself up by thinking about enjoyable times you have had in the past.
Don’t worry if you think you aren’t artistic enough to draw. There are an absolute ton of tutorials out there. You might surprise yourself with what you’re able to create. Plus, some pencils and paper are pretty cheap materials for a hobby if you are on a budget.
Painting is another hobby where you have a lot of choice. Watercolors and acrylic are fun to work with. You can even get special crayons where you create your piece using the crayon then paint water on afterwards to get a paint effect. Have a look at online art shops for some supplies, or check out job lots on eBay.
Adult coloring has become seriously popular. It’s a hobby that’s relaxing and can help to boost your creativity. It’s thought to help to reduce stress levels and has even been likened to meditation. From swear words to mandalas to nature scenes – there are plenty of choices out there!
9. Making sculptures
Creating sculptures is an engaging activity that can help to occupy you and increase your mental wellbeing. Use your creativity to make either realistic or abstract sculptures from recycled materials, wax, wood, metal, clay, or, well, anything you can think of! Why not see what you find around the house?
10. Making mandalas
Mandalas are intricate, circular patterns that originated in the East as a spiritual symbol. They may look intimidating to create, but you do not need to be an artist to make your own. Check out some tutorials online and unwind by making some beautiful and creative patterns.
If you have some space to do it – either in the garden or in a garage or shed – woodworking is an excellent way to spend the time. You will obviously need to get hold of wood and the right tools and equipment, but if you order online, you shouldn’t have any barriers to starting to make decorative items and even furniture.
12. Furniture restoration
Got any old pieces of furniture in a basement or garage that have seen better days? Restoration is a great hobby for keeping yourself busy and learning new skills, and one that leaves you with a beautiful addition to your home that doesn’t break the bank.
Who doesn’t love a seriously snuggly handmade quilt? This is a skill that takes some practice but that you can take real satisfaction out of once you master. Another great thing about quilting is that the online quilting community are a friendly bunch – perfect for being able to chat about your new hobby when you’re stuck inside.
Another needlework hobby – embroidery is a great hobby to occupy your minds and hands. Some people even take it up when they’re trying to stop smoking. You can create things like cushion covers or accessories, or even jazz up old pieces of clothing. Have a look for some online resources to get you started.
15. Cross stitch
Cross stitch is a great hobby if you are new to a needle and thread. There are some super simple patterns out there to get you started before you move onto more complicated creations and even your own designs. Cross stitch, along with other sewing-based activities, can also help to improve your manual dexterity.
Create beautiful lettering by learning the art of calligraphy. It’s a skill you can continue to put into use in the years to come when writing greetings cards. It’s relaxing and will give you a sense of satisfaction. Plus, there are plenty of sources online to teach you how to learn.
Felt is a great medium to play with. There are a bunch of different techniques that you can learn, and you can create clothing, toys, accessories, or just pieces of creative art. And, if you want to take it to the next step, you can even make your own felt out of wool. Plenty to keep you busy without having to leave the house!
The traditional Japanese folk art of paper-folding, or origami, is also said to be somewhat meditative. Origami is where you create a sculpture out by folding paper. A fun place to start is with paper cranes. In traditional Japanese folklore, if you create 1,000 paper cranes, your wish will come true. This is often a challenge that people decide to try for fun, even if they don’t believe the folklore.
Typography is the art of designing typeface – more commonly known as fonts. Fonts help to express different feelings through text. There are different types (pun intended!) and styles of font that you can learn about and then try your hand at designing. You can then use your fonts in other designs, such as e-cards and so on.
20. Paper making
Making handmade paper is a relaxing hobby that is also beneficial to the environment by using paper that would have otherwise been thrown away or gone through an industrial recycling program. Get creative by giving your papers different hues and shades. You could save them for making greetings cards or wrapping paper in the future.
21. Rubber stamping
Rubber stamping is a nice way to help you to build up your confidence to be creative if you don’t see yourself as particularly artistic. You can use designed stamps and inks to build up bigger pictures with the intricate designs on the stamp. The Hobby Lobby YouTube channel has some good videos on stamping techniques for beginners.
22. Bead art
You can make lovely artwork from Perler beads – small plastic beads that you arrange into a pattern and iron so it becomes a solid piece. You could make intricate landscape or animal designs, or some cool, retro Nintendo and Space Invaders pieces. This is also a good one if you have kids, although make sure they mind the iron!
23. Jewellery making
Making jewellery can be as easy as stringing beads together or as complicated as intricate metalwork, depending on how in-depth you want to get. You can unleash creativity to make your own accessories or gifts for others, or even sell them online on places like Etsy.
Illustrating is another engaging hobby that can improve your hand-eye coordination. Create scenes and characters from your favourite novels or radio plays, or draw images for non-fiction books. If you find you have a knack for it, it is something that you could turn into a career later down the line.
Writing songs is a good way to express yourself as well as bring you mental health benefits. It will keep you occupied and if you share your songs with others (which is, of course, optional!), you could help to bring them happiness, too.
26. Poetry writing
Poetry writing is similar to songwriting in that it can help you to express yourself. However, you don’t have to be at all musical to do it! There are lots of different styles of poetry, some which have set numbers of lines or syllables. Why not experiment with some different forms?
Blogging is a great way to connect with others and to keep your mind busy if you are not leaving the house. You could either blog about your life, experiences and opinions. Or you could pick a topic of interest and try to entertain or inform others, for example, with a blog about current affairs, the environment, makeup, and so on.
Journaling is a great way to let your feelings out. You can write about your thoughts, things that you’re doing, communications with your friends and family online, or even write about happy times you have enjoyed in the past, which is thought to help improve mood.
29. Creative writing
If you’ve ever fancied yourself a bit of a writer, or even if you’ve never thought of it before, creative writing is great hobby to help you to use your imagination and fill your time. You could try short stories or even take on the challenge of writing a novel! Why not share your stories with others as gifts or to make them feel good?
30. Write to a pen pal
Sometimes it’s important to have a break from the internet – you could try writing to a pen pal (which will be safer via email at the moment). You might be helping someone else feel a bit less isolated, or to practice their English. There are plenty of sites where you can find yourself a pen pal, such as Global Penfriends.
Whilst playing video games all day every day is probably not the healthiest way to spend your time indoors, gaming has been shown to bring cognitive benefits, for example, improvements to memory, attention, multi-tasking and problem-solving skills. There is even some evidence that gaming can slow cognitive decline in older people.
32. Make e-cards
Cheers up your friends and loved ones (and yourself) by creating e-cards to send. You can use photos and even music, or create free designs yourself on sites such as Canva. Websites like Office Holidays will tell you who is celebrating what around the world. Your sister might not be expecting a card for Portuguese Freedom Day, but it might put a smile on her face.
Creating your own YouTube channel is a fun and absorbing hobby that will let you learn you new skills and help you use your influence to entertain others or teach them something. You could start a workout channel, makeup channel, or gaming channel. There are loads of free tutorials out there to get you started, and small YouTuber communities all over Facebook and Reddit if you need to ask questions.
Podcasting is another engaging hobby in which you can use your creativity. Planning a series of podcasts – regardless of the topic – is a good way to keep your mind active. You will also learn new things such as how to edit audio and how promote your podcast to get more listeners.
35. Run a virtual event
Plenty of people are getting together over video calling software these days, but why not run an event such as a discussion group, quiz or book club? It’s really important to maintain social (albeit virtual) contact when you are in isolation, and you may help to provide some structure to your day as well as help others get the contact and stimulation that they need.
36. Volunteer online
Although many volunteering opportunities have been put on hold whilst people are in isolation, there are still ways that you can help others from the comfort of your computer. Have a web search for ‘volunteering opportunities online’, and you will be surprised by the different tasks you could do for charity.
37. Doing yoga
Yoga is good for the mind and body, and there is no shortage of online yoga classes and videos to get you bending and flexing. To start with, it may be worth finding a teacher to help you over video calling to make sure that you’re doing the poses correctly.
38. Doing Pilates
Pilates is great for strengthening your core, which is especially important if you are doing more sitting down. Like yoga, it’s important to get the exercises right to begin with so you don’t pick up bad habits, so see if you can find a teacher online to help you.
Building up your strength is a great activity to keep you in good shape if you are not leaving the house. You should build up slowly with your weights so that that you don’t overdo it, and it’s also crucial to make sure you have the right technique so that you can avoid getting injured.
Ballet, street dance, jazz, belly. Of course, going to a class is always going to be helpful for getting feedback from an instructor, but there’s no reason you can’t learn to dance from home. And, like some of the other forms of exercise above, you may be able to find a teacher online that can guide you.
41. Tai Chi
Tai Chi is a combination of relaxation, deep breathing, and flowing movement. It has been shown to have both physical and mental health benefits. It’s a low impact workout and can be helpful for people who can’t do more strenuous activity. There are some great Tai Chi YouTube channels that you can check out.
42. Learning to DJ
There’s never been a better time to be a bedroom DJ! Okay, so you might not be rocking out any clubs any time soon, but DJing is a great way to get you motivated to find new music and be creative with the music that you love. Why not try some free-trial software first to see if you enjoy it?
43. Learning a language
Learning a language is beneficial in a bunch of different ways. It improves your memory, decision-making, multi-tasking, academic performance, and even your use of your first language! You can also build confidence by using a second language and it gives you the possibility of making friends all over the world.
44. Learning how to program
Programming is becoming an ever more essential skill and you can give yourself a wider range of opportunities in life if you know how to program. Online schools such as Codecademy give you a solid foundation that you can build on, allowing to build websites, apps, and more. If you are logical and enjoy solving problems, you might find coding really fun!
45. Learning how to build apps
You can either program apps yourself or use an app builder if you have a good idea. Maybe you can use an app to solve problems that other people have, or create apps that help people connect more easily when they are in isolation.
46. Learn how to repair household items
If you’ve always been someone who relied on a handyperson to fix things when they’re broken, or you’ve tended to replace those items with new ones, why not learn how to repair things yourself? You will save money and keep yourself engaging with learning new skills.
47. Playing an instrument
48. Making music on the computer
If you don’t fancy handling an instrument or you like electronic music, you could make music using software like Ableton, Logic or Cubase to create music. There are loads of online courses and even free tutorials to get you started.
49. Making eco-bricks
Society’s single-use plastic problem is unlikely to have escaped you. You can reduce plastic pollution by making eco-bricks out of old plastic drinks bottles and other plastics. These can then be used for various building projects. Make sure you find out the correct method so that your bricks are solid enough to use and don’t get bacterial build-up inside.
Cooking can be both exciting and relaxing. Experimenting with new recipes and ingredients in the kitchen is a fun way to spend your time and, if you find healthy recipes, a good way to look after yourself. It’s also much cheaper to make your own meals from scratch.
If you are able to keep sweet treats in the house and not eat them all at once (not me!) then baking could be a great way to save some money, occupy your mind, and use your creativity. Why not follow some famous bakers on social media to get some inspiration?
Singing has been shown to lower your cortisol levels (that is, your body’s stress hormone) and relax your muscles. It can also be a form of exercise which helps with your posture and sleep, as well as making you feel good. You could try taking some online singing lessons, or just finding YouTube videos of your favorite songs. Tip: Type in your favorite song and ‘lyrics’ for your own in-house karaoke!
53. Brew beer
If you’re a beer fan, a fun way to spend your time at home is learning how to make your own homebrew. You can experiment with different styles of beer and make sure you always have a good stock in of your favourite drink. Have a look at some blogs and videos online to teach you how to get started.
Remember, if you need supplies for your hobby, try to order them online and avoid contact with others. And, if you can, order from smaller businesses that might be struggling as a result of the virus.
Also, look up from government guidelines about the best practice for receiving packages to your home. The virus can live on different surfaces for varying amounts of time, so make sure you know the safest way to receive parcels.
You may not have planned to spend so much time at home. But with the right hobbies, you can use your time in isolation as a way of learning something new and doing something that you might not have otherwise tried.