Great Stress Relieving Hobbies

Great Stress Relieving Activities
Great Stress Relieving Activities | Source

Stress is a leading cause of illness and even death. Physical ailments like heart disease and stroke are often linked to stress-filled lifestyles. Stress that is not managed over time can become debilitating, ruining quality of life and destroying hopes and dreams. Excess stress is often the precursor to depression, anxiety and even panic disorders. When the body is under constant stress, the continued “fight of flight” response stresses the adrenal glands that are responsible for managing hormone levels throughout the body.

Our modern lifestyles tend to leave many people feeling stressed for a variety of reasons. We are constantly bombarded with social media, news tickers, long work hours, poor diet and other pressures that cause stress to build in the body to toxic levels. Many have been chronically stressed for so long that they assume stress is “normal” and they don't do much to address it until it leads to serious problems.

Hobbies are not only important for enjoyment, but the are necessary to improve your health! There are many excellent hobbies, however there are some that are especially good for relieving stress and easing anxiety. Here is a list of ten fantastic leisure activities that can help you create more peace in your life and release the effects of excessive stress.

grow an herb garden for health benefits. Lemon balm, mint, rosemary and many other stress relieving herbs are beautiful and easy to grow.
grow an herb garden for health benefits. Lemon balm, mint, rosemary and many other stress relieving herbs are beautiful and easy to grow. | Source

Gardening to Relieve Stress

Planting a garden is a great way to relieve stress for several reasons. Natural sunlight exposure can help improve mood. Digging in the dirt and creating the garden is good exercise and it also connects you to the Earth. This has a grounding effect that helps ease anxious, racing thoughts and anxiety. As you dig, plant, and maintain your garden you start to feel connected to what matters.

You can use your garden to grow food, or use it to create a haven where you feel at peace. Many people grow specialty gardens that include things like water features for an even more calming effect. A butterfly garden is a great way to beautify your surroundings while providing a habitat for one of nature's loveliest creatures.

Add a hummingbird feeder, bird baths, rock formations, seating, lighting or other features to your garden area to make it a truly special place. Every time you add on to your garden you'll be creating your own zen place free from the stress of the outer world. It's a way to be outdoors and retreat to your inner sanctuary at the same time.

Needle Crafts Ease Anxiety and Restore Focus

My mother has long been a fiber arts enthusiast and she insists it is the best therapy for stress and anxiety. She cards wool, spins it into yarn and then knits. She says the hobby requires just enough focus that you keep your attention on what you are doing, but is not so complicated that it creates more stress.

The repetitive motion of spinning the wheel and creating the stitches calms the mind and soothes the soul. This hobby can also be useful for other reasons. Consider creating homemade hats, socks, or scarves as gifts for family members or friends.

You can also knit prayer shawls for charity. This activity is rewarding on many levels. The prayer shawls are knitted while focusing on prayer or sending positive energy to the recipient – usually someone with a serious illness or who is in chemo where they tend to get cold. The blankets or shawls are then given away to those who need them. This is a great way to pour positive energy into a project and that allows you to recenter and to count your blessings along with your stitches.

My close friend is a nurse on a psychiatric ward. She insists that crochet helps her unwind after a long evening dealing with patients. She works on her project for awhile every night until she's tired and able to sleep.

Yoga poses to melt stress, calm the mind and strengthen the body.
Yoga poses to melt stress, calm the mind and strengthen the body. | Source

Yoga for Full and Present Awareness

My favorite stress-relief hobby combines two important aspects of health – physical exercise and meditation. Yoga can be invigorating or relaxing depending on the poses you choose. It is a great way to shift your concentration to the here and now, to focus on breath and really becoming one with your body, mind and spirit simultaneously. Studies have shown that the full and present awareness that comes with a meditative state relieves stress very well. It is often recommended by therapists for patients who deal with anxiety disorders and depression.

Poses are customizable and can be modified to be easier initially. This allows people to work up to the more difficult poses gradually and hold them longer. Some of my personal favorites are warrior pose, sunrise salutation and tree pose. I love the full body stretch, the improved balance and increased physical strength yoga provides in addition to the stress release.

Maintaining an Aquarium to Melt Stress

Not all of us are fortunate enough to live by the seashore. Water is one of the most soothing things on the planet and an aquarium can be a great way to bring some of that serenity home.

Aquariums can work well in your living area and even in the bedroom. The sound of the bubbling water and the soothing motion of the fish as they swim is very relaxing. It's easy to gaze into an aquarium and lose yourself – which of course melts away the stress of the day. Add a little zen to your living area or even your office with an aquarium.


Swim Stress Away

Sticking to the water theme, swimming is a fantastic stress buster. It is great exercise, easy on the joints and also very relaxing. If you have a pool, take a dip daily or sign up for a local pool membership and try to go swim some laps during odd hours when there aren't many people around. If you live near the ocean or other safe body of water, even better. Swim or sit quietly by the shore regularly to relax and unwind.

Quiet time in the water clears the mind, works the body and releases feel good endorphins that beat stress and anxiety. Water aerobics and yoga poses are another great way to get some exercise and release tension.

Cooking to Combat Stress

OK, so stress eating is not a good habit, however for those who enjoy cooking, preparing a lovely meal can be a great way to relieve tension. Try preparing a new recipe or creating your own. Cook a beautiful meal, then take time to sit at the table with no distractions and truly enjoy it with a loved one or with the whole family.

Meals that are prepared with love are the best kind. How many of us associate beautiful times in our past with the service of a lovely meal and surrounded by real conversation? If you've spent too much time microwaving your meals and texting at the table or eating in front of the TV; take a day and prepare a great meal and enjoy a true dining experience.

The act of cooking gives you something else to focus on. Go to a farmer's market or high quality store and pick out the best ingredients. The anticipation of sharing the meal with those you love releases happy endorphins as you prepare the meal. Sharing an evening with those you love helps you forget about all the troubles of the world for awhile and get back to what truly matters.

This comprehensive video is a seminar that covers a wealth of information on stress, its effects and management techniques.

Woodworking to Relieve Stress

For many, the act of building something with the hands and using tools is a great way to not only relieve stress, but produce something useful. Many times, we talk ourselves out of hobbies we enjoy, because we feel our time would be better spent doing something “productive”. This is a hobby that allows you to do both.

My husband has recently taken to creating things out of wood pallets. We have a wine box that is lovely and a set of shelves with hooks for our antique bath upstairs. When he's tense, he takes on one of these projects and you can tell by the time he's finished the stress has vanished and he's totally relaxed and smiling.

There is something about creating something, whether it be something practical or a work of art, that helps relieve stress. Focusing on what you are doing is part of it, because it calms the mind. The other half I think is the sense of accomplishment and pride in one's work that boosts the mood.

Journal writing to remedy stress and anxiety
Journal writing to remedy stress and anxiety

Write Your Worries Away - Journals for Stress Relief

Writing in a journal is a great way to express emotions rather than keeping them bottled up inside. Journals can be handwritten, or there are software programs available that allow you to keep a digital journal. The benefits to this are the ability to password protect your journal for privacy and back it up so you don't have to worry about losing what you've written. Many find typing is faster than writing out their thoughts also, so it encourages keeping it a regular habit.

Journals are highly personal and can be customized to meet your needs. Some like to write their feelings out, others like to draw or collage to express themselves. However you choose to do it, journaling is not just a great way to release emotions and keep track of thoughts and ideas, it's also a great way to look back down the line and see how far you have come.

Invest in a journal that you can't wait to use. A beautiful, handcrafted journal that is refillable is a great choice, because you can move pages around or store old pages and refill it again to create a brand new journal. I love journals like the one above with the luxurious handmade paper. When it's a real treasure, you're more likely to keep up with the positive habit of journaling. :)

Scrapbooking to Refocus and Reduce Stress

Sometimes when we feel under a lot of pressure, it's a good idea to take time to refocus on things that make us joyful. A scrapbook is a great way to use photos and other mementos of happy times to create something unique and special.

You get the benefit of reliving the happy memories, combined with the stress relief of focusing on a creative project. Scrapbooks can be a lot of fun and they can be an individual or group project with the kids.

Relieve Stress with Up-cycling or Restoration

Nothing fires me up like spending a few minutes (or hours, ahem) on Pinterest looking at all the creative ways people reuse, redo and renew old items. I have seen stunning furniture born out of trash heap items. People reuse all sorts of things and give them new purpose. I've seen gardens out of old tires – and they were actually cute! I've seen pallets, broken plates, scrap paper and all sorts of assorted oddities turned into beautiful things.

The creative inspiration is great for relieving stress. Challenging yourself to try something new can be a great way to reignite passion and spark that are often lost during periods of intense stress or anxiety. Sometimes the simple act of starting a project will instantly make a world of difference.

I've created all sorts of things from inspirations. I've turned old coffee cans into lanterns, old pallets into shelves, I've repainted and refinished some old furniture pieces and given them away. I even restored old photographs and put them on wood blocks as gifts. Creativity is a great way to beat the blues that come with stress.

How do you relieve stress?

See results without voting

More by this Author


Comments 72 comments

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 6 weeks ago from Midwest Author

Cool Jet T, thanks for sharing.


Jet T 6 weeks ago

I breed and take care of 8 dogs;

I have a talent in singing which I use in many events, and now I am a member of an Actor's Guild..

I am also an active member of our professional society and we help a lot of indigents yhrough our missions..


ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 6 months ago from Midwest Author

Thanks for the read and comment. I'm not really into writing poetry, but I do have a friend who is and he does indeed find it calming and therapeutic.


challengethestorm profile image

challengethestorm 6 months ago from Wilmington

Great piece. Love the contrasting approaches provided. Woodworking always helped me, but I find it more of a way to keep busy than to alleviate the stress altogether. Writing has been the absolute best thing. Picked up poetry 18 months ago, or so. Would love to hear if others have turned to poetry as well.


swalia profile image

swalia 16 months ago

meditation works best for me!


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 21 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Great hub, Christin. I love doing yoga with meditation and swimming for my stress relief. The other ideas are pretty clever, except for wood-working IMO. I'm also on Pinterest, too. Voted up!


ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 2 years ago from Midwest Author

Thanks gsidely; it sounds like you enjoy some nice hobbies as well. I appreciate the read and comment.


gsidley profile image

gsidley 2 years ago from Lancashire, England

Some wise suggestions about promoting wellbeing and reducing stress. Having taken early retirement last year, hobbies are now especially important to me. My own favorites are walking in the countryside, writing/blogging, physical fitness regimes and watching football (soccer).

Voted up.


ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 2 years ago from Midwest Author

Thanks AnnaCia for reading and commenting - much appreciated :)


AnnaCia profile image

AnnaCia 2 years ago

So many options. So many good ideas. I do believe in using that leisure time in a positive way. Thank you for the article.


ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 2 years ago from Midwest Author

I agree Alise - I think simpler is definitely less stressful. :) thanks for reading and commenting.


Alise- Evon 2 years ago

Love how nothing (except maybe typing out your journal on a computer) involves a lot of "modern technology," gizmos, or "the next big thing." Wonder what that says about all those things?


ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 2 years ago from Midwest Author

Thanks Purpose - glad you enjoyed the hub. It's Spring here now and I am really enjoying getting our garden prepared again :) Definitely a stress reliever for me.


Purpose Embraced profile image

Purpose Embraced 2 years ago from Jamaica

Thanks for your great hub on hobbies to relieve stress. My favorite one is gardening. I find this to be very relaxing and eases stress and tension. What is important for me is that is set aside time for my gardening.


ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 2 years ago from Midwest Author

Sunshine625 I have been known to kill some time on Pinterest myself :) It is very fun for sure!


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 2 years ago from Orlando, FL

Great ideas! This time I'm going to try some pinning on Pinterest. I could get lost on that site and it is very relaxing! :)


Gratitude Journal profile image

Gratitude Journal 3 years ago

As you suggested, I'm a big believer in Yoga for treating stress. The moment I enter shivasana, I can't even fathom stress.


ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 3 years ago from Midwest Author

Thank you Au fait :) much appreciated.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

This article includes excellent suggestions for relieving stress and definitely worthy and deserving of the HOTD award!


ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 3 years ago from Midwest Author

Playing with kids is nice, I do it daily, but I don't actually consider that a hobby but a natural part of life. :)


Arvind 3 years ago

You missed one, Playing with kids! It really helps.


ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 3 years ago from Midwest Author

Thank you everyone for all the lovely comments and for sharing how you relieve stress. I believe it's very important to manage it before it progresses into anxiety disorders and other health problems.

@Kathryn, yes a link would be fine thank you :)


Kathryn Stratford profile image

Kathryn Stratford 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

Belated congrats for winning HOTD. This is a fantastic hub, and very useful. Voted up.

If you don't mind, I would like to add a link of this to a hub on happiness that I am working on right now. This fits in with the theme of things to do to bring some happiness.

Have a wonderful day, and thanks for sharing this with us.

~ Kathryn


cheeluarv profile image

cheeluarv 3 years ago from INDIA

congrats, a great stress busting article.


QudsiaP1 profile image

QudsiaP1 3 years ago

Excellent points; I use some of them to find relief from stress. :)


jeugenejohn profile image

jeugenejohn 3 years ago from Kerala

A good hub with interesting points. Do include reading and writing also as stress relief methods in your next hub. Again good work. Keep it up.


Nayana1 profile image

Nayana1 3 years ago from INDIA

Hi ChristinS,

Congratulations on your HOTD. Great article and very informative.


The Reminder profile image

The Reminder 3 years ago from Canada

These are all great solutions for relieving stress. Great hub and voted up!


jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 3 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

For me it's gardening, playing judo and playing with my daughter. It's the little joys in life that takes away the stress.


WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 3 years ago

Very cool, some of my favorite hobbies are listed here. Great hub.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

Congrats on your Hub of the Day award for encouraging hobbies as stress relievers. Creative outlets which let me ponder and pray over problems during the process are gifts of life!


discopig profile image

discopig 3 years ago from USA

Awesome hub!


annasantos profile image

annasantos 3 years ago from Canada

Hi ChristinS,

Congratulations on your HOTD. I totally agree that stress is one of the major contributors of human's illness and even death. Your article gives a very clear solution to problems like stress. Very informative and well-written. Hope that this reaches everyone especially those who don't know how to deal with stress themselves. Again, congratulations!


leni sands profile image

leni sands 3 years ago from UK

Just the hub I needed - I have been suffering from severe stress for several months now and have been off work for about 6 weeks...I've been gardening, writing and editing to fill my time and combat my depression and anxiety - so thanks so much for writing this really useful and interesting hub - voted up!


bridalletter profile image

bridalletter 3 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

Nearly all the things I do and enjoy that help reduce my stress, are in your list. The higher the stress, the more intense physical activity is important. So on high stress, it is an awesome task to garden and do yard work till I am tired. It helps to transform the negative thoughts and feelings into positive ones and inspiration from the outdoors. It is often a combo of activities, relaxing and rethinking situations.


rose-the planner profile image

rose-the planner 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

Congratulations! I thought it was worthy of HOTD the first time I read it. Take care. -Rose


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 3 years ago from Germany

Congrats on the HOTD! I sometimes listen to a very relaxing music of Ennio Moricone, baking cakes,knitting something easy to finish, reading, gardening and of course writing. The bad thing when baking while I´m in stress is, who will eat them all? LOL....Thanks for sharing.


thumbi7 profile image

thumbi7 3 years ago from India

Congrats on hub of the day.

Very interesting list of stress relieving hobbies

Voted up and shared


jammin009 profile image

jammin009 3 years ago from visayas

I enjoyed reading your article! I like to explore more stress-relieving ideas and I just started doing yoga. It's really fun; challenging but still very calming for my body and mind.


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA

Congratulations on HOTD! Enjoyed the great list of stress-relieving hobbies and the reasons why they can help relieve stress. For me, I enjoy knitting and crochet as well as painting. Creativity and calm seem to go together. Voted up and shared!


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 3 years ago from New Jersey

Great list of ideas. I love turning to natural ways of relieving stress. I tend to turn to herbs the most and make herbal teas. But I have done quite a bit of everything on your list.

Congratulations on your Hub of the Day.


Jared Miles profile image

Jared Miles 3 years ago from Australia

Hi ChristinS, an extensive article, I'd never actually considered maintaining an aquarium as a stress relieving activity. Personally I find stress relief through martial arts, it's something I find really enjoyable and it keeps me fit. Thanks for sharing your expertise, voted up.


ishwaryaa22 profile image

ishwaryaa22 3 years ago from Chennai, India

A well-written hub with a good list of stress-relieving hobbies! I often relied on writing, jewelry-designing, researching astrology via the internet and reading to beat stress. Congrats on winning the Hub of the Day award. Well-done!

Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Interesting. Voted up


Aneegma profile image

Aneegma 3 years ago

Brilliant hub and well deserved for HOTD. Congratulations and thank you for the insightful ideas. Well done.


holly-turner profile image

holly-turner 3 years ago from Falmouth

I find origami to be very helpful. I suppose the repetitive task is quite freeing :)


ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 3 years ago from Midwest Author

Hi Jennifer - yes I know what you mean. When I am pressed to put a holiday meal on the table for example for everyone like at Thanksgiving - it takes a lot of the fun out of it ;) - but just trying a new recipe with a "we'll see what happens" attitude for me is very relaxing, particularly if there is a backup plan in case things go horribly wrong lol. Good luck with dinner tonight and thanks for reading and commenting :)


Jennifer Suchey profile image

Jennifer Suchey 3 years ago from Northern California

Nice article. It relieves stress just reading about relieving stress. ;) The one about cooking made me think how stressed I sometimes get when I cook. If I'm trying to juggle the timing of several things and/or trying to finish within a certain timeframe, that is. I have learned, though, that I do enjoy cooking a lot more when I can consciously choose NOT to rush or stress over it. When I give myself plenty of time, maybe turn on some music, and be purposeful in enjoying the act of cooking, particularly if it's for my family. Thanks again for the article. I think I might just cook tonight. ;)


rose-the planner profile image

rose-the planner 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

Excellent tips on relieving stress! I find yoga is amazing. Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

Great ideas to relief stress! I'm more for physical activity. When I am super-stressed I drop and do about 100 push ups. The easier the push up, the more stressed I am. Haha! It's an entertaining way to de-stress when my granddaughters join in :)


CarlySullens profile image

CarlySullens 3 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

I was not expecting woodworking, and it made me laugh when I saw it, but it is true, using our hands to make items out of wood is a great stress reliever. Voted up and shared!


NornsMercy profile image

NornsMercy 3 years ago from Charlotte, NC

Awesome hub! I LOVE gardening and exercising to relieve stress. Today, I used one of my husband's empty whey jugs for a pot to plant basil. :) Nothing makes me feel happier than being around plants.


ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 3 years ago from Midwest Author

Thanks everyone for all the wonderful comments on this hub and for sharing what hobbies work for you. I appreciate the feedback!


carter06 profile image

carter06 3 years ago from Cronulla NSW

This is a great hub Christin..it's just fantastic to have a hobby!! I love cooking and really enjoy a bit of gardening & knitting..great ideas will pin & tweet this as I'm sure so many will benefit..cheers


Careermommy profile image

Careermommy 3 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

I love the idea of stress relieving hobbies. What a great list. I've been wanting to look more into scrap-booking, so thank you for the encouragement!


PoeticPhilosophy profile image

PoeticPhilosophy 3 years ago from Canada

Great hub ChristinS I can see you put a lot of work in it. Yeah Meditation and writing are great! For stress, the others I have yet to try. The most effective in my eyes is nutrition! It's amazing how eating healthy can make you feel so good. :) All the best to you


livingsta profile image

livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

True, hobbies help a lot with overcoming stress. I have a few hobbies too that I turn towards to when I am stressed or feeling anxious. Thank you for this. Voted up and sharing


Sue Bailey profile image

Sue Bailey 3 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

Great tips - you are so right about our modern lifestyles causing us to be stressed. I barely know anyone who is stress free. Voted up and shared.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

I don't know where I'd be without my hobbies! I look forward to working on a project purely for my own enjoyment after a long day of work. Thanks for the great range of suggestions. There is something here for everyone.


larakern profile image

larakern 3 years ago from Georgia

Great list of hobbies that help manage stress! I do at least half of these when I get super stressed: gardening, yoga, knitting, swimming, and writing when I feel stressed or depressed and they all work amazingly well to melt away any stress or tension that I am feeling. Great work!


epbooks profile image

epbooks 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

Very good suggestions. I'm not much into Yoga, but swimming does ease the mind and is very relaxing. And writing for me is the perfect outlet. Voted up!


ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 3 years ago from Midwest Author

I agree our mindset helps, but to say that we can get to a place that we never have stress is false. The body has a natural "fight or flight" response and reacts to stress whether we are conscious of it or not. I do believe though very much in the power of positive thought and trying to take something good from every experience. That can help neutralize the effects of stress certainly - but we all are exposed to stressors, be it in our air, water, work, food, circumstances etc.


A Little TRUTH profile image

A Little TRUTH 3 years ago

Wonderful activities for recharging for putting you in a good mood!

I have found that the best way to reduce stress is to not have it in the first place. As Shakespeare said “There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Stress doesn’t come from what happens to you, but how you react to it - whether you think it’s a bad thing, or whether you think something good will come from it.


patil pallavi 3 years ago

Useful article with useful tips.


Borsia profile image

Borsia 3 years ago from Currently, Philippines

Shooting, fishing and beachcombing are among my favorites in the US.

Here riding my motorcycle and photography are more practical.


steinbergr profile image

steinbergr 3 years ago from Israel

I have found that yoga and running have worked wonders for me.

I also crochet, but sometimes when the patterns don't come out the way that I want them to it stresses me out.

http://2livehere.blogspot.co.il/2012/10/running-to...


Natashalh profile image

Natashalh 3 years ago from Hawaii

Gardening has always seemed a bit like meditation to me. I love it! I just tried yoga for the first time earlier this month and I can't wait to go again. Very helpful hub!


ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 3 years ago from Midwest Author

Yoga and Gardening are great even for those without stress. I would think they can also prevent it and not merely relieve it :) thanks for commenting.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

Good suggestions, Christin....I'm not much for stress, but I do practice yoga and do gardening just because I need to do something other than write. :)


johnsonrallen profile image

johnsonrallen 3 years ago from Fort Wayne, IN

My grandfather would completely agree as well.


ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 3 years ago from Midwest Author

I kind of thought the same thing with woodworking, but my grandfather and my hubs both swear by it as being one of the most relaxing and rewarding things to do. I honestly hear the tension periodically when things don't work well lol - but I think it's the satisfaction factor with creating something that maybe busts job stress. Also he works around people - when he works alone on a project it's time to himself and that could be it also :) thanks for reading and commenting!


johnsonrallen profile image

johnsonrallen 3 years ago from Fort Wayne, IN

I can relate to a few of these for sure. Gardening, cooking and writing always seem to work for me, my wife would vouch for the needlework one. Woodworking though? That one might increase my stress...


aquinby profile image

aquinby 3 years ago from Morgantown, West Virginia

Great article! Thanks for sharing!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working