“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.”
Writer and poet Dorothy Parker said this, and it’s one of my favorite quotes. Sometimes a simple shift in our mindset can turn restrictions into freedoms. Newfound time at home can breed nourishing conversation, introspection and lifelong hobbies to take with us out of self-isolation and into the mended world.
Here, I’ve rounded up some ideas for you to try, and we spoke to some novices who are trying out these interesting new talents. From craft-centric recycling to unicycling, put on those thinking caps and try something new this month.
8 New Hobbies To Discover During Quarantine
Flex your green thumb
With spring dropping by like the friend you’ve been longing to hug, there’s no better time to start gardening. StyleBlueprint’s Director of Marketing, Megan Casey, on her new garden hobby: “I naively thought I could just place an order at my local nursery by saying ‘give me everything I need to start a garden.’ Apparently, that’s not how it works,” she laughs. Megan spent a day making sure her garden plot gets plenty of sun all day and after some research, decided to try a square foot garden (SFG). “They’re good for beginners, and that I definitely am.”
“I also found this handy online SFG planner that tells you how many of each you can plant per square foot and when they will harvest,” Megan says. Even if you don’t have oodles of yard space, gardening on a balcony or patio is still feasible. Plenty of herbs love sitting in pots in the sun, and cherry tomatoes and peppers can thrive in contained environments. People have dreamed up many creative methods for gardening in tight spaces. The internet is your quarantine hobby BFF.
Get a stitch fix
The therapeutic nature of knitting, crocheting, stitching and embroidering has been proven time and time again. With a trove of online content for beginners at our fingertips — from tutorials on nailing the essential knit stitch to switching up your designs through colors and patterns — this hobby is accessible to all. By the time we emerge from lockdown, we might have some new wares or gifts to show for it. In this particular time of stress, there’s also a practical, impactful implication. Volunteers worldwide are assembling masks from fabric and elastic to give to friends, family, neighbors and frontline workers. Healthcare workers have even begun to use homemade masks intermittently in order to prolong the lives of their surgical-grade ones. Every mask counts. Here’s a great starting point if you’d like to put this hobby to great use.
Participate in #starentine
London-based amateur astronomer Megan Eaves has started this collective, worldwide hobby, and it’s so cool. She calls it quarantine stargazing, or #Starentine, and posts the times of live stargazing sessions on her Twitter account. Each session focuses on a night sky object like a planet, star or constellation visible in the Northern Hemisphere that night. “We all know that we’re all living under the same sky, which is really beautiful. I think it brings a sense of connection and hopefully can bring us together in a small way during this time of scary difficulties,” Megan said in a recent interview (source).
If space interests you, now’s the time to hone this hobby while the skies are so clear. Download a printable planisphere (a chart of the positions of stars and constellations for any hour of the year) here. Sky & Telescope is another fabulous resource for all-things astrology and stargazers, and this beginner’s guide is a good place to start. I’ve seen a few of my friends spring for a new telescope purchase, and others dust off an old one they haven’t touched in years. Space can be intimidating, but it’s comforting to know everyone on earth is looking at up at this great big universe together — now more than ever.
Art! Art! Art!
This encompasses so much, I know, but I’ve loved being reminded of the endless ways to dip our toes back into creating beautiful artwork from home. A lot of people have discovered virtual sketching and drawing lessons through resources like Skillshare and The Virtual Instructor. Others have taken up origami, intricate — and uplifting — sidewalk chalk art, in-home murals, calligraphy, or started with some training wheels and used a paint-by-numbers kit. There is even one that turns your photo into a paintable project for $40. Check it out here!
Learn a new mode of transportation
My friend Laney is home with her family in Florida learning to ride a unicycle. “My dad says he learned to unicycle when he was young just for fun. A few years ago, my mom bought him one to see if he could really do it. He totally can! Since then, he’s encouraged my sisters and me to learn, too,” she says. Now that Laney is riding out this period of self-isolation with him, she’s got plenty of time to try. “It’s super hard. I’ve earned a lot of bruises. But even after a couple of days, I’m already getting close! This is a very weird, anxious time in all our lives. I’m happy to distract myself with something fun and hopefully come out of this with a unique new skill,” Laney says. In these emptier streets, I’ve seen lots of newbies on roller skates and skateboards, too. Safety first, y’all.
A wreath for every season
StyleBlueprint freelance writer Julie Engelhardt has taken up a new craft of making what she deems shabby-chic wreaths. “It’s really easy and pretty much uses items you have at home, except for the wire wreath hoop. These can be found at Dollar Tree and Walmart since they’re still open,” Julie says. She then finds hoards of fabric from around the house. “I cut the fabric into strips and tie them into the hoop — that’s it. Each takes several hours to complete, so it’s a great boredom buster!” she says. We love this idea of creating — by hand — that oft-store-bought decor in the offseason and with things from around the house. I want to try to create an ombre, colorful wreath with old t-shirts using Julie’s method.
Hit the pavement
When I polled my Instagram friends about new hobbies, a lot of people said they’re starting to run more. Even if you start with a fast walk or light jog, it’s a great time to explore the neighborhood, get some fresh air and a change of scenery, and get the heart rate up. Just keep some distance between you and others. Don’t forget about apps like Nike Run and Peloton, which have audible run/jog workouts to keep you motivated on your expeditions.
There’s no more gratifying and useful lifelong skill to hone during this time in your well-stocked kitchen than cooking! This is far and beyond the most popular — and documented — new hobby I’ve seen since we’ve been sheltering in place. It’s healthy (well, most of the time!), methodical, rewarding, and can teach us how to best stock our pantries and test and tweak recipes in the future. I’ve been turning to some of my favorite chefs Laura Lea Balanced, Half Baked Harvest, and Caroline Chambers for recipes and pantry staple recs.
“There are a lot of unknowns right now, but one thing remains constant — we’ve all gotta eat,” Caroline Chambers, recipe developer, chef and cookbook author, tells me. “I (often with my husband, who’s always around these days!) am posting daily #QuarantineQitchen IGTVs using what I have on hand in my kitchen, and providing plenty of swaps to ensure you can make whatever I’m cooking without an extra trip to the store. Celebrity chefs like Ina Garten and Katie Lee are getting in on the fun too, sharing unedited glimpses inside their kitchen that we’ve never had before,” Caroline says.
Many local chefs are doing Facebook and Instagram Live cooking tutorials (check your favorite restaurants’ socials media!). Brit + Co is another cool resource for cooking tutorials and food education.
Don’t know where to start? Choose your favorite dish you typically order out, and start searching for recipes. Or choose a theme — like Italian, Indian or Medittearean — and have everyone in the household pitch in and contribute something.
Hopefully, this time of stillness and isolation will create an abundance of creativity and joy in your household. New activities can sharpen the mind, occupy our worry-prone spirits, and bring us closer to each other. If you have hobby ideas of your own, email [email protected].
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