As a society, we’re becoming more open when it comes to talking about depression and how it affects us.
One of the benefits of this is that we’re also discussing ways in which we can help mitigate some of its negative influences through taking up hobbies or new activities.
In a way, hobbies are kind of like a proactive mindfulness activity that keeps us distracted during those down days.
With that said, though, we understand this isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach but we highly recommend giving them a try to see if they help keep you chugging along on those days where you could use a bit of a distraction.
As an FYI, do not use this list as a replacement for seeking professional help from your doctor, GP, or medical professional.
17 Handpicked Hobbies to Give You a Helping Hand on Those Low Days (Best Hobbies for Depression Sufferers)
1. Guided Meditation
Guided meditation is an essential tool for any depression sufferer as it’ll help frame intrusive or unrealistic thoughts in a more positive light and can even stop you from catastrophizing yourself into a nihilistic spiral.
There are many excellent apps/mediums that help you do this such as Calm, Headspace, and even through YouTube by searching for guided meditation in whatever is bothering you e.g. “guided meditation for depression”.
You can even turn this into a bit of a hobby by building various guided meditation playlists which will allow you to more easily pick things in the future depending on the situation you find yourself in.
Hiking is one of the best hobbies for when you’re feeling low, mainly because it gets those endorphins flowing around the body which acts as a natural painkiller, mood booster, and relaxant.
Not to mention, you can also involve friends and family in the activity quite easily as it’s totally free.
In fact, it’s one of the most freeing thoughts knowing you can literally walk outside your house and go absolutely anywhere you want.
Before you know it, a good hour or two will have passed, you’re likely to feel much better, and you even reap a few health benefits by getting your heart rate up.
What’s not to love?
3. Pet Sitting
There’s a reason why employers are starting to bring dogs on site for their staff; they’re known to help relax people, can make people feel more positive, and are very affectionate animals that can sense when people may want some attention.
Dogs aren’t the only animal that makes people feel good though, especially as even the simple process of stroking an animal can lull you into a more relaxed, meditative state of mind.
This is why pet sitting is a perfect hobby for sufferers of depression — animals are the perfect unbiased counterparts that will offer you companionship and compassion whatever the situation may be.
4. Video Games
Video games still get a bad wrap, but they’re a great stepping stone for when you need a little bit of downtime or want to blow off some steam chatting with others in a community setting.
And because there are so many different games to try, you really don’t have to worry about lack of choice, games that you’ll love will be easy to come by as they’re often made in abundance.
Like huge communities in a fantasy setting? Why not try Final Fantasy XIV?
Prefer something a little more competitive? Why not have a look at League of Legends or Rocket League?
If you’re a little more solitary then you can always try offline games as they’ll allow you to play through a huge, expansive story at your own pace, kind of like reading a book.
Reading books have multiple benefits for people who are feeling low, mainly in that they allow the reader to enter a more calming state of mind and can help to distract you from negative emotions.
Getting engaged in a story transports you instantly to another world and allows you to look at things from a totally different perspective, even just for a brief moment.
This reprieve from your current state of mind might be all that you need to set yourself on a more positive path, and better yet, it can be done totally free with ebooks online, or rather cheaply by purchasing a book outright.
You can even turn reading into an even bigger hobby by starting your own library or having a collection of a particular genre of books.
6. Coloring Books
Coloring books are a simple and effective way to help distract you from a tough day filled with negative emotions.
They lull you into a meditative state through the process of coloring and can even become a conduit for generating internal calmness.
Better yet, you can find coloring books for all ages, including adult coloring books that allow you to channel some positive, creative energy into.
There’s something unbelievably calming about engaging in a bit of swimming, whether at your local swimming pool or perhaps, down at the beach for a more natural experience.
Having all the usual pressures of sustaining yourself upright suddenly removed by embracing yourself in a body of water is extremely liberating.
The gentle splashing as you swim, the deep, rhythmic breaths you take as you push forward, and the serene silence as you dive under the water for a moment are all beautiful experiences to be had.
Swimming is probably one of the best hobbies for depressed folk as it combines the body’s natural therapeutic response to activity along with calming, meditative motions.
8. Visiting Friends & Family
Visiting friends and family is an underrated activity, mainly because when you’re depressed you usually won’t feel like interacting with other people.
Conversely, interacting with people can often help shift a negative mindset even though it may feel like a challenge at first.
Sometimes what you need is exactly what you don’t think you need and thus, mustering up the energy to visit people can be tough but overall, well worth it in the end.
Don’t feel let down if people don’t have time to see you immediately, think of this activity as one of several tools in your repertoire that you can use to combat those low feelings, but try to have other things on the go as well such as other hobbies.
9. Miniature Painting
Painting miniature figurines is an incredibly calming and satisfying hobby that can really help you channel some creative energy.
It requires zero talking, has no time limit, and can be done pretty much whenever you feel like it.
This is the perfect hobby for those days when you need a little me-time where you can self-soothe against powerful negative emotions.
Many of the hobbies on this list have similar qualities, including origami, which involves rhythmic, calming, and satisfying repetitive actions that lull you into a state of meditation.
Essentially, Origami will help isolate your mind on a specific task rather than letting it wander into catastrophizing or worrying about things that make you feel depressed.
However, even from a general standpoint, origami is a deceptively creative activity that can really help you channel some positive energy into something meaningful.
You can make shapes, silhouettes, and even figurines of things that you love, simply from folding paper.
Most paper is fine to use, though, we do recommend trying special origami paper as it’ll generally hold the shape better.
Astronomy is a great activity, especially if you haven’t got much to do at night as it’ll allow you to peruse the night sky to spot things like planets, comets, and even distant dust clouds across vast distances.
Even a beginner telescope will allow you to view planets in relatively high detail, which, if you haven’t seen them before in real-time is something of an enlightening moment.
Plus, the nighttime can be the lowest point for many depression sufferers which is why we think having an activity like this to engage in can really help you get through the toughest part of the day.
12. Study Philosophy
Philosophy is one of the most important areas of study, especially if you suffer from depression as it can help you frame things in a more logical and realistic way.
Philosophy also taps into aspects of spirituality, which, if you haven’t realized is sorely lacking in our modern society.
Mainly, though, philosophy gives you the blueprint for tackling life in a more wholesome way, in which you can use these principles to build a bullet-proof mental filter for nearly anything you’re challenged by.
When you’re young, it’s easy to attribute life’s musings to a complex series of logical choices and decisions, and that we’re all just pawns at the whim of the physicality of the universe.
Humankind has become separated from spirituality; somewhere along the way, throughout the process of modernization, we’ve lost touch with the mystical element of what makes up life.
This includes philosophical teachings, inspiring beliefs, and the ability to dream of a better future.
Rest assured, though, you can still find many useful spiritual teachings through studying religious texts, visiting spiritual places such as Buddhist temples, and getting more connected with nature and each other.
Even if you don’t believe that we’re more than what makes up the fundamental building blocks of the universe, finding some spiritual truth in that is still possible and will help to give you some sense of direction.
14. Make Music Playlists
Listening to music is a great way to pass the time, however, you can implement an aspect of creativity into the process by coming up with new music playlists for specific tasks or moments in the day.
Whether you’re hiking, exercising, or cleaning your room, each playlist can be completely unique to whatever you need it to do for you.
In a way, music is a conduit for your emotions to help you process them and can allow you to harness that energy to motivate you to do more.
15. Freshen Up Your Room & Wardrobe
If you’re really stuck on ideas, even the simple process of tidying up your room or freshening up your wardrobe can help give you a reprieve from negative emotions.
Simple tasks like cleaning (which are repetitive and don’t require much mental energy) are actually perfect for taking your mind off depressing thoughts.
16. Pamper Rituals
If you suffer from depression, you’ll likely know the weighty emotional feelings you’re left with by the end of the day that can leave you feeling drained.
For this reason, engaging in a special pamper ritual as a regular activity or hobby can be a great way to rejuvenate yourself whenever you need it.
This pamper ritual can be completely unique to your preferences, though, we recommend bubble baths in the dark with some candlelight or relaxing in the dark listening to ambient sounds of nature.
Gardening is an excellent hobby for depression sufferers, mainly because it allows you to put worthwhile energy into something that can be grown or developed over many years.
It’s a slow, methodical process that requires repetition and discipline which eventually can lead to something beautiful.
Even when your garden is looking amazing, it still needs to be kept up with otherwise it can easily become a tangled mess of weeds again.
This is the beauty of gardening; it’s forgiving as a task and doesn’t require tons of emotional energy, however, it does give you something to strive for week-in-week-out which is especially important if you have a nihilistic viewpoint.
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Or you can simply browse our full list of hobbies for plenty of exciting ideas.
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