The weekly “Screen Time” notification is probably one of the best/worst things that Apple has ever developed. Most weeks, I want to hit X on that notification the moment it pops up on my phone screen every Sunday morning. And last week, boyyyyyyy, that number was downright scary!
Things have probably gotten worse for most of us in this lockdown season as far as screen time is concerned. Between managing work, maintaining social connections, or just Netflix and chilling, I think most of us are perpetually glued to our screens these days.
However, if you take a step back, lockdown or no lockdown, I think we’ve lost touch with the fine art of maintaining our hobbies. Especially creative hobbies. As kids, we were encouraged to have hobbies outside of studying and playing. Dance classes, painting lessons, singing practice, and so many more such things. But in the busyness of modern-day adult life, I think hobbies are the one of the first things that fall to the wayside.
I’d like to argue that it should not be the case. Developing and continuing to work on a hobby can be an excellent stress reliever, and I think they definitely make us more interesting by adding another facet to our personality. They can also help with our mental well-being, and keep our brains sharper even as we age.
Maybe this lockdown season was just the kick that we all needed to go back to basics. To going back to doing things that truly make us happy, instead of being constantly caught in the daily grind. To take pause, to re-discovering ourselves, and to grow. Taking up a creative hobby, or reviving an old one could be one of the best things you do for yourself during this time, or any other time really.
If you’re looking for some creative hobbies ideas that you can start now, here’s a list to get you started.
1| Try out a new form of journaling
Journaling has evolved way beyond the “Dear Diary” journals I used to keep during my school days. Creative journaling is a real thing – you only need to look at the entries under #creativejournaling on Instagram to get a whole bunch of ideas. And there are so many ways to “do” creative journaling. You can use stickers, colored pens, paints, paper cuttings – actually, just about anything, to get started. If you’re looking for some art journaling inspiration, check out Caylee’s creations and also the Get Messy community.
To start off, you can work on it once a week. Take a weekend, look up some creative journaling resources on YouTube or Pinterest or Instagram, gather your supplies, and spend a blissful few hours creating something on paper.
And of course, there is the whole world of bullet journaling, which I think is a skill in itself. As with any other form of journaling, I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to do bullet journaling, and it’s highly adaptable to your specific needs and wants. You can make it to be whatever you want it to be.
2| Build out a garden
Yes, even your garden by the window sill will count.
I think the “crazy plant lady” would be an awesome tag to earn! I can’t say I have a green thumb in particular. Way too many plants have already been sacrificed at the altar of my secret mission to earn that “crazy plant lady” status!!! But over these last few months, I’ve really enjoyed tending to our balcony garden at home.
Tending to a plant is a such a simple way to feel connected to the earth, which is something I think all of us can benefit from. Cultivating and maintaining a garden also requires a certain level of knowledge and skill – knowing something as basic as how many hours of sunlight a particular type of plant needs could be the difference between keeping it alive and thriving or seeing it drop off and die.
A herb garden could be an easy project to start off, and you can even start really small, with just a few pots on your window sill if that’s all the space you’ve got. I promise you, the thrill of new leaves sprouting on a plant you’re taking care of is a criminally underrated pleasure!
Hilton Carter’s book is filled with some dreamy, plant-filled inspirational images and also has loads of tips on how to maintain plants. I also found Devika Narain’s IGTV videos on taking care of indoor plants also incredibly helpful.
3| Take on a memory keeping project
Don’t let the title scare you. You absolutely do not need to be a seasoned scrapbooker to do this. Most of us are memory keepers anyway. All the photos that we upload to Instagram, all the words we pour out on stories, at the heart of it, it’s really a documentation of our memories, of moments in time we want to capture.
So there, you heard me right – you’re already a memory keeper.
Now, to build more intention into it, and to make it more of a hobby, why not start with a specific project? Day in the Life or A Week in the Life – two programs run by Ali Edwards – are perfect examples of memory keeping projects that you can complete within a relatively short period of time, and then depending upon your interest, you can take it even further. And while it may seem like you need a supplies (and Ali has some incredible products in her shop), at the end of the day, photos and words are pretty much all you need. Everything else is just fairy dust. :)
Azzari Jarrett is another memory keeper whose work I really enjoy.
4| Embrace your inner artist
Again, don’t be intimated by the word “artist”. We’re not talking about becoming the next best thing that the art world has seen, though you could totally go down that path if you so desire.
I am talking about expressing yourself by putting ink or pencil or paint to paper. You can doodle away to glory, or create elaborate layers pieces – it’s really about going with the flow and embracing the artist that I believe lives within all of us.
Art can be anything you want it to be. You can make it simple or complex, straight-forward or obtuse, deep or lighthearted, whatever, it does not matter. The important thing is that you create something that speaks to you.
Recommended: Laura Horn’s art classes are incredible too.
5| Learn Photography
In a lot of ways, photography is what really got me started into creative hobbies. Way back in 2011, when I was between jobs, I started getting really deep into photography, buying all the books, googling all sorts of photo tutorials, the works. At one point, I even had a Project365 going on. Ah, those days! Le sigh.
Anyway, gone are the days when you needed a bulky DSLR to truly learn the art of photography. Phone cameras are exceptionally skilled these days, and by learning the basics of photography, we can put those tiny yet mighty cameras to great use.
Learning photography skills is something you can do even without leaving the comfort of your home. In fact, I think it’s a fantastic way to get started, by focusing on subjects that you are familiar with, and have easy access to. If you’re living with others, you can start by exploring portraits. The kitchen and food in general is a minefield of photoshoot ideas. Even beauty and bath products can make for excellent subjects. Really, the possibilities are endless.
6| TRY out Hand-lettering (or Calligraphy IF YOU’re feeling ambitious)
Hand-lettering or calligraphy is not quite a lost art form, but given our massively tech-filled lives, I think there is a newfound appreciation for these arts.
It’s one of the many hobbies that I have tried out over the years and while it can look deceptively easy, it definitely requires a lot of practice to come out resembling anything decent, even if you’ve got incredible handwriting to begin with.
Hand-lettering is a relatively less elaborate form of calligraphy, though it can be complex in its own way, and you can get started with just a pen and some paper. And if you’re lacking for real calligraphy tools, you can even try your hand at some faux calligraphy.
This video shows 50 hand-lettering ideas (!!!) that you can try out.
7| Learn how to write poetry
Instagram has totally upended what I used to think classified as poetry and I am absolutely glad about that. Really, the rise of #Instapoetry is one of my favourite things about Instagram and I follow a whole lot of Instapoets (Atticus, Yung Pueblo, and F.E.Marie are some of my favourites) , and am constantly inspired by their creativity.
Now, whatever type of poetry you choose, be it the traditional format, or the looser, modern format, it’s really not as easy as it looks. Learning to write good poetry – words that will make people stop and feel something – is an art form in itself, I think. This short TED-Ed video talks about what makes poetry, poetry, and it sounds just about right to me.
Obviously, there are way more creative hobbies than the ones I’ve listen above, so if there’s anything I want to leave you with from this post is to just start with something. Your mind, heart and soul will thank you wholeheartedly for any creative hobby that you pursue. :)
And if you’re on the lookout for more creative resources, Skillshare is an excelling learning platform for so many creative hobbies. The options for learning are really endless!
So, what creative hobby are you starting off with? Are there any creative hobbies you’re already pursuing? Let me know in the comments below!