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13 New Hobbies to Master During Quarantine

If you want to make the most of your time social distancing, try these quarantine hobbies.


MARCH 30, 2020

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, millions of us are searching for ways to stay entertained at home. But if your newly socially-isolated life has been confined to binging TV shows and raiding the liquor cabinet, it might be time to consider a new approach. Immersing yourself in a new hobby is a proven boon to mental health and stress reduction, and with most of us spending our days cooped up inside, it’s never been more important to prioritize your well-being. From flexing your creative muscles to mastering entirely new skills, here are a few quarantine hobbies to master during your coronavirus-related downtime.

1. Learn a new language.

Girl taking an online class

Maybe you always wanted to find the time to master Spanish or Mandarin—and there are no barriers now to achieving fluency in a new language. Both Duolingo and Babbel are learning apps featuring expert-crafted courses for everyone from absolute beginners to those who simply want to fine-tune their fluency. The free apps engage you in conversation and offer real-time feedback, so you can quickly begin to speak with confidence on any manner of subjects.

2. Bake or cook something special.

Mother and daughter baking

Instead of hitting up Amazon Fresh for grocery deliveries, it’s now time—we know you have it—to see if local independent grocers or farmer’s markets offer delivery. If they do, go ahead and order ingredients to cook something beyond your regular quick-dinner rotation.

Small specialty food stores might also carry baking kits that can help you whip up a sweet masterpiece. Instead of binging The Great British Bake Off again, get off the couch and whip up something spectacular yourself.

3. Become a yogi.

Woman doing yoga at home

From Yoga With Adriene on YouTube to apps like Glo, there are loads of great online resources to help you build a gentle daily yoga practice at home. Whether you’re looking to enhance flexibility or progress to some impressive positions, use your reclaimed commute time to pack in a perfect morning stretch.

4. Start a podcast.

Man making a podcast

Got a story to share with the world? Now is the perfect time to start a podcast. The bare minimum required to record is a computer with a USB microphone and internet access; get your first episode under your belt, and then progress to higher-quality equipment.

While all you need to start is an idea and the conviction to follow through, there are loads of helpful articles online about format development and reaching listeners, as well as the start-to-finish recording, editing, and publishing process.

5. Become a book worm.

Couple reading side by side

Is this your moment to finally tackle your to-read pile? While many libraries have closed, there are still loads of e-books and audio books available to borrow online—all accessible through your local library’s website.

Looking to read and chat about your reading? Check out author Robert Macfarlane’s #CoReadingVirus book club, now on Twitter. There are three choices for the group’s first book: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall KimmererThe Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd, and George Eliot’s Middlemarch.

6. Do puzzles and play games.

Person doing a crossword puzzle in the newspaper

A great way to put your brain to work while in quarantine is by doing a puzzle. Whether it’s a traditional jigsaw or a Sudoku book, puzzles are mentally stimulating and easily accessible.

Looking to challenge your fellow quarantined friends? Popular card game Cards Against Humanity has launched a free virtual game room where up to six friends can see the game in real time while keeping their individual hands to themselves.

7. Get moving.

Girl doing at home workout with laptop

If it’s your body that needs exercise right now, check to see if local fitness studios are streaming sessions with instructors. Home-cycling giant Peloton may have closed their brick-and-mortar doors, but the company is offering new users a 90-day trial on their app, featuring new content from their New York studios. Planet Fitness is offering “Home Work-Ins” streamed live at 7 p.m. ET daily on their Facebook page. And Gold’s Gym is offering free access to the Gold’s Amp digital personal trainer app through the end of May, with more than 600 audio and video workouts to challenge you to work up a sweat.

8. Learn to play guitar.

Man doing online guitar lesson

If you’re looking to transform your atonal strumming into a genuinely pleasant sound, there’s no better time to finally master the acoustic guitar than while in self-isolation. Award-winning folk artist Laura Marling is running a series of “isolation guitar tutorials” every Sunday and Tuesday on her Instagram page. With Marling breaking down the basic chord progressions in some of her biggest hits, you’ll be strumming along in no time at all.

9. Give meditation a try.

Woman meditating with earphones in

Worried about tomorrow? Meditation can help you focus on today. Being mindful of what’s happening in the moment is difficult amid COVID-19, but it can also help us cope during an unsettling time.

If self-quarantining increases your anxiety, mindfulness meditation has been proven to alleviate stress, depression, and insomnia. Apps like HeadspaceCalm, and the UCLA Mindful App offer an array of free mindfulness meditations for any length and any mood.

10. Take up knitting.

Woman teaching man to knit

Want to take up a hobby that’s a little more old-school? Thanks to its repetitive nature, knitting is probably one of the most mindful pursuits out there. Find a trove of content for beginner knitters at YouTube, with tutorials from how to nail the essential knit stitch to switching up your designs through colors and patterns. By the time we emerge from lockdown, you could have a brand new, one-of-a-kind scarf to sport.

11. Give dance a go.

Woman doing at home dance lesson on tv in living room

Dancers, choreographers, and studios are still keeping people moving through COVID-19—now through online platforms like Instagram Live and Zoom. With an abundance of class options—from beginner to professional, ballet to Bollywood—you can dance in your kitchen like no one is watching, and try new styles with zero pressure. Outlets like Steezy StudioDancing Alone Together, and 305 Fitness collectively offer hundreds of dance selections, all at minimal cost and maximal stress relief.

12. Make some music.

Man on his laptop with headphones at home

Now that Moog Music has made its music-making app available for free, anyone can try their hand at creating a hit song. Their Model D app is a faithful reproduction of the original analog circuit designs of the world’s first portable keyboard synthesizer, allowing you to create some classic ’80s sounds.

13. Try gardening.

Man gardening

If you’re lucky enough to be in lockdown with a patch of green space to tend to, why not make the most of it by mastering some gardening skills? A Google or YouTube search can provide a wealth of information on what plants thrive in your area, how to tend to your plants, keeping your soil healthy, and attracting new wildlife into your garden.

It’s also deeply fulfilling to clear weeds, plant some bulbs, and witness your hard work pay off. Plus, you’ll have a relaxing and beautiful space to chill out while staying safe at home.

Published at BestLife.

Tracy Collins Ortlieb is an award-winning journalist and copywriter. Ortlieb specializes in parenting and family, travel and hospitality, and legal topics for such outlets as Parents, SheKnows, and Avvo. She lives in Chicago with her husband and daughters.