The likelihood of me leaving the house for anything other than essentials (like work and obtaining groceries) decreases exponentially with the temperature outside. Below freezing? Yeah, probably staying indoors. 10 degrees with a wind chill? Screw the groceries, see you next April.
For the days (or, let’s face it, months) when the weather is less-than-ideal, it’s easy for our productivity—and general satisfaction with life—to come to a screeching halt as we hole up with blankets, junk food, and a long, long Netflix queue.
Don’t get me wrong: I love a good Netflix queue. But it’s difficult enough for busy people to maintain affirming, fulfilling hobbies as it is. Add a snowstorm into the mix, and suddenly an entire season is reduced to a placeholder (especially after the holidays end) for all the stuff we’ll probably start up again once the world thaws.
If you don’t want to spend all winter feeling frozen in time, here’s a list of fun, fulfilling hobbies you can start within the comfort (and warmth!) of your own home.
1. Experiment in the kitchen.
When it comes to cooking, there are two kinds of people: Those who cook to live and those who live to cook. Try venturing into the second category by trying new dishes, recipes, and methods. Experiment with new cuisines or flavor profiles and get creative.
Where to start: If cooking anything beyond the basics feels totally out of your wheelhouse, try investing in a good cookbook first. As new recipes and new flavor combinations work for you, you’ll need to use cookbooks less and less to whip up something great.
2. Stay balanced with yoga.
Starting yoga could be the perfect way to keep in tune with your body during those pesky winter months, when health and balance typically go haywire.
Where to start: If you think yoga is something you have to leave the house for, think again. There are amazing online services out there (like YogaGlo) that provide similar experiences to in-person classes for fairly affordable rates (YogaGlo costs $18/month for unlimited access to classes of all levels). Sign up for a service you like, and commit to completing a video every few days. You’ll feel better for it.
3. Learn a new language.
Why not spend all winter learning a new language, then try out your newfound skills on your spring or summer vacation? This hobby will keep your mind stimulated and, if you keep it up, give your resume a major boost.
Where to start: Download a language app (like DuoLingo) to your phone. Pick a language and start learning! It really is that simple.
4. Sharpen your writing skills.
While natural ability will always play a part in most talents, writing is first and foremost a learned skill. If you’ve ever wished you were a better writer, you’re in luck, because you totally can be. You just need practice.
Where to start: If you feel like you have a lot of learning to do, check out writing courses on Skillshare. If your goal is to get creative juices flowing, then write for the sake of writing. Make a plan for how often you want to write, then find a list of writing prompts you like (here’s one) and get started! You can complete the prompt with as little or as much written word as you want. If you want something more interactive, sign up for Daily Page. Every day you’ll receive a new prompt, and you have until the end of the day to complete it. Once finished, you have the choice to share your writing publicly or keep it private.
5. Unwind with knitting.
Knitting makes the perfect hobby for a number of reasons. For one, once you’ve got the basics down, you can do it while also doing other things (like watching TV or listening to a great podcast or audiobook). This hobby actually makes a night in with Netflix productive, because you’ll end up with sweaters and scarves and hats at the end. Win-win in our book.
Where to start: You’ll need a pair of knitting needles, yarn, a crochet hook for picking up dropped stitches, and a yarn needle for joining pieces of knitting together. Then, you’ll want to pick a pattern to start. If you’re a total beginner, take a look at these classes to help you get started.
6. Reconnect with your inner kid.
Remember when you were young and a night playing board games or doing puzzles was considered a night well spent? We sure do. As adults, why can’t spending time with friends and family (with some good old-fashioned entertainment) be a hobby? You’ll bond with loved ones, stimulate the brain, and pass the time with some lighthearted (or ultra-competitive, if you’re into that) fun.
Where to start: First, pick your board games (duh). Then, on a night you’d otherwise spend curled up watching TV, opt to play the games with your significant other, roommates, or friends. If you’re feeling extra fancy, make board game nights (complete with wine and cheese) a weekly gathering among your group of friends. If puzzles are more your jam, here’s a list of the best selling puzzles on Amazon. If you don’t have kids or pets that will make a mess of it, leave your puzzle out on the coffee table to revisit throughout the day.
7. Start a new workout plan.
How does that saying go? Summer bodies are earned in the winter? Don’t let your health fall by the wayside as temperatures drop! Commit to a workout plan you can complete without stepping outside.
Where to start: Find a plan. If you’re willing to invest, Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide is an Instagram favorite. If you’d rather not shell out the cash, here’s a great list of free and cheap online workout plans.
8. Create beautiful calligraphy.
What if you could learn a new skill and send out Christmas cards in perfectly lettered envelopes? All it takes is some basic tools and a little practice.
Where to start: As far as equipment goes, you’ll need tracing paper (and regular paper to practice on), a nib, ink, a pen holder, and a practice grid. Then find a calligraphy class on Skillshare or check out blog resources like Julie Blanner’s How to Learn Calligraphy in Five Days.
Winter can be a tough time with the frigid conditions and lack of sunlight. Staying engaged and busy with activities you enjoy is a great way to stay healthy, balanced, and happy during the coldest and darkest time of the year. Remember, new skills take time and practice, so commit yourself to devoting time to your activity at least once every few days. Happy hobby time!