Things to Do

10 Indoor Hobbies to Get You Through the Winter

written by DARYL LINDSEY

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Source: @mylittlebooktique
Source: @mylittlebooktique

As the temperature outside drops, the likelihood of me leaving the house for anything other than essentials decreases exponentially. If it’s below freezing? Yeah, I’m probably staying indoors. When it’s 10 degrees with a wind chill? Forget the groceries, see you next April. For the days (or 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. But if streaming has already gotten old only a few weeks into the season, it’s time to consider trying out some new winter hobbies.

Don’t get me wrong—relaxation and rest are super important, but long winter days can quickly lead to boredom without something to occupy your time. If you don’t want to spend all season feeling frozen in time (pun intended), here’s a list of fun, fulfilling winter hobbies you can start in the comfort (and warmth) of your own home.

1. Make reading a habit

Is there anything better than cozying up with a good book on a cold winter day? I think not, which is why it’s #1 on this list of winter hobbies. Reading is a great way to escape from the day’s stress, take in some screen-free entertainment, or fuel your creativity at a time when you otherwise might feel like you’re in a slump. There’s something for every mood or need, so you’ll never run out of material.

Where to start

Head to your local library and sign up for a library card if you don’t already have one. Start small with just one or two books that pique your interest, and find a way to work reading into your daily routine, whether that’s right before bed, during your lunch break, or on the commuter train to work. Even if you just read a few pages a day, you’ll be headed back to the library for a fresh set of books in no time.

2. Experiment with baking

If you’re anything like me, you’ve watched enough episodes of The Great British Baking Show to know that baking is harder than it looks. It’s a skill that takes time and lots of practice to master, and what better way to heat up your house in the dead of winter than by whipping up a bunch of tasty treats? 

Where to start

Pick a favorite treat that you’d love to master, like the perfect New York-style bagel or super-soft chocolate chip cookies. Find a recipe online or in a cookbook and get baking! When you try your creation, get really granular about how it tastes, looks, and feels, and if needed, tweak the recipe and try again until you achieve your desired result. Bonus points if you brave the cold to share some treats with friends or neighbors!

Source: @laurenireland

3. Stay balanced with yoga

Even if you’re more of a HIIT or treadmill kind of girl, think of yoga as an exercise for stress relief rather than just physical benefits. Certain yoga poses can help relieve anxiety or lessen the effects of sitting at a desk all day. Try adding a yoga practice into your daily routine to deepen your breath, stay connected to your body, and make it to summer with as little stress as possible. 

Where to start

If setting aside time for yoga seems difficult to fit into your schedule, incorporate some flows and poses into your daily routine. For example, try an energizing flow first thing in the morning to wake you up, a wind-down flow before bed, or sit in child’s pose whenever you start feeling stressed. 

4. Flex your cooking skills

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. Yes, the food you eat for nutrition, pleasure, and comfort can also be an enjoyable way to pass the time and get your creative juices flowing when you’re stuck indoors through the season.

Where to start

If cooking anything beyond the basics feels totally out of your wheelhouse, try investing in a good cookbook first. As you get used to new recipes and flavor combinations, you’ll rely on your cookbooks less and less to whip up something great.

Source: @ashbegash

5. 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. Plus, you’ll challenge your mind and have a goal to work toward (like watching that French film without subtitles), which always makes hobbies more fulfilling. 

Where to start

Learning a new language doesn’t have to be complicated. Download a language app (like Duolingo) on your phone so you can pick it up anytime, whether you’re waiting for your laundry cycle to finish, standing in line at the grocery store, or staying at home. Pick a language and start learning! It really is that simple.

6. Sharpen your writing skills

Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones with a natural talent for words, but writing is first and foremost a learned skill. Plus, it’s not just a fun, creative outlet—writing skills are also important for business emails, communication between loved ones, and as a way to express yourself. 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 a platform like Skillshare. If your goal is to get creative juices flowing, then make your own prompts (or find some online) and start writing. You can complete the prompt with as few or as many words 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.

7. Unwind with knitting

Knitting is a classic hobby for a number of reasons. 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 can end up with a sweater, scarf, or hat at the end. Win-win!

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, browse YouTube or take a look at these classes to help you get started.

Source: @bykwest

8. Start a new workout plan

I know, I know. You just rolled your eyes at the suggestion that a workout plan could actually be considered a “hobby.” But workouts don’t have to be forced, painful, or boring. In fact, your workout plan should feel like a hobby, whether it’s a relaxing yoga flow after a long day or an energizing dance class that reminds you of a GNO when it’s too cold to actually go to a club. 

Where to start

If you want to switch things up, try an at-home workout platform like Alo Moves or Obé Fitness, where you can find tons of classes to stream live or on-demand at home. Try a wide range of classes for everything from cardio to sculpt to yoga, so you can find the routine that is the most fun for you. Some online workout services also offer programs that’ll give you a goal to work toward. 

9. Reconnect with your inner child with games

Remember when you were young and a night playing board games or doing puzzles was considered a night well spent? 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 out some board games you loved as a kid or new ones you want to try. Then, on an evening you’d otherwise spend curled up watching TV, have a game night with your significant other, roommates, or friends. If you’re feeling extra fancy, make it a weekly tradition (complete with wine and cheese) among your group of friends. If puzzles are more your jam, order one from Amazon and get to work. 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 it throughout the day.

10. Start an indoor herb garden

Gardening doesn’t have to be an outdoor activity reserved for summertime. Keeping a few different herbs indoors not only adds a refreshing feel to your home (and makes for pretty decor!), but it also means more flavorful, healthy meals for a fraction of the price of store-bought herbs. The best part? It’s so easy to start and keep up an indoor herb garden, you don’t even need a green thumb to do it. 

Where to start

First, decide which herbs you’d like to grow and where you’ll keep them. Parsley, cilantro, and basil are good herbs to start with indoors because they require less sunlight and give obvious signs if they need more or less water (AKA they’re pretty foolproof). If you are lucky enough to get lots of sunshine year-round, put plants right by the window to get six to eight hours of sunlight daily. And if you really want to get legit or aren’t sure if you’ll get enough sunlight from the slit they call a window in your studio apartment (me!), try an indoor smart garden to take the guesswork out of it.