“I’m a fan of art therapy. Just being creative helps. I think everyone is creative in their own way.”
Having a hobby is a great way to spend your spare time and unwind from your daily routine - whether it's learning a new skill, doing something outdoors, reading, or doing something musical or artistic.
Spending time on an activity that you enjoy can improve your mental health and wellbeing. Research shows that people with hobbies are less likely to suffer from stress, low mood, and depression. Activities that get you out and about can make you feel happier and more relaxed. Group activities like team sports can improve your communication skills and relationships with others.
Your interests may be creative, athletic, academic, or something distinctly personal. You may choose a hobby that you can do alone or as part of a group. Whatever your interests are, there is sure to be a hobby out there for you. What matters is that it is something you find meaningful and enjoyable.
A closer look
Recreational and relaxation activities reduce stress
In a recent survey on stress and wellbeing conducted by the Australian Psychological Society, 4 in 5 participants found activities like listening to music and spending time on a hobby moderately or highly effective in managing stress. (Source)
Getting involved in a creative hobby can make you feel better the next day
New Zealand scientists have found that engaging in creative behaviour such as a hobby leads to increases in wellbeing that lasts until the next day. This appears to lead to an upward spiral of increased wellbeing and creativity. Some activities included in the research were songwriting, creative writing, knitting and crochet, visual art, and musical performance. (Source)
Exploring creativity with others can support recovery
Engaging in community-based recreation, such as music or other creative arts or crafts, is thought to support recovery from mental health problems by improving self-esteem and social connection. (Source)
Physical activity through sport helps to enhance wellbeing
Team sport offers important opportunities for social relationships, friendship, and support that can contribute greatly to mental health. The 1.35 million Australian adults who take part regularly in some kind of team sport are less likely than the average Australian to experience depression, anxiety or stress. (Source)
You might find online and phone-based mental health resources helpful. Some suggestions are below. You can find more with our Search tool (opens in a new tab).