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Is it just me, or does the word “hobby” sound like an important commitment? It reminds me of something you do for hours on end when you have a whole weekend free. Between balancing a full-time job, running errands and regular chores, and maintaining some semblance of a social life, it’s not a luxury I experience often. But I realized that hobbies don’t have to be activities you invest a ton of time in. They can be something you pick up when you have a little free time and put it aside when life gets in the way. If you need inspiration for simple activities to fill your hours after work, here are 10 hobbies you can easily incorporate into your 5 to 9 routine.

1. Reading

Reading is one of those hobbies that you can take up anytime, anywhere. If it’s been a while since you read something just for fun, let that be your sign. Compile a TBR (to-be-read) list of all the books you wanted to read. Then, make it your goal to check everything off. And if buying a bunch of books seems like too big an investment, turn to your local library. Most have a huge selection of genres, including old favorites and brand new releases.

2. Savings

Are you hoping to quit your online shopping habit? Saving can be a way to eliminate that shopping itch without spending a ton of money or contributing to more waste. Stop by your local thrift store on the way home from work and sort through the shelves for hidden gems. Whether you’re shopping for your home or your wardrobe, the thrill of the hunt makes any purchase more rewarding.

3. Non-competitive sports

Recreational sports don’t have to be as involved as playing in a competitive league. If you want physical activity without pressure, try a sport that is a little less demanding. Racquetball, tennis, and pickleball are all fairly simple to master and can be played with just one other person. Hit the courts after work to sweat it out and release some of the pent-up energy of the day.

4. Cook

You have to eat anyway, so why not make meal prep something you love? If you’ve never been a great cook, start by learning basic cooking skills, like how to use knives safely and know when something’s done. Then practice by experimenting with new recipes. Food tastes even better when paired with the satisfaction of knowing you made it yourself.

Source: ColorJoy Stock

5. Arts and crafts

Most of us did all kinds of arts and crafts projects when we were kids, but these activities tend to get pushed aside as we move into adulthood. Think back to the type of projects you enjoyed the most growing up and try yourself again. Whether you choose painting, drawing, pottery, or simply coloring, this stress-free hobby is one your inner child will love.

6. Brain Games

For something a little more complicated than staring mindlessly at a screen every night, try testing your brain with simple games. Sudoku, crosswords and solitaire are great pastimes that challenge your brain while providing the fun of playing a game. Find one you like and use it to distract you from work at the end of the day.

7. Indoor gardening

No, picking up a random plant from the store, putting it on your windowsill, and watching it slowly die doesn’t count. If you really want to make indoor gardening a hobby, arm yourself with the knowledge and tools you’ll need to make your plants thrive. Start with a houseplant care book if you’re a complete beginner, and be sure to read up on the varieties you choose so you know exactly how to care for them. Most of the time, your plants won’t need much of you, but nurturing another living thing over time can be a very rewarding experience.

8. Assemble puzzles

A puzzle is something you can easily work on over time and come back to when you have a free moment. And luckily for us design lovers, puzzles have gotten a whole lot prettier over the years. There are some truly gorgeous ones available now that can fit any aesthetic. If you make one that feels particularly special, frame it like art!

9. Sewing

There are tons of different types of needlework that you can easily pick up on a whim. Knitting, crocheting, embroidering, needle punching, etc. And if you’re worried about the learning curve, don’t be. Start with a kit designed for beginners, and you’ll have all the supplies and instructions you need to make something beautiful.

10. Logging

Journaling is one of the best ways to wind down at the end of the day, reflect on your thoughts, and work through your feelings. To make it a hobby you love, try whatever format works best for you. Keeping a manifestation journal is great if you’re very goal-oriented. The gratitude journal can help you take stock of your life and appreciate what you have. If you’re feeling artistic, try bullet journaling and get creative by decorating the pages with colorful markers and stickers.

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