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PEDSTRIAN.TV has partnered with Queensland Health to help you improve your mental wellbeing.

As the world slowly returns to some level of normality, who can forget that much of 2020 has been spent indoors. Some may have used that time to browse their Netflix queues, while others have embarked on a healthy journey of self-improvement and taken up a million hobbies (read: learned to do leavened from scratch) and reaped the mental wellness benefits of learning something new.

JJust because we’re back in the great beyond doesn’t mean we have to give up all the hobbies we picked up during lockdown. In fact, we should make it our mission to keep improving and learning new skills for the rest of this year (and all eternity while we’re at it).

When it comes to the number of hobbies you can acquire, there is literally no limit. There’s always more room in your brain to learn new skills, and there are endless benefits to doing so. Lifelong learning is not only great for your mental well-being, but can also help refresh old and unhelpful thought patterns, improving our ability to make decisions and solve problems.

If you want to keep getting on the self-improvement bandwagon, we’ve rounded up 8 healthy hobbies to add to your success list – we promise they’ll be fun.

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Tender ear

Podcasts have struck the perfect balance between books and television, while somehow being neither. You can listen to them in bed, in the bath or on the go and they’re the perfect way to entertain and educate on the go.

Luckily for us, people seem to love making them as much as we love listening to them, so there’s no shortage of bangers to provide endless entertainment. Whether you’re looking for soulful music, sleepy stories, or a history lesson, there’s something for every type of listener. If you’ve promised to practice mindfulness but never seem to find the time, a little poddy episode a day is the way to go. The conscious gender by Rachael Kable is the top-rated mindfulness podcast, packed with helpful information on topics like managing workplace stress, dealing with decision-making anxiety, and positive activities to start your day . Bypass it el pronto and start prioritizing your mental well-being.

Dirty those hands

Most of us probably don’t realize this, but you don’t have to be an artist to make awesome art. The best part of creativity is the actual process, not the end result. Getting your hands dirty and laughing along the way is a great way to de-stress and relax – plus, you might even have something to hang over the fireplace at the end. There are many ways to be both artistic and crafty, from origami-making to paint-by-numbers and pottery – it’s just a matter of finding the right medium that speaks to you. It takes a bit of trial and error, but you’ll learn a lot about yourself in the process.

Rachael Sarra is an incredible Indigenous artist and designer who understands the transformative power of art. In fact, she’s so supportive of him that she’s partnered with Queensland Health for their mental wellness campaign, Dear Mind. Reflecting on what her artistic creativity has done for her, she said, “Art has played a central role in maintaining healthy well-being. He is able to give me a voice when I don’t have the words to express what I feel. This process allows me to process what I feel in a way that I am always comfortable with.

And, when it comes to getting started, Rachael says the best thing to do is just jump in without thinking too much about it. “Come in and start. Explore an art store and ask a few questions about the products or tools that set you apart. Many art stores also offer occasional classes throughout the week. A lot of artists have found their niche by experimenting and making mistakes,” she said.

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Get some attention

Mindfulness is huge right now – and for good reason. It’s about training your mind to focus on the present moment and it’s an amazing addition to your self-care routine. The range of benefits is extremely wide, but includes reducing stress, managing depression and anxiety, improving attention and boosting creativity. Are you ready to register?

If you want to make mindfulness your new hobby but don’t know where to start, the App Store is actually a great place. Here you can download hundreds of apps that will help you incorporate a daily mindfulness practice. A few choices include Aura, Calm, and Coloring Book for Me. You’ll need to keep going for at least five to ten minutes a day for a few weeks, but once you feel the benefits, there’s no going back.

Bend your brain with a puzzle

By definition, hobbies are things you do for fun, and what greater pleasure is there in this life than beating a seemingly impossible puzzle? There is no shortage of puzzles to exercise your brain and improve your abstract reasoning. Plus, it’s a great way to pass the time if you have a few minutes to spare here or there or a few dedicated hours.

If you like to torture yourself, you might even get one of these rainbow or black puzzles. It will keep you busy for days or even weeks, and you will almost certainly be a better person in the end. Plus, if you’re looking to spend more family time or have a roommate bonding session, nothing will bring you closer than the satisfaction of a jointly constructed puzzle, trust me.

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Take your cooking apron

Last year, you probably noticed that thousands of people turned to baking to pass the time. Why? It’s fun, educational, and you get a delicious treat at the end – a triple win.

Whether you’re baking homemade sourdough bread, focaccia, or delicious banana bread, baking is an incredibly rewarding activity and has in fact been described as “meditation in disguise.” Yes, it’s really therapeutic to do something with your hands and take a break from the stresses of life.

Once you’ve made something a few times and perfected the flavor, texture, and appearance, you’re sure to be very satisfied. Be sure to enjoy your creation once it’s fresh out of the oven, you deserve it.

Have a seam

Last year everyone really took to sewing as another way to pass the time and honestly we still support it. When the world gets a little too much, stitching reminds us of a simpler time when you could just sit down and do some magic with colored yarn.

There are a million and one tutorials online that will show you how to use a needle and thread. It looks a lot harder than it is, but it’s like riding a bike – once you know how it’s done, it’s pretty hard to forget. Once you’ve mastered the logistics, you can sew your mom a beautiful cushion cover or make your ex a voodoo doll — the sky really is the limit. Plus, it’s one of those everlasting skills that always come in handy, especially when that pesky button once again falls off your favorite coat. We may be living in the 21st century, but it’s a skill that’s going nowhere, now is the time to lean in.

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sweat

Exercise has far more benefits than getting us in shape. It’s as good for our mental well-being as it is for our physical health, so squirming in one way or another is a great all-around pastime.

Studies have shown that exercising 30 minutes (or more) a day for 3-5 days a week causes our bodies to release feel-good endorphins and can distract us from worry. If you don’t feel like pounding the pavement with an energizing walk or 10k run, slower activities like yoga and pilates are just as effective.

Flirting with speaking fluently

With international travel currently off the table, there’s never been a better time to get down to business and learn a language. If you’re wondering why it’s beneficial to speak a different dialect, the benefits of multilingualism include increased brain power, improved memory, and improved decision-making. If you have scars after your 8th grade French exam, don’t worry. It can take as little as 15 minutes a day to learn a new language. Apps like Hubbub and Duolingo are a great starting point, you’ll be bilingual before you know it.

When international travel reopens and you tour the world, you’ll speak like a true local – svery useful when you are lost or need to locate the best croissant in Paris.

8 Healthy Hobbies You Can Do This Weekend That Won't Require You To Lose A Lot Of Money

Image: Ratatouille