Are you looking for an affordable hobby to combat anxiety? Anyone who knows me can tell you that I’ve always been an anxious person, but it’s not really a pleasant feeling most of the time and I’ve been on the lookout for activities I can do at home to relax. I’m an over-thinker, a worrier, and my mind likes to race to all kinds of places for basically no good reason at all. If you are a fellow worry-mom, you know what I’m talking about here. You’ll be nice and tired, ready to cozy up and rest once the kids go to sleep, but your brain has other ideas.
It starts out pretty typically for me: Did I turn off the stove? Are all the windows closed? Is the door locked? Did I plug the baby monitor in? Is everybody good? But at times, when my mind just doesn’t settle down as fast as my body, I run out of reasonable things to stress over. This is where the fun begins. What should we eat for dinner 5 days from now? Did I pay that bill that I literally just paid this morning and specifically remember paying? Better check just to be safe!
Maybe I should just make a list of things that are stressful and think about them each for a little while, just to really get in the mood to sleep soundly. What was that noise? Do raccoons come into people’s houses? I should go look, and while I’m up I might as well get a snack. Did I remember to turn the stove off again?
See how fast that gets way out of hand? I think that when I go, go, go during the day with the kids and the other things I try and fit in around the kids, I end up in mental overdrive without even realizing it. You’d think that feeling tired would equal good sleep, but I’ve found that it can end up being the opposite if I don’t settle my crazy down first. Luckily, I’ve always enjoyed being a homebody and there are some really great activities for winding down at home.
Yep, good old jigsaw puzzles! I find them relaxing, and generally find that my mind doesn’t wander a whole lot when I’m working on one. It’s really hard to try and multi-task when your focus is on a puzzle, because it takes a lot of concentration. Not a lot of room left for my worrywart tendencies, win! Puzzles are super good for your brain, too. I remember reading a while back that spending time on hobbies which actually exercise your brain can reduce your chances of a lot of memory-related illnesses later in life.
It’s got to be good for you physically too, if you find that it relieves stress (which can cause all kinds of problems). You can buy them online (Amazon is my go-to for everything), but I’ve also picked them up at places like Walmart for really cheap. I think the one that my husband and I are working on now cost $12 and I can tell you that you’ll get a lot of hours worth of entertainment for that kind of price.
I personally love to crochet, but knitting is another great one too as it serves the same purpose. You can find everything you need at places as common as Walmart, and for very little expense. I think I’ve even bought yarn at the dollar store before, so you can’t beat that! Once you get used to crocheting or knitting you might want to buy somewhat nicer materials just because the finished product will improve, but it’s a great stress-buster no matter what you’re using.
I have been crocheting to combat anxiety for years now, and it remains a favorite. One of the specific perks I like about crocheting compared to other hobbies is that it’s super portable. I can pack my yarn into a pretty small bag and take it anywhere I want or into any room of the house with very little hassle.
Yeah, you heard me right! But these are not the paintings you might have done as a kid. I discovered a few years ago that there’s an enormous selection of paint-by-number kits for adults, and I seriously LOVE them. This is a great hobby to combat anxiety because it will grab your focus for hours at a time. You can find these at a lot of price points, depending on what quality or size you want to get into. I’ve seen kits as low as $8-10 and as much as $300+, but this is another hobby that will net you a lot (a lot!) of hours of entertainment for whatever you spend on it, so I try to account for that when I make my purchases.
My favorite brand for its affordability and quality is Plaid. You can find them online or at Hobby Lobby (maybe other craft stores too but I’m not sure on the brand specifics of many others) and Plaid usually runs about $16 for a 16×20 inch painting. I like those a lot because they’re affordable and they don’t require any mixing of colors.
This one really doesn’t need much of an explanation, but reading is so calming to me. Even going to the library is relaxing because it’s one of the only places I can always count on to be quiet. I love having a book in my hands, but I like e-books too for the convenience. I recently learned that I can borrow e-books from the library for free and read them on my Kindle.
You may already be an avid reader, whether it’s to combat anxiety or not. However, I added it to the list because our digital generation has made it easy for anyone to have access to great books for cheap or even free. (Even if you don’t have the time to get to a library in person!) I love getting lost in a good story and my mind very rarely wanders from it if I find a great read.
Being a parent is already so fast-paced that I don’t like my down time to be that way too. I just want to curl up on the couch with something that relaxes me before I go to bed. Another benefit to most of what I listed here is that there are really great groups and communities of people who enjoy them on Facebook and other sites, so it’s a pretty neat way to make friends with similar interests. I’d really love to know if you’ve tried any of these hobbies to combat anxiety, or if you already otherwise enjoy them!