Maybe it was your New Year’s resolution (again), or maybe it was your best friend’s comment that “you need to get a life.” Whatever made you decide it’s time to learn a new skill or take up a hobby, you’re doing yourself a huge favor. Having a hobby or learning new skills can reduce your stress level, make you a more interesting person (and more employable), widen your social circle, and will give you more to talk about. Read on for suggestions on fun hobbies/skills that people of any age can learn online or with a group of friends. For even more ideas, check out these 150-plus hobby ideas broken down by interest and personality.

Learn a New Language

Reboot your mind & soul

To challenge your brain, up your earning potential, and broaden your horizons, there’s nothing like learning a new language. Check out free apps like Duolingo.

Learn How to Play a Musical Instrument

Studies have proven that learning to play an instrument is one of the most effective ways to improve your cognitive abilities. You can learn how to play everything from cellos, tubas, flutes online, but nothing beats the socialisation of playing music with others. For great tips on buying the right musical instrument for you, read here.

Get Your Body Moving

If learning an instrument isn’t your thing, maybe you’ll enjoy moving to the music instead. Dance has a number of very positive benefits for mental and physical health, particularly for seniors or those with substance abuse problems. According to Treehouse Rehab, “One of the best benefits of dancing is that you can do it in the privacy of your own home (provided you have the space) or in a classroom setting, which can help you socialize. It’s also a great way to get in shape and learn about your own body’s abilities and limits in a healthy way.”

Get Crafty

There are so many crafts and so little time — from knitting and photography to making jewellery or soap — learning any of these activities has been shown to stimulate the brain. Many of these activities are also great fun when done as a social activity. Search online to find classes in your area, as well as in arts and crafts and home improvement stores. Your hobby could even turn into a business you promote on Etsy, or you might even start your own blog.

Get Physical!

Whether you take those salsa classes you’ve always yearned for or sign up for tennis lessons, the benefits of exercise are huge! You’ll get your cardio in, increase your flexibility (and confidence level!), and maybe make some new friends. From archery to yoga, there are fun physical activities for everyone. Google classes in your area and Just Do It.

Take Up Gardening

Between the fresh air and tending to your plants and flowers, gardening is food for the soul. It’s great for the immune system too. As author Joel Salatin says, “A little dirt don’t hurt!” You can beautify your yard, grow some organic veggies, and burn some calories while you’re at it.

Find Your Bliss in the Kitchen

Julia Child said that until she discovered cooking, she was never really interested in anything. Even if you’ve never followed a single recipe, you’ll feel like Julia Child after checking out these top YouTube channels that will make you a better cook.

Discover Your Roots

According to articles in Time and USA Today, family history research is the second most popular hobby in the United States. Mark Orwig, managing editor of Genealogy: Ultimate Beginners Guide, says that genealogy is a lot like putting together a jigsaw puzzle but without the photo on the box and with some of the pieces missing. Rather than being a tedious task, it can be tremendously fun and rewarding, as well as a wonderful legacy for your offspring.

As you pursue your new hobby, you’ll quickly catch on to all there is to gain, not only from the sense of accomplishment you’ll experience but from the social and health benefits as well. Hobbies are an invaluable way to interact with others in a way that’s comfortable for you.

When it comes to your hobby, you are in control of how much time you can devote and what kind of social interactions you’d like. The bottom line is that the world doesn’t seem as stressful or lonely when you lose yourself learning to play the flute or mastering the art of origami. Enjoy!

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