We’ve all been there. You wake up feeling totally overwhelmed by the day ahead, or you look at your phone after a meeting only to realize your to-do list just got that much longer. Perhaps your anxiety is less situation, and more over-arching. You spent the first few hours of the morning more focused on WHY you’re experiencing crippling anxiety, rather than adulting.
Whether you suffer from a general anxiety disorder or simply find yourself overwhelmed today, there are things you can do to tame the beast that is anxiety.
Check out these 9 hobbies that help combat anxiety.
Do something methodical
When it comes to taking on anxiety, you are walking into a full-fledged battle like none other. You don’t have to be caught up on the latest Marvel flick to know that you would never fight a battle without using your hands. The same is true in a battle of the mind.
We can become so focused and “in our heads” about overcoming the chaos in our minds, but sometimes all we need to do is stop, and use our hands.
1. Solve a puzzle
Dig out your favorite Thomas Kinkade and get to work putting together the pieces of a puzzle. You don’t have to do it all in one afternoon. In fact, invest in a puzzle felt, and whip that sucker out whenever you’re feeling anxious. Solve a few areas, or simply spend 30 minutes using your hands to treat your mind.
2. Build something
Again, taking your mind out of focus, and turning it toward the work of your hands, set out to put something together. Maybe your sister is having a baby and needs a changing table to be built. Perhaps you’re sitting at your desk just needing a brief escape from the stress. Whether it’s a full-on wood-shop masterpiece or a simple swan made out of paper, use your hands to combat the anxiety and stress of your mind.
3. Channel your inner photog.
Whether you’re rocking the latest Canon Mark series or do most of your snapping on portrait mode, combat that anxiety and stress by getting out with a camera. Maybe all you need is a quick 10-minute session in the courtyard of your office building, focusing on the beauty around you and not the stress that’s seemingly eating away at you.
4. Get stitching
You KNOW your grandma needs another pillow with 1 Corinthians 13 embroidered on it! Who better to stitch it up than yours truly? The repetitive motions of embroidery and hand-sewing are calming and methodical. They take your focus off of the chaos and organize your mind into small pink and yellow stitches on a grid. Keep a loop in your desk drawer, and whip it out when you need to refocus.
5. Color inside the lines
Adult coloring books are ALL the CRAZE right now. They provide an artistic outlet for all things anxiety and stress. Sharpen your colored pencils, and sit down with a patterned page that’s sure to release any anxious thoughts your harboring. Even better, grab an adult coloring book that doubles as a devotional, and spend time in the Word while using your hands to calm your mind.
6. Take a Hike
Or just a walk. Whatever your nature, get outside and step away from it all. Leave your phone in your pocket on airplane mode, and just soak up all the beauty that nature has to offer. Exercise is proven to reduce anxiety and stress. All it takes is a quiet walk around the block and a change of scenery from your cubicle to calm down and combat anxiety. Fill your lungs with fresh air, and your mind with peace.
7. Snuggle your pet — or someone else’s
If you don’t already have an emotional support animal, it’s about time to visit your local rescue shelter. Whether you opt to adopt, or simply spend an hour cuddling sweet little kittens, never underestimate the power of a snuggle.
8. Write it out
Though it’s done with your hands, I suppose writing it out could fall into the mental hobbies category. But when you find yourself overcome with anxiety and stress, put a pen on paper and write it out. You can write out your feelings, or make a list of all the things you’re grateful for. Escape from your everyday stress and write a fictional story. Start a blog about your interests, or simply write down every emotion you’re feeling in that moment. Whatever you choose to write, just do it. Let the pen lead the way, and give your brain the chance to take a backseat.
9. Join a gym
We’ve all heard of the anxiety-relieving benefits that come from hitting the gym. Of course, doing so can be easier said than done. Get yourself a gym buddy, and hold each other accountable to that Tuesday night Zumba class, or Thursday morning Yoga. Getting your hands (and entire body) moving, has countless benefits in overcoming anxiety and feeling good about yourself.
If you or someone you know suffers from anxiety, the most important thing I hope you take from this list is that you are not alone. More people in the world today suffer from anxiety than any other illness on the planet. We are perpetually stressed out, and there are tons of ways we allow that stress to fester. Combat your anxiety with these 9 hobbies that are sure to give your mind the release it needs to keep going.