By Stefanie Smith
If you’ve retired from a full-time job, you may be at a loss for what to do to fill your time.
Some retirees use their newfound freedom to check stuff off their “to do” list. But after you’ve seen the sights, visited relatives, caught up on your reading list and organized your home, what’s next? It may be just the perfect time to pick up an old hobby, continue one you’re already experienced with or even try something new.
The Health Benefits of Hobbies
Besides being an activity where the main goal is doing something you enjoy, having a hobby can positively impact your life. Some examples include:
Stress relief: Doing a pleasurable activity can help you relax and take your mind off other things in your life.
A sense of purpose: The more you learn while doing your hobby, the more satisfied you’ll be with your progress and have a sense of accomplishment. A hobby can also give you something to look forward to doing.
Explore new frontiers: A hobby allows you to enjoy the process of learning something new without feeling discouraged if you’re not good at it right away. It can also encourage you to venture out of your comfort zone by picking something that challenges you in new ways.
Discover hidden talents: Until you try something, you’re never sure what you can do. A hobby can help you discover something you’re good at.
Earn additional income: You could find you’re good at something others will pay you to do.
Improved self-confidence: Learning something new and pushing your limits to achieve things you might not have thought were possible can give you a feeling of being able to do anything.
Gain new perspectives: By taking up a hobby, you’re certain to be exposed to new opinions, ideas and ways to look at life. You could even make new friends.
Improved memory and mood: Craft hobbies like sewing and beading can improve your focus to help ward off depression and memory loss. In addition, doing something because you want to do it can create excitement that can carry over into other areas of your life.
Hobbies to Consider
If you’re looking for some ideas for hobbies after retirement, here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Travel: Stay close to home or visit faraway places. Once you pick a spot, there are a lot of online resources to help you find things to do, sites to visit and places to stay that can accommodate a variety of budgets.
Volunteer: Whether once a week or every day, volunteering can enrich your life while making a difference in the lives of people in your community. Check with local libraries, schools, hospitals and nonprofit organizations that cater to causes you’re passionate about.
Arts and crafts: Try new artistic and creative endeavors or perfect ones you’ve enjoyed all your life. Some arts and crafts ideas include painting, making jewelry, knitting, quilting, pottery, woodworking, stained glass and gardening.
The performing arts: If you want hands-on involvement, call some local community theaters and community centers to see what opportunities exist. If you’d rather enjoy it from a seat in the audience, connect with your friends to see a weekly or monthly performance.
Clubs and associations: There are several local and national clubs and associations that can provide you with fun and engaging activities. A quick internet search or visit to your local community center is a great start.
Exercise: You could try a low-impact exercise routine like walking, swimming, yoga or tai chi to get in shape or help you stay in shape. Of course, make sure to talk to your health care provider before beginning any workout routine.
Cooking: Find inspiration in cookbooks, magazines or online cooking videos, and then try some recipes that appeal to you. You can also surprise neighbors by making baked goods.
Teach: Adult education programs are frequently looking for part-time evening instructors. You can teach a younger generation about your previous profession or one of your hobbies.
Connect with family: Invite your family over more often or offer to babysit your grandchildren so your kids can have some time to themselves.
Whichever hobby you choose, remember that it’s about staying active and having fun.
Stefanie Smith is the executive director of Clarendale Arcadia senior residences in Phoenix.