Slow living is a movement that embraces slowing down and living a simpler life. Cultivating slow living hobbies or activities is a way to spend your free time in a way that reflects this and guides you to live more fully in the present. The process of creating, cooking, moving, and pondering offers a way to connect with yourself and appreciate life’s little joys in the process.
If you want to discover what slow living is about, check out this article I wrote on The Art of Living: A Guide to Slowing Down.
Benefits of Practicing Slow Living Hobbies
Having a hobby is more than just a way to pass the time. Slow living hobbies enrich your life with experiences, relieve stress, cultivate patience, increase self-esteem, help you build new skills, and give you something meaningful to do. Overall, adopting a hobby you enjoy can bring fulfillment and joy into your life.
Cultivates Slowness and Presence
Slow living requires us to slow down, both in our actions and in our minds. Practicing a slow living hobby guides us to feeling more mentally present and finding an inner state of calm.
When cooking, painting, doing yoga, or practicing any other hobby, there are many sights, smells, feelings, and sounds to immerse yourself in. Surrendering to the moment and enjoying simple tasks helps you connect with yourself and feel more relaxed and calm.
Develops a Sense of Self-Efficacy
Self-efficacy is your belief in your capabilities or ability to succeed. Committing to learning a new hobby and continuing to grow your skills builds this quality.
According to Verywellmind.com, “People with a strong sense of self-efficacy:
- Form a stronger sense of commitment to their interests and activities
- Develop deeper interest in the activities in which they participate
- Recover quickly from setbacks and disappointments
- View challenging problems as tasks to be mastered”
Around my high school years, my self-efficacy was almost non-existent. I basically gave up on all my interests because I felt that if I wasn’t the best at something, I shouldn’t do it at all. Now, as an adult, I’ve learned to give myself permission to dive into new hobbies without judging my starting point. Learning to accept myself and try new things has given me a sense of purpose and empowered me to feel like the strong, capable woman I am.
Having a Creative Outlet
Having a creative outlet you can use to express yourself isn’t just about painting or drawing. Any hobby that brings joy and meaning to your life can be a creative outlet and offer many health benefits, mental and physical.
From Gradino.co.uk “Doing something you enjoy has health benefits: it can lower your blood pressure, reduce cortisol (the stress hormone), and even decrease body mass index. It can also help to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression. If you have experienced a difficult time, or can’t/don’t want to put things into words, a creative outlet can help you to express your feelings and experiences. Being creative and remaining on task is like an act of meditation which soothes you mentally. “
Cultivate Intellectual Wellness
There are many exciting hobbies and activities that can challenge your brain and expand your knowledge like, learning a new language, taking a course, or reading. Being a lifelong learner is a rewarding way to spend your time and keeps your mind healthy and sharp.
According to Spokane.wsu.edu, “Intellectual wellness encourages learning. It’s important to explore new ideas in order to become better-rounded. It should also stimulate curiosity. Curiosity is important because it motivates you to try new things and develop a better understanding of how you see the relationship between yourself and others.”
Creating Something Beautiful
There’s something magical about being connected with creating something from start to finish.
While not every hobby will produce a physical result, the hobbies that do have the added benefit of yielding something beautiful for yourself or another. I love wearing or gifting a piece of jewelry or clothing I made with my own two hands.
The process of creating something from scratch gives you a deeper appreciation for the world around you. In a world where many of us go out to buy the things we need pre-made, it’s eye-opening to take on the maker’s perspective and see how much work goes into creating our clothing, food, household items, and more.
Replacing Scrolling and Screens with Slow Living Hobbies
When beginning your slow living hobby, you may find it tempting to watch t.v. or scroll for a few hours instead of getting out the supplies needed and spending time working on your project or activity. If you struggle with excessive screen time, overcoming this habit can be an important step on your slow living journey.
The content your binge on your screens activates the reward centers of your brain. Your brain tells you that your screen makes you feel good and trains you to keep going back to it for a quick hit of dopamine. This release of dopamine brings you back to this habit, even though it more often than not leaves you feeling mentally depleted or emotionally drained.
Letting slow living hobbies or activities you enjoy take the place of excessive screen time can help you live a simpler and more fulfilling life.
Slow Living Hobbies and Activities
There are endless hobbies and activities you can adopt on your slow living journey. Pick one that resonates with you and commit to learning and practicing.
How you practice the activity is more important than the activity itself. Above all, it is your attitude and presence that determine the ‘slowness’ of the activity.
Use the time you commit to your hobbies to be present and fully immerse yourself in the feelings, sounds, visuals, and smells. Slowness is about connecting with the present and finding gratitude in life’s small (and big) joys.
Here, I’ve separated many hobbies and activities into categories, though you’ll find that some of them overlap and would fit in more categories than one. For hobbies I have done and have resources for I’ve included links and websites I’ve found helpful to get you started on your adventures discovering a slow living hobby.
If there are no resource links, start on Youtube and Google. There are amazing, talented people sharing their skills on how to do almost everything these days.
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Learning a hobby where you get to create a piece of art is a wonderful way to connect with and express yourself. I love the rhythm of crocheting, the joy of preparing a delicious, wholesome meal, and the way I feel connected to my inner world after expressing myself through drawing.
Embroidery is using a needle to apply thread or yarn in order to decorate fabric or other materials.
Crochet is a handicraft in which yarn is made up into a fabric with a hooked needle. You can create bags, water bottle holders, cardigans, hats, scarves, and so much more.
Grab a pack of crochet hooks (and don’t forget yarn!) from amazon.com (I like this one because it’s inexpensive, but still comes with a case, many different hooks sizes, and useful extras like stitch markers and needles.)
For tutorials, head over to Youtube.com. I mostly enjoy crocheting women’s clothing, a couple of my favorite crocheting Youtubers that make beautiful clothing are Katniss Everdeen and Maya Luna Corazon.
For a bigger selection of yarn and hooks check out Lovecrafts.com. They are my go-to for yarn because they have a huge selection and shipping is free or very inexpensive. I especially love that they have tons of all-natural and eco-friendly fibers to choose from.
Knitting uses two needles to weave yarn together to create fabric, often used to make hats, scarves, socks and more!
I love painting, but it can seem a bit daunting at first. To help me learn how to paint I used Bob Ross tutorials and you can still find tons of them on Youtube.com. His instructions are so clear and helpful, even the first painting I did turned out beautiful.
To start creating amazing landscape paintings, grab this Bob Ross paint kit from Amazon.com. It has everything you need all in one, so no there’s no need to order a dozen different items.
Sketching or Drawing
Most people have a notebook and some pens and pencils hanging around their house, making this easy to start. Not being ‘good’ at drawing held me back for a long time but practice every day and you will improve, just like anything else. I also love how portable this hobby is.
I always keep a small journal and a few pencils or colored pencils with me and love doodling in cafe’s or somewhere in nature.
Learn an Instrument
There are so many instruments to learn! Try guitar, piano, hang drum, violin, or a bamboo flute. I’m currently learning the kalimba, which is a very affordable and portable wooden African thumb piano. You can find the Kalimba I have on Amazon.com.
Baking and Cooking
Learning to prepare your own meals and treats is a big part of ‘adulting’ as well as, slow living. Creating wholesome meals from scratch is easier than you think, and I love being able to choose my own fresh, organic ingredients.
To get inspired with recipies check out Pinterest.com!
Sewing is using a needle and thread to create items like clothing, home decor, bags, and more. I love upcycling thrifted sheets, fabric, and clothes to create sustainable clothes to wear.
I have this model of beginner sewing machine from Brother that I got on Amazon.com and it has held up even after an accidental drop and being moved around a lot while I traveled in America.
Most of my tutorials and inspiration for sewing I find by searching what I want to make on Pinterest.com and Youtube.com.
Making your own paper is a great way to recycle old apple or egg cartons, old notebooks, or newspapers. I haven’t tried it yet but it seems pretty simple. You can find complete instructions on how to make paper on Thesprucecrafts.com.
Electroforming is the electrochemical process of plating copper to an object. I use it to make jewelry from items I find in nature and crystals I’ve purchased on my travels.
Find an electroforming kit on Amazon.com.
A website I’ve found helpful is Enchantedleaves.com. This article is about the basics of electroforming and can help give you an overall idea of what it is before you commit to buying your electroforming equipment.
Silver smithing is crafting metal objects from silver.
I haven’t started yet as I currently have quite a few projects I’m working on, but when I do, I will probably buy this starter kit from Amazon.com.
Wood burning is using a special tool to burn designs into wood. All you need is some scrap wood and a woodburning pen kit, which you can find on Amazon.com.
Check out Empressofdirt.com to read a woodburning for beginners guide. (They also have a great gardening section!)
Writing and Journaling
Creative writing, keeping a journal of your feelings and ideas, or writing in a diary to record what you’ve done each day are all great ways to express yourself, slow down and get in touch with your internal world.
Photography is a fun hobby that’s easy to get into as there are tons of youtube videos and blogs to help you get started. The Nikon D3500 is pretty universally agreed to be the best all-around (and affordable) camera for beginners. You can check out the prices on Amazon.com.
There are tons of great courses online. You can find tips, tricks, and photography basics here, at Digital-photography-school.com.
Making your own soap is easy, makes great gifts, and can save you tons of money. You can make shampoo bars, laundry soap, dish soap, body soap, exfoliating soaps, and so much more.
Thesprucecrafts.com has a great article explaining the different methods of soap making.
DIY Beauty Recipes
I’ve made essential oil spray, face masks, face serum, shampoo, deodorant, and leave in conditioner in the past year. Its a great way to reduce waste and make affordable natural beauty products.
I recently posted my recipe for DIY Essential Oil Smudge Spray that you can find here. You can use it as a room spray, body spray, or to cleanse your crystals.
Woodworking can include carpentry, carving, making furniture, and more. This is a hobby I haven’t gotten into yet but I really look forward to trying my hand at, in the future.
Macrame is tying rope or string in knotted patterns to create jewelry, wall hanging, hammocks, or hanging planters. There are so many cute macrame projects to add a boho flair to your home.
Amazon.com has great deals on macrame rope you can find here.
Sculpting is creating shapes out of clay, metal, or wood.
Personally, I like to work with Sculpey clay, the kind you bake in your oven. I mostly use it to make the base for my crystal, electroformed jewelry, but you can also make decorative bowls, clay jewelry, or anything else your heart desires.
I usually find inspiration for my clay scuplting projects on Pinterest.com.
Exercise Your Mind
Maintaining a healthy brain is essential to keeping your mind clear and active, enabling you to do everything from work to rest to play.
There’s something so satisfying and relaxing about doing a puzzle. I like to thrift puzzles and then just give them back to the thrift store when I’m done to create less waste and save money.
You can also try word puzzles, like crosswords or number puzzles like sudoku.
Making reading a daily activity increases empathy, strengthens your brain, increases vocabulary, and more. To learn more about the benefits of reading, check out this article on Healthline.com.
Listen to an Audiobook
Listening to an audiobook in the evening while relaxing or drawing is a great way to unwind and learn something new. I currently use Audible and love that I get two books with my monthly subscription. If you want to try a month for free, you can sign up here.
Learn a New Language
To learn a language, I recommend Pimsleur. You can download it as an app and the lessons are about 30 minutes a day. I find it to be a very natural way to learn a language, just listening and replying to the teacher. Duolingo is a free app that’s also great for learning languages, I love the fact that it’s set up to be sort of like a game.
Take an Online Course
There many places to tak online courses but, my current favorite is Skillshare.com. They have so many informative classes and workshops, on a huge variety of topics. I’ve taken classes on everything from social media management to guiding meditation to learning how to code. You can try it out free for 7 days and even get 40% off when you use the link below.
Connect with Nature
Connecting with nature has many benefits including, relieving stress, helping you feel grounded, and leaving you feeling rejuvenated and energized.
Discover more on the benefits of connecting with nature at Onegreenplanet.org.
Going for a walk and taking in your surroundings is a wonderful way to connect with nature and clear your head.
Hiking, Backpacking or Camping
Hiking, backpacking, and camping are perfect for when you’re ready to go deeper into nature, far from hustle and bustle. There so are many beautiful places to explore in the world, just do a google search or look on Pinterest.com to find a place to hike and camp in your area.
Foraging is heading out into the wild to find edible or medicinal plants and herbs. Be sure to inform yourself before you go to make sure your being safe when foraging plants.
Backpacker.com has an informative article for beginners to help you learn the basics of foraging.
Whether you prefer to grow beautiful flowers, fresh herbs, or cultivate your own food, gardening is a fulfilling way to spend a morning or afternoon outside, getting in touch with nature.
I usually head to Pinterest.com for gardening tips and inspiration.
Rock balancing is a meditative way to create natural and stunning sculptures.
Travis Ruskus wrote an article on Medium.com titled ‘Use Rock Balancing to Heal Your Soul’ that I think beautifully illustrates this impermanent, zen art form.
Relaxing and Connecting with Yourself
These activities bring mental clarity, cultivate your spiritual wellness, and create space and relaxation. Making time to clear your mind is essential to maintaining a balanced lifestyle.
Yoga is an ancient, Indian practice involving meditation, breathing exercise, philosophy, and specific poses, called asanas. It can relieve stress, body tension, and is overall amazing for mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.
Yogabasics.com has a complete guide for beginners to help you discover this healing practice. I also recommend checking out Yoga with Adrienne on Youtube for some great beginner yoga practices, as well as tutorials on how to get into the more common Asanas.
If you’re looking for a mat, I definitely recommend investing in a Manduka. The cheap 20 dollar mats have no grip, tend to fall apart after a few months, and are a waste of resources and money. You can find the Manduka Begin Mat here, an affordable, long-lasting mat on Amazon.com.
You can also head to Manduka.com to take their yoga mat quiz and find your perfect mat.
Meditation is about training your awareness and learning to observe your inner world without judgment. There are many benefits to meditation like reduced stress and anxiety, improved emotional health, better memory, and increased compassion and self-awareness. You can read more about the science-backed benefits of meditation at Healthline.com.
To get started with meditation, check out the apps Headspace and Insight Timer. There are also many meditations available on Youtube.
Breathing Exercises or Pranayama
Simply put, pranayama is a branch of yoga where you learn breathing exercises to control the breath. There are many different exercises to learn that bring deep states of calm, reduce stress, and increase energy.
Yogajournal.com has an article on pranayama for beginners that you can check out to discover more about this ancient practice.
Tai Chi or Qi Gong
Tai Chi and Qi Gong are both ancient Chinese arts that boost energy and relieve stress. Tai Chi is a series of forms, where as Qi Gong focuses on the breath and simple movements.
Both have many tutorials on Youtube.com, though if you’re really interested in Tai Chi, I recommend working with an instructor, as they can best help you with your form.
Make Time for Doing Nothing
Okay, I’m not sure ‘doing nothing’ can be defined as a hobby, but I think leaving space for your mind to wander is as important as using your time in a way that feels ‘productive’, so I wanted to include it here.
This empty time creates space for your mind to digest, for spontaneity, and for new ideas to sprout and grow.
Adopting a slow living hobby may be difficult at first, but once you get started, it’s so rewarding to learn new things, create and grow.
I hope today you’ve found inspiration to start a slow living hobby and begin your journey of presence and fulfillment.
Thank you for being here,
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