For many people, retirement is a time for rest, a time to unwind after years of working and perhaps raising a family. It can be relaxing to enjoy the slower pace of retirement, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also learn a new skill at this stage in life. In fact, learning something new in your senior years can have a greater impact on your overall health and well-being than simply using this time to rest.
How to Find a New Hobby
If you aren’t sure what kind of hobby to try, think back to your childhood and what you loved doing then. Is there something you enjoyed when you were younger, or always wanted to do but didn’t have time for? Chances are that interest is still there, and it isn’t too late to ignite that spark.
You don’t need to limit yourself to just one activity either, so try a few things to find out what you really love. It can be peaceful to spend some quiet time on your own, but taking up a new hobby is a great way to get out and meet new people or reconnect with old friends too. This is especially true if you’re working on repairing relationships after facing hardships, such as a battle with substance abuse. Mental health experts point out, “One of the hardest parts of being in recovery is feeling like you’re alone, or feeling uncomfortable around others while you’re in a fragile emotional state. Having a hobby can help you set the tone of your social encounters as well as keep them short and sweet; make a date with a friend to go for a swim or head to a DIY pottery class together.”
Here are a few ideas to try solo or with a friend so you can find the right fit for you.
Painting is a form of art with endless possibilities and many benefits. Committing this new skill to memory and using it to channel your creativity keeps your brain sharp, and at the same time, it helps strengthen hand and arm muscles and improves coordination.
Just as with painting, woodworking keeps your hands and mind active at the same time. Many communities have woodworking clubs you can join to share ideas and meet other people who have the same interest.
Getting behind the lens of a camera gives you a whole new perspective on life, whether you capture landscapes or prefer to focus on people. Mastering photography is more than a simple click, and learning this new skill activates both creative and technical parts of your brain.
Knitting and Needlework
Crafts involving needlework may seem cliche for retirees, but they are becoming more popular across all age groups for a good reason. As noted by AARP, knitting is an amazing way to relax and relieve stress. And while this is a hobby you can easily do on your own, you will find a strong community through knitting groups that meet in person or by connecting with fellow knitters over the internet.
Dance is a way of finding creative expression while also getting a great workout, and learning the steps is a challenge for your brain as much as it is on your feet. Dancing is also one of the best social activities to do in retirement because it naturally lends itself to being done in groups or with a partner.
According to US News, gardening is one of the most common retirement hobbies, and retirees spend more time gardening than younger people. Gardening gets you outdoors where you can enjoy the beauty of nature, its great physical exercise, and if you grow your own vegetables, you can give your diet a boost too.
Whatever your interests may be, the most important thing is to realize you’re never too old to learn something new. The best hobbies are ones that bring you joy, and at the same time keep your brain and your body active. When you learn something new and get active, it will improve your memory, your health, and your overall quality of life, so there’s no better time to start than the present.