7 Safe and Healthy Hobbies That Help You Step Away from the Screen

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Social distancing orders began in my state three days before I planned to embark on a two-week European vacation. As you can imagine, I canceled my trip. What wasn’t canceled though, was my scheduled time off. I work for myself, so while I was able to drum up some extra work during those first two weeks of social distancing, I found myself with a lot of extra time on my hands.

In order to prepare for my vacation, I’d gotten so far ahead on my scheduled workload that I didn’t have much to do during those first few weeks at home. After spending way too much time looking at screens, I realized I needed a hobby. I felt a sudden urge to paint for the first time in my life. Sitting on my patio, experimenting with different brushes and mixing new colors, is the reset I need on difficult days. Now, on the weekends, I’ll paint for hours straight, which helps create a feeling of separation from my workdays, which are also spent in my apartment.

A good Netflix binge did the trick in March, but now many of us are itching to try something new without sacrificing safety. While painting may not be everybody’s cup of tea, check out these other hobbies that you can do indoors or outdoors (with a friendly reminder to keep our distance!).


While needlework may feel like an old-school hobby to pick up, it requires using your hands and intense concentration, which has a similar effect to meditating.


Sketching is less expensive and requires fewer tools than painting, and is a way to dip your toes into an artistic hobby.


Do you love tennis, basketball, swimming, or golf? Embrace your favorite sport, and not just as a way to squeeze in a workout. This hobby can continue well past our time of social distancing, and hopefully one day soon you can join a community league or take private lessons.


If baking sourdough bread isn’t for you, learn how to re-create your favorite restaurant dish at home. Master making homemade noodles for pasta night. Learn how to roll your own dumplings or whip up dairy-free desserts. Take your time experimenting with recipes and learn how to make your favorite dishes at home.


Even if you don’t have an actual garden, you can grow a mini herb garden inside your home or start collecting orchids. If you can get outside, digging in the dirt and watching the fruits of your labor grow can be so satisfying.

Mastering a Topic

Nowadays, when we want to learn something, we Google it. But how cool would it be to know a subject so well you don’t need to ask Siri for confirmation? Pick a historical figure, art movement, scientific subject matter, or political issue to focus on and stock up on well-researched books. Dive deep into a subject that fascinates you and don’t be afraid to keep digging.


We all have a lot of feelings and concerns right now, so write them down. Journaling is cathartic and can provide new opportunities for introspection. Try journaling when you need a clear mind most, such as before you begin your workday or before you go to bed.

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