Over the past few months, fuelled by the fervour of quarantine, it feels as though everyone has been launching themselves with a kind of valiant, frantic desperation into a boundless ocean of hobbies. Hobby projects are a great way to fill the void of your day and distract yourself from the angst that overwhelms you every time you look at the news — in theory. In practise, it turns out that sticking to a project during a global pandemic is harder than it sounds. (Didn’t finish that novel you were going to write? Us neither.) But the thing about hobbies is they don’t have to be masterpieces. As long as you’re finding creative fulfilment in exploding flour all over your kitchen, that’s what counts. Whether you’re still at home or back out and about, find a fun new distraction with one of these tried-and-tested hobbies.
Stop loafing around and rise to the occasion! Quarantine, apparently, uncovered the hidden yeast-craving depths of the human soul. Breadmaking is the quintessential quarantine activity: it takes up a good chunk of time, gives you something to do with your hands, and lets you work out all your stress as you knead. If you’re not feeling quite ready for that level of dough-related commitment, fulfil your baking zeal with something quicker, like cookies.
Learn a language
Alternatively titled ‘Start learning a language, keep it up for a week, and then forget about it entirely for several months’. But that’s still more than nothing! There’s a whole range of language-learning apps and websites out there. Duolingo is free, fun to use, and has a good range of courses (including some fictional languages, for if you’d rather chat to Klingons than to fellow humans, and at this point who could blame you). For something more low-effort, combine your new language hobby with the good old ‘binging Netflix’ staple — just change your account language to the one you want to learn, and you’ll be surprised to find how many of your favourite movies and shows have subtitles or dubs in your target language.
Dungeons & Dragons is a great hobby. It’s just like hanging out with your friends, except also you get to be a cool wizard and yell at a bunch of dice. And there’s a whole world of tabletop games out there, so if dungeons aren’t your style, or dragons give you the heebie-jeebies, check out some other RPGs and you’re sure to find a game that suits you! Plus, tabletop RPGs are great for remote play.
Whatever it is you’ve been wanting to write, now’s as good a time as any to make a start on it. Short stories! Novels! Poems! Plays! Recipes! Curses and dread invocations against those who have wronged you! A series of fun and engaging blog articles, perfect for fans of escape rooms! …We’re just throwing some suggestions out there. Alternatively, practise getting into a daily rhythm of writing with a diary or journal — it’s grounding, it’s relaxing, and in a couple hundred years it’ll probably be a useful historical artefact.
Textile crafts are great hobbies for keeping your hands busy, and they’ve got the added bonus of being able to impress people when you show off your creation. In the words of LockHouse colleague Emma, ‘Embroidery is like colouring in, but with more stabbing.’ It’s more creatively freeform than knitting, since you don’t have to follow a pattern. Want to embroider a picture of a cool skateboarding dinosaur? (Who doesn’t.) Go for it! Plus, you can multitask and listen to podcasts or audiobooks while you’re working on it, killing two birds with one embroidery needle. Since you only need a few basic supplies, it’s easy to get started for under £10.
Catch up on media
Whether it’s making a start on all those books you’ve been meaning to read and never getting around to, or finally watching that one film that got recommended to you a while ago (by us, probably), losing yourself in a story is a surefire way to distract yourself. Get your friends to do it with you and bam, you’ve got a book club. Start a podcast and share all your opinions on those movies with the world.
Pick up an instrument
As someone who’s been spending quarantine learning to play the hammered dulcimer, I can confirm two things. One, messing around trying to play tunes on a new instrument is a whole lot of fun, and not as hard as you think it’ll be. Two, neighbours are patient and forgiving people, and unless you’re doing a special course in Midnight Cymbal Artistry, everything will probably be fine.
Playing escape rooms is the perfect hobby. There. We said it. They’re a great team activity, and you get to solve puzzles and feel clever. There’s a time limit, so you get the fun adrenaline rush of the ticking clock, AND you don’t have to worry about getting too distracted and accidentally losing your whole day when you were meant to be doing something else responsible. And once you’ve played one, you’ll be left wanting to play another one.
If you can’t go out to get to an escape room, there are a bunch of ways to bring escape game fun into your home, from escape room board games to online escape games to creating your own DIY escape room. And if you can go out, LockHouse Escape Games is currently open every Saturday — check our FAQ for more details!