6 Amazing Hobbies for Lonely and Anxious People
For when you can’t focus on writing your magnum opus or building up your side hustle.
In 2020, everyone is a little more anxious and a little more lonely than ever before. Usually, a little solitude is great- you can eat a pint of ice cream without judgment, walk around naked, and can generally do whatever you want, whenever you want. But sometimes those bouts of loneliness, boredom or anxiety get super overwhelming and you feel bad for not being productive. When this feeling of (totally unwarranted) guilt overwhelms me, I turn to the my more casual hobbies. Hopefully, some of these activities can help you out, too.
“Chess is life in miniature. Chess is a struggle, chess battles.” — Garry Kasparov
Chess is one of those games that takes 10 minutes to learn and a lifetime to master. Hell, you could spend years just studying classic opening lines.
Whenever I get anxious at night, I will think about chess strategy. If I’m too anxious to focus on an entire game, I’ll just play a few endgame puzzles.
Chess obviously sharpens the mind, but the best part about it is that it can be played as intensely or as casually as you want.
When you learn the rules, you can immediately make an online account and play against the computer, or players of equal rank across the globe. You can even use the chat function to become friends with those you play against.
I love playing either 30 minute games, or 1 day games. The 30 minute games allow me the perfect amount of time to think, but not so much time that I get bored of waiting. The 1 day games allow me to think several moves ahead and implement unique strategies.
If you get tired of playing the game itself, there are thousands of hours of lectures from grandmasters online that can really improve your game.
“I don’t run to add days to my life, I run to add life to my days.” — Ronald Rook
Running is amazing for your mental and physical health, but it can be super time consuming and difficult to get into.
For those who live alone, it can be a great way to add variety to your day. I love waking up, doing a few hours of work, and then going for a run. Somedays, I’ll wake up early and do a fasted run, which has the added benefit of burning more fat.
I used to hate running, but now it is easily the best part of my day. No matter what I’m worried about, running forces me to focus on my breathing. It’s just like meditating for those who can’t sit still.
If you’re like I used to be, you can check out this article on how to stop hating running. Your body will thank you for it:
5 Tips for Those Who Hate Running but Want to Love It
From someone who went from couch potato to half-marathoner
Newbie runners can find guided runs online, they can also fin workouts on various tracker apps, or they can just make a playlist and start!
“Life is a juggling act with your own emotions. The trick is to always keep something in your hand and something in the air.” ― Chloe Thurlow, Katie in Love
While this might seem like an unconventional way to pass the time, juggling as a hobby has a lot of great benefits. It helps you with hand-eye coordination, it helps you stay active and moving but without tiring you out, and perhaps most importantly: it looks super cool at parties. Trust me, the ladies love it.
It might take you a while to master juggling and to be able to do it for a long time, but that’s what makes it a great skill for those who live alone. It doesn’t matter how many times you fail- no one will see you!
As with chess, this can either be super casual or very intense, depending on how much you like to do it. Once you learn the basic three-ball cascade, there are a million other tricks you can learn, each with varying degrees of difficulty.
You can also make juggling balls absolutely free at home out of materials you have laying around. So the next time you’re bored, give this party trick a try.
“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking, you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” – Julia Child
Living alone is the perfect time to get really good at cooking because you can reap 100% of the rewards. If you burn the food, no one will know. And if your cookies are so good that you eat the whole batch- again, no one has to know.
It is also a great hobby because whenever you decide to have people over, you can impress them with this skill you’ve acquired.
Admittedly, I got really into cooking because I was tired of buying the incorrect amount of food and having to either feast or starve. I was also tired of somehow dirty the entire kitchen every time I cooked a meal. So I focused on 30 minute meals and one pan meals for two at first, gradually adding to my repertoire. Now I can cook almost anything- a skill which comes in handy multiple times per day.
“Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.” — Orson Scott
Whenever you’re feeling bored or anxious throughout your day, writing in a journal can be a great way to alleviate that anxiety.
My favorite part about writing is that there are a million ways to do it. If stream-of-consciousness diary entries help you, go for it.
That kind of writing has never really helped me, so I opt for writing and editing medium posts. The fact that medium posts are public forces me to organize my thoughts and edit them into a coherent fashion. Because I need to focus in order to do that, I don’t fixate on whatever is causing me anxiety.
I’m also a fan of Julia Cameron’s famous morning pages- she writes three pages in her diary each morning in order to get the creative juices flowing.
While she writes in a stream-of-conscious style about whatever is on her mind, I tend to write about one particular topic for three pages, just to see what thoughts I can generate about it. Many of those morning pages thoughts eventually become articles.
Watching Reality TV
“Worth Playing for?” -Jeff Probst
A lot of these hobby lists might include more pretentious versions of this, like watching Sight and Sound’s top rated films. But let’s be honest: those are kind of boring. When you are anxious, lonely, and bored, Yasujiro Ozu isn’t gonna help. It’s hard to focus on classic films, just like it is hard to focus on difficult reading sometimes.
That’s why, when I’m feeling anxious, I turn to good ole reality TV. I’m a big fan of Survivor. I’m an even bigger fan of MTV’s the Challenge. The best part about shows like this, is that they remind you that being alone isn’t so bad. As a matter of fact, it might beat the alternative.
I can live vicariously through the drunken supermodels fighting about nothing on screen from the comfort of my own living room. If I pick a side and yell my opinion at the TV, while learning to juggle or eating an entire pan of my homemade lasagna, it’ll be my little secret. With the help of this article, it can be your little secret, too.
I hope that you can try some of these hobbies out the next time you’re feeling lonely, bored, or anxious. Let me know in the comments what kind of wild hobbies you get up to when you’re bored or anxious.